McKeon: U.S. Should Formally Protest Russian Arms Control Breach

U.S. Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), seen last month announcing his retirement from Congress. On Monday, the outgoing House Armed Services Committee chairman said the United States should formally protest a suspected Russian violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
National Journal
Rachel Oswald
Add to Briefcase
Rachel Oswald
Feb. 25, 2014, 3:33 a.m.

A lead­ing U.S. law­maker on de­fense is­sues said Wash­ing­ton should form­ally protest Mo­scow’s sus­pec­ted vi­ol­a­tion of an arms con­trol pact.

“I think that we should hold them ac­count­able” for break­ing the terms of the 1987 In­ter­me­di­ate-Range Nuc­le­ar Forces Treaty, said Rep­res­ent­at­ive Buck McK­eon (R-Cal­if.), the out­go­ing chair­man of the House Armed Ser­vices Com­mit­tee. “They should know they are go­ing to be held ac­count­able.”

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has told its NATO al­lies that it is con­cerned about a seem­ing Rus­si­an con­tra­ven­tion of the bi­lat­er­al agree­ment, which pro­hib­its the United States and Rus­sia from de­vel­op­ing, test­ing or pos­sess­ing any bal­list­ic or cruise mis­sile with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles. However, the U.S. gov­ern­ment to date has re­frained from mak­ing a form­al ac­cus­a­tion of a treaty vi­ol­a­tion.

Wash­ing­ton re­portedly is con­cerned about the Rus­si­an mil­it­ary’s tri­al launches of an un­spe­cified, new ground-fired cruise mis­sile in re­cent years.

Speak­ing on the side­lines of a lunch­eon at the Na­tion­al Press Club, McK­eon told Glob­al Se­cur­ity News­wire that the United States should de­clare Mo­scow in ma­ter­i­al breach of the INF ac­cord, re­gard­less of con­cerns that do­ing so could prompt the Krem­lin to uni­lat­er­ally with­draw from the treaty.

“Why not? If we’re wor­ried of the rami­fic­a­tions of ac­cus­ing them of something we feel strongly that they’ve done, then why have a treaty?” he said. “If you have a treaty and you vi­ol­ate it then why would you start to talk about an­oth­er treaty or ex­pand­ing a treaty?”

Rus­sia in re­cent years has hin­ted it could pull out of the nuc­le­ar agree­ment as a re­sponse to evolving in­ter­me­di­ate-range mis­sile threats in its re­gion.

At the same time, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has made known its de­sire to ini­ti­ate bi­lat­er­al arms-con­trol talks with Rus­sia on a new treaty that would re­duce each of the two former Cold War rivals’ ar­sen­als of de­ployed long-range nuc­le­ar weapons to ap­prox­im­ately 1,000 war­heads.

What We're Following See More »
Lawmakers Express Reservations About Gov’t Hacking Powers
21 minutes ago

Twenty-three members of Congress "on Thursday asked the Justice Department to clarify how a looming rule change to the government's hacking powers could impact privacy rights of innocent Americans. The change, due to take place on December 1, would let judges issue search warrants for remote access to computers located in any jurisdiction, potentially including foreign countries. Magistrate judges can normally only order searches within the jurisdiction of their court, which is typically limited to a few counties."

Clinton Has Raised $101 Million in October
21 minutes ago

"Hillary Clinton’s campaign announced that her campaign and joint fundraising committees raised $101 million in the first 19 days of October, giving her committees $153 million in cash on hand." Her campaign itself has about $62 million on hand. The campaign said the average donation was $50.

Clinton, FLOTUS Campaign Together for First Time
22 minutes ago

Hillary Clinton appeared on the campaign trail for the first time with Michelle Obama on Thursday night. At the joint appearance in North Carolina, Mrs. Obama said, “When you hear folks talking about a global conspiracy and saying that this election is rigged, understand that they are trying to get you to stay home. They are trying to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter, that the outcome has already been determined and that you shouldn’t even bother to make your voice heard.”

Clinton Up 9 in USA Today Poll; Up 3 According to Fox
20 hours ago

A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll finds Clinton leads Trump by 9 points nationwide, 47% to 38%. A Fox News national poll has Clinton up just three points, 44% to 41% over Trump.

Cruz: Eight Justices Could Be an Ongoing Situation
22 hours ago

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that "there was “precedent” for a Supreme Court with fewer than nine justices—appearing to suggest that the blockade on nominee Merrick Garland could last past the election." Speaking to reporters in Colorado, Cruz said: "I would note, just recently, that Justice Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that we are going to have.”


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.