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Roundtable on the START Treaty

By Special Report w/Bret Baier, Special Report w/Bret Baier - November 24, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Special Guests | Steve Hayes, Nia-Malika Henderson and Charles Krauthammer

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This is a rush transcript from "Special Report With Bret Baier," November 24, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)adsonar_placementId=1499756;adsonar_pid=150758;adsonar_ps=-1;adsonar_zw=336;adsonar_zh=170;adsonar_jv='ads.adsonar.com';

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: While it would have been clear that a treaty that tried to prevent national missile defense would have been dead on arrival in the Senate, the way the administration put it together politically, they achieved basically the same result.

And I think what many Republicans on the Hill are concerned about is that State Department negotiations going on right now to codify restrictions on national missile defense simply prove the risks of ratifying new START and laying a foundation for explicit restrictions on that capability.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, HOST: Former Ambassador John Bolton was arms negotiator in the Bush administration. He's talking about the START treaty up for ratification in the U.S. Senate. The administration is trying to get it through the lame duck session of Congress.

Here is what Vice President Biden wrote in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about START, quote, "President Obama united Europe behind our missile defense plans and received strong support for the new START treaty that is currently before the Senate. In doing so he proved that missile defense and arms control can proceed hand in hand."

Now Republicans disagree. Aides to Arizona Senator Jon Kyl say privately that they have the votes to block this treaty in the Senate. Kyl and other Republican senators suspect that the person who was holding Ambassador Bolton's job now, Ellen Tauscher, who is the undersecretary of state, may have agreed to missile defense limits that are not spelled out in the START treaty, and they are asking for proof that she hasn't done that, another sticking point to this vote.

It's down in the weeds but it's important. Let's bring in our panel, Steve Hayes, senior writer for the Weekly Standard, Nia-Malika Henderson of The Washington Post, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: There is an important issue at stake here. One of the great achievements of the Bush administration was the cancellation of the ABM treaty which was a treaty signed in 1972 which restricted our ability to develop our defenses. And that's the most important weapon system of the coming century where lots of nations are going to have nukes and biological weapons and missiles and this is our only defense.

We cancelled that treaty which allowed us to exploit our huge advantage in this.

Now, the question is will START put a restriction on that? In the treaty there is nothing explicitly that restricts us on defense. However, in the preamble there is a statement of the interrelationship between offensive and defensive weapons. And the president of Russia upon the signing of the bill in April said that the Russian understanding is that all of, this the existence of the treaty and the validity of the treaty hinges on the unchanging, underlying relations, which means it's a code for if the U.S. does not make real advances in missile defense now.

We reject that interpretation, at least ostensibly and in public. So the question is has the State Department been negotiating understandings with the Russians that would assuage their questions about our advances in missile defense, i.e., are we conceding through the State Department in these other negotiations stuff which we say we are not conceding in our interpretation of that treaty?

That's why Kyl and other Republicans want to look at what's been negotiated by the State Department.

BAIER: Yes. And five other senators are asking in a letter sent couple weeks ago for all of the negotiations and documents sent back and forth because they want to know if there was this duel track START treaty and some missile defense going on.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, WASHINGTON POST: It seems to put a little bit more meat on the Republican argument for delaying this and then having the fuller Senate to look at it and more obviously Republicans to look at it come January.

I think before it was a little bit more in the weeds and now it's kind of less in the weeds now that we have the specter of North Korea and real kind of issues about the security of the nation.

So I, again, I believe Kyl when he says he has got these GOP senators who want to look at this again, who think that there is not enough time to look at this in the lame duck session. So I think this will be something that will be put off until January.

BAIER: Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: There has been long running misunderstandings about exactly what the relationship is between offensive and defensive capabilities within START.

This was -- I went to a hearing in late July of the Senate Armed Services Committee. This is what Republican senators were focused on then. And they were asking -- this was a hearing that included people on the American side who actually rolled up their sleeves and did the negotiating with the Russians on the treaty.

And the Republican senators were saying to them in effect we want to see your negotiations. We want to see behind the scenes. We want to see everything you talked about. We want to see how you characterized, how you represented what you think this treaty is going to do so it allows to us understand if this is good policy or bad policy.

So they asked for the negotiating record. And the administration thus far, despite the fact that it's continuously called itself the most transparent administration in history has refused to give up this negotiating record.

And there is some precedent for doing this on big treaties in the past if you go back over the past 30 years. They have given up this negotiating record which gives people in the legislative body an opportunity to see exactly what was going on.

What happened this past weekend in Portugal was the administration announced that it had achieved sort of a broad strokes agreement on missile defense, and senators said what is in this agreement? You can describe it to us?

They had been asking even before this letter was sent out October 18th for some further description of what was going to happen, what was being discussed. They asked for briefings, and the administration didn't provide briefers. So I think the senators have a good beef right now and they are right to ask for these documents.

BAIER: For people sitting at home, they may remember the president scrapped a year ago the land based efforts in Poland and the Czech Republic, the missile defense efforts in favor of sea and land based interceptors basically less threatening to Moscow.

With all of the State Department-ese, the language that sometimes people glaze over about the treaty, why is this important for somebody sitting at home about missile defense?

KRAUTHAMMER: For the next century, the real problem for us is if anybody launches a missile at us, we are almost defenseless. We now have, you know, just the beginnings of an ability to shoot them down. We are the only ones. The Israelis have an ability in short-term but we are the only ones who have the capacity.

This is the threat of the century. There are going to be a lot of small countries that are going to be armed. Some of them are rogue states. Look what's happening in Pyongyang. These guys are working on a three-stage rocket, and you put a nuke on top of it and it lands in Honolulu or L.A. or San Francisco.

And we have almost nothing that would shoot it down. We have a few interceptors in Alaska. But we are way ahead of the world.

And the questions is, are we going to sign a treaty that restricts our capacity to develop the technology and deploy? As of now with the cancellation of the ABM treaty in 2001, I think it was, we can do anything we want. But why would we gratuitously hamper ourselves? That's what Republicans want to know. Are we hampering ourselves and conceding restrictions on ABM systems?

BAIER: Down the line -- does START get through the lame duck?

KRAUTHAMMER: No.

HENDERSON: No.

HAYES: No.

BAIER: There you go. What do you think the Senate should do about the START treaty? Logon to our homepage at FoxNews.com to vote on out online poll. Don't forget, the online show begins at 7:00 eastern.

Next up, opting out of the new health care plan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

continued...

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November 26, 2010

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Loading Datepicker Monday on Special Report

We'll have the fallout from the latest Wikileaks document dump as the White House tries to limit the damage.

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• Read the transcript

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Connect with Special Report MyspaceFacebookTwitterEmailAudio PodcastPanel Podcast All-Star Panelists -- Monday, November 29 Charles Krauthammer

Krauthammer writes a syndicated column for The Washington Post. He is also a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and The New Republic, and a weekly panelist on Inside Washington.

Stephen Hayes

Stephen Hayes is a senior writer at The Weekly Standard in Washington, DC, and author of two New York Times bestsellers. He writes frequently on electoral politics and national security.

Mara Liasson

Mara Liasson is the national political correspondent for NPR. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC focusing on the White House and Congress and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.

Home U.S. World Politics Health Business SciTech Entertainment Video Opinion Sports Leisure Topics Careers Internships - FNCU Fox Around the World RSS Feeds Advertise With Us Terms of Use Privacy Policy Contact Us Email Newsroom FAQ /*This is a rush transcript from "Special Report With Bret Baier," November 24, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: While it would have been clear that a treaty that tried to prevent national missile defense would have been dead on arrival in the Senate, the way the administration put it together politically, they achieved basically the same result.

And I think what many Republicans on the Hill are concerned about is that State Department negotiations going on right now to codify restrictions on national missile defense simply prove the risks of ratifying new START and laying a foundation for explicit restrictions on that capability.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, HOST: Former Ambassador John Bolton was arms negotiator in the Bush administration. He's talking about the START treaty up for ratification in the U.S. Senate. The administration is trying to get it through the lame duck session of Congress.

Here is what Vice President Biden wrote in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about START, quote, "President Obama united Europe behind our missile defense plans and received strong support for the new START treaty that is currently before the Senate. In doing so he proved that missile defense and arms control can proceed hand in hand."

Now Republicans disagree. Aides to Arizona Senator Jon Kyl say privately that they have the votes to block this treaty in the Senate. Kyl and other Republican senators suspect that the person who was holding Ambassador Bolton's job now, Ellen Tauscher, who is the undersecretary of state, may have agreed to missile defense limits that are not spelled out in the START treaty, and they are asking for proof that she hasn't done that, another sticking point to this vote.

It's down in the weeds but it's important. Let's bring in our panel, Steve Hayes, senior writer for the Weekly Standard, Nia-Malika Henderson of The Washington Post, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: There is an important issue at stake here. One of the great achievements of the Bush administration was the cancellation of the ABM treaty which was a treaty signed in 1972 which restricted our ability to develop our defenses. And that's the most important weapon system of the coming century where lots of nations are going to have nukes and biological weapons and missiles and this is our only defense.

We cancelled that treaty which allowed us to exploit our huge advantage in this.

Now, the question is will START put a restriction on that? In the treaty there is nothing explicitly that restricts us on defense. However, in the preamble there is a statement of the interrelationship between offensive and defensive weapons. And the president of Russia upon the signing of the bill in April said that the Russian understanding is that all of, this the existence of the treaty and the validity of the treaty hinges on the unchanging, underlying relations, which means it's a code for if the U.S. does not make real advances in missile defense now.

We reject that interpretation, at least ostensibly and in public. So the question is has the State Department been negotiating understandings with the Russians that would assuage their questions about our advances in missile defense, i.e., are we conceding through the State Department in these other negotiations stuff which we say we are not conceding in our interpretation of that treaty?

That's why Kyl and other Republicans want to look at what's been negotiated by the State Department.

BAIER: Yes. And five other senators are asking in a letter sent couple weeks ago for all of the negotiations and documents sent back and forth because they want to know if there was this duel track START treaty and some missile defense going on.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, WASHINGTON POST: It seems to put a little bit more meat on the Republican argument for delaying this and then having the fuller Senate to look at it and more obviously Republicans to look at it come January.

I think before it was a little bit more in the weeds and now it's kind of less in the weeds now that we have the specter of North Korea and real kind of issues about the security of the nation.

So I, again, I believe Kyl when he says he has got these GOP senators who want to look at this again, who think that there is not enough time to look at this in the lame duck session. So I think this will be something that will be put off until January.

BAIER: Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: There has been long running misunderstandings about exactly what the relationship is between offensive and defensive capabilities within START.

This was -- I went to a hearing in late July of the Senate Armed Services Committee. This is what Republican senators were focused on then. And they were asking -- this was a hearing that included people on the American side who actually rolled up their sleeves and did the negotiating with the Russians on the treaty.

And the Republican senators were saying to them in effect we want to see your negotiations. We want to see behind the scenes. We want to see everything you talked about. We want to see how you characterized, how you represented what you think this treaty is going to do so it allows to us understand if this is good policy or bad policy.

So they asked for the negotiating record. And the administration thus far, despite the fact that it's continuously called itself the most transparent administration in history has refused to give up this negotiating record.

And there is some precedent for doing this on big treaties in the past if you go back over the past 30 years. They have given up this negotiating record which gives people in the legislative body an opportunity to see exactly what was going on.

What happened this past weekend in Portugal was the administration announced that it had achieved sort of a broad strokes agreement on missile defense, and senators said what is in this agreement? You can describe it to us?

They had been asking even before this letter was sent out October 18th for some further description of what was going to happen, what was being discussed. They asked for briefings, and the administration didn't provide briefers. So I think the senators have a good beef right now and they are right to ask for these documents.

BAIER: For people sitting at home, they may remember the president scrapped a year ago the land based efforts in Poland and the Czech Republic, the missile defense efforts in favor of sea and land based interceptors basically less threatening to Moscow.

With all of the State Department-ese, the language that sometimes people glaze over about the treaty, why is this important for somebody sitting at home about missile defense?

KRAUTHAMMER: For the next century, the real problem for us is if anybody launches a missile at us, we are almost defenseless. We now have, you know, just the beginnings of an ability to shoot them down. We are the only ones. The Israelis have an ability in short-term but we are the only ones who have the capacity.

This is the threat of the century. There are going to be a lot of small countries that are going to be armed. Some of them are rogue states. Look what's happening in Pyongyang. These guys are working on a three-stage rocket, and you put a nuke on top of it and it lands in Honolulu or L.A. or San Francisco.

And we have almost nothing that would shoot it down. We have a few interceptors in Alaska. But we are way ahead of the world.

And the questions is, are we going to sign a treaty that restricts our capacity to develop the technology and deploy? As of now with the cancellation of the ABM treaty in 2001, I think it was, we can do anything we want. But why would we gratuitously hamper ourselves? That's what Republicans want to know. Are we hampering ourselves and conceding restrictions on ABM systems?

BAIER: Down the line -- does START get through the lame duck?

KRAUTHAMMER: No.

HENDERSON: No.

HAYES: No.

BAIER: There you go. What do you think the Senate should do about the START treaty? Logon to our homepage at FoxNews.com to vote on out online poll. Don't forget, the online show begins at 7:00 eastern.

Next up, opting out of the new health care plan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

continued...

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Choose a category

The Grapevine The GrapevineBrit Hume's CommentaryAll-Star Panelist Interviews

Latest Transcript

November 26, 2010

Please click on a date for previous transcripts:

Loading Datepicker Monday on Special Report

We'll have the fallout from the latest Wikileaks document dump as the White House tries to limit the damage.

Exclusive Interview With President Obama

• Part 1: Obama on health care

• Part 2: Obama on foreign policy

• Read the transcript

Special Report Online

Every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. ET After the Show

Join our live-streaming webcast and chat, for the reactions you didn’t hear from the panel, and a chance for you to weigh in with your thoughts and questions LIVE.

Connect with Special Report MyspaceFacebookTwitterEmailAudio PodcastPanel Podcast All-Star Panelists -- Monday, November 29 Charles Krauthammer

Krauthammer writes a syndicated column for The Washington Post. He is also a contributing editor to The Weekly Standard and The New Republic, and a weekly panelist on Inside Washington.

Stephen Hayes

Stephen Hayes is a senior writer at The Weekly Standard in Washington, DC, and author of two New York Times bestsellers. He writes frequently on electoral politics and national security.

Mara Liasson

Mara Liasson is the national political correspondent for NPR. Liasson provides extensive coverage of politics and policy from Washington, DC focusing on the White House and Congress and also reports on political trends beyond the Beltway.

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JOHN BOLTON, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: While it would have been clear that a treaty that tried to prevent national missile defense would have been dead on arrival in the Senate, the way the administration put it together politically, they achieved basically the same result.

And I think what many Republicans on the Hill are concerned about is that State Department negotiations going on right now to codify restrictions on national missile defense simply prove the risks of ratifying new START and laying a foundation for explicit restrictions on that capability.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRET BAIER, HOST: Former Ambassador John Bolton was arms negotiator in the Bush administration. He's talking about the START treaty up for ratification in the U.S. Senate. The administration is trying to get it through the lame duck session of Congress.

Here is what Vice President Biden wrote in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal about START, quote, "President Obama united Europe behind our missile defense plans and received strong support for the new START treaty that is currently before the Senate. In doing so he proved that missile defense and arms control can proceed hand in hand."

Now Republicans disagree. Aides to Arizona Senator Jon Kyl say privately that they have the votes to block this treaty in the Senate. Kyl and other Republican senators suspect that the person who was holding Ambassador Bolton's job now, Ellen Tauscher, who is the undersecretary of state, may have agreed to missile defense limits that are not spelled out in the START treaty, and they are asking for proof that she hasn't done that, another sticking point to this vote.

It's down in the weeds but it's important. Let's bring in our panel, Steve Hayes, senior writer for the Weekly Standard, Nia-Malika Henderson of The Washington Post, and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer. Charles?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: There is an important issue at stake here. One of the great achievements of the Bush administration was the cancellation of the ABM treaty which was a treaty signed in 1972 which restricted our ability to develop our defenses. And that's the most important weapon system of the coming century where lots of nations are going to have nukes and biological weapons and missiles and this is our only defense.

We cancelled that treaty which allowed us to exploit our huge advantage in this.

Now, the question is will START put a restriction on that? In the treaty there is nothing explicitly that restricts us on defense. However, in the preamble there is a statement of the interrelationship between offensive and defensive weapons. And the president of Russia upon the signing of the bill in April said that the Russian understanding is that all of, this the existence of the treaty and the validity of the treaty hinges on the unchanging, underlying relations, which means it's a code for if the U.S. does not make real advances in missile defense now.

We reject that interpretation, at least ostensibly and in public. So the question is has the State Department been negotiating understandings with the Russians that would assuage their questions about our advances in missile defense, i.e., are we conceding through the State Department in these other negotiations stuff which we say we are not conceding in our interpretation of that treaty?

That's why Kyl and other Republicans want to look at what's been negotiated by the State Department.

BAIER: Yes. And five other senators are asking in a letter sent couple weeks ago for all of the negotiations and documents sent back and forth because they want to know if there was this duel track START treaty and some missile defense going on.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, WASHINGTON POST: It seems to put a little bit more meat on the Republican argument for delaying this and then having the fuller Senate to look at it and more obviously Republicans to look at it come January.

I think before it was a little bit more in the weeds and now it's kind of less in the weeds now that we have the specter of North Korea and real kind of issues about the security of the nation.

So I, again, I believe Kyl when he says he has got these GOP senators who want to look at this again, who think that there is not enough time to look at this in the lame duck session. So I think this will be something that will be put off until January.

BAIER: Steve?

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: There has been long running misunderstandings about exactly what the relationship is between offensive and defensive capabilities within START.

This was -- I went to a hearing in late July of the Senate Armed Services Committee. This is what Republican senators were focused on then. And they were asking -- this was a hearing that included people on the American side who actually rolled up their sleeves and did the negotiating with the Russians on the treaty.

And the Republican senators were saying to them in effect we want to see your negotiations. We want to see behind the scenes. We want to see everything you talked about. We want to see how you characterized, how you represented what you think this treaty is going to do so it allows to us understand if this is good policy or bad policy.

So they asked for the negotiating record. And the administration thus far, despite the fact that it's continuously called itself the most transparent administration in history has refused to give up this negotiating record.

And there is some precedent for doing this on big treaties in the past if you go back over the past 30 years. They have given up this negotiating record which gives people in the legislative body an opportunity to see exactly what was going on.

What happened this past weekend in Portugal was the administration announced that it had achieved sort of a broad strokes agreement on missile defense, and senators said what is in this agreement? You can describe it to us?

They had been asking even before this letter was sent out October 18th for some further description of what was going to happen, what was being discussed. They asked for briefings, and the administration didn't provide briefers. So I think the senators have a good beef right now and they are right to ask for these documents.

BAIER: For people sitting at home, they may remember the president scrapped a year ago the land based efforts in Poland and the Czech Republic, the missile defense efforts in favor of sea and land based interceptors basically less threatening to Moscow.

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