Lawmakers: Obama Kept NATO in Dark on Possible Russian Arms Breach

Global Security Newswire Staff
Jan. 31, 2014, 6:52 a.m.

Re­pub­lic­an law­makers are as­sert­ing that Pres­id­ent Obama took too long to in­form U.S. al­lies of a pos­sible Rus­si­an treaty vi­ol­a­tion.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion no­ti­fied oth­er NATO na­tions earli­er this month of the po­ten­tial breach in­volving Rus­si­an cruise-mis­sile tests that began as long ago as 2008. The U.S. State De­part­ment on Thursday con­firmed it had ex­pressed con­cern to Mo­scow about the pos­sible vi­ol­a­tion, the New York Times re­por­ted.

In a Thursday let­ter to Obama, Rep­res­ent­at­ive Mike Turn­er (R-Ohio) said de­tails on the po­ten­tial breach of the 1987 In­ter­me­di­ate-Range Nuc­le­ar Forces Treaty should have been avail­able to NATO na­tions as they craf­ted a 2012 nuc­le­ar-strategy re­view.

“Your ad­min­is­tra­tion called upon NATO to un­der­take the 2012 De­terrence and De­fense Pos­ture Re­view (DDPR) in an ef­fort to ana­lyze the cur­rent threat en­vir­on­ment and en­sure that the al­li­ance’s nuc­le­ar pos­ture is de­signed to meet those threats,” Turn­er’s let­ter states.

The U.S. “fail­ure to dis­close this crit­ic­al in­form­a­tion to NATO dur­ing the re­view pro­cess both com­prom­ises the DDPR and weak­ens the trust our al­lies place in us,” the law­maker ad­ded.

The same con­cern comes up in a Thursday joint state­ment by Turn­er and three oth­er GOP law­makers: House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee Chair­man Buck McK­eon (R-Cal­if.), Vice Chair­man Mac Thorn­berry (R-Texas), and Stra­tegic Forces Sub­com­mit­tee Chair­man Mike Ro­gers (R-Ala.).

“In­ter­me­di­ate-range mis­siles threaten our European part­ners most of all,” the re­lease says. “Why were they kept in the dark for four years ac­cord­ing to this [Times] re­port? Why did the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion keep evid­ence of Rus­sia’s cheat­ing from our al­lies when NATO was re­cently de­bat­ing and de­cid­ing upon its nuc­le­ar pos­ture?” 

To date, Wash­ing­ton has not form­ally ac­cused Mo­scow of vi­ol­at­ing the 1987 pact.

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