Nuclear disarmament deal with Russia faces obstacle in U.S. Senate (3)

10:09, April 01, 2010      

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also weighed in on the issue, saying that most of the Senate would support the treaty.

Still, Charles Ferguson, president of the Federation of American Scientists, said some senators are unlikely to side with Obama on the treaty, such as Jon Kyl of Arizona.

In a letter to the president, Kyl expressed his concern about Russian statements of the possibility of establishing a legal linkage between missile defense and offensive weapons, saying the Senate was unlikely to support such a treaty, the Associated Press reported.

The senator is one of the leading Republican proponents of missile defense.

Nevertheless, it is important to realize that only about 10 Republicans need to be won over, Ferguson said. "So, keep listening to what Lugar and McCain have to say," he said, referring to 2008 presidential candidate John McCain of Arizona.

"They will be necessary for treaty ratification," said Ferguson.

The Obama administration has already said it will give more money and resources to weapons labs, contending that should be enough to secure enough Republican votes to ratify the treaty, he noted.

Some point to Republican bitterness over the healthcare bill as a possible obstacle that would prevent Republicans from aligning themselves with Democrats on any issue.

That bitterness will not entirely go away, but in the case of a major national security issue such as the new arms reduction treaty, political bi-polarization will not prevent many Republicans from supporting the treaty as long as they see it as being in line with U.S. security interests, Ferguson said.

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