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Clinton’s Collapsing Claims On New START With Russia

- April 27, 2016

New Facts Raise Questions About Her Role And The Success Of The Treaty

FOR MONTHS, CLINTON HAS CLAIMED CREDIT FOR THE NEW START TREATY WITH RUSSIA AND BRAGGED ABOUT ITS SUCCESS

Clinton Has Stated That She "Was Very Much Involved" In Negotiating New START. CLINTON: "Well, I want to make sure everyone knows what START is. New Start is the treaty the Obama administration negotiated to reduce the stockpiles of nuclear weapons in both Russia and the United States. I was very much involved in that, and some of my top aides were principle negotiators of it, and we had to get through the Senate, and I had to work really hard to round up Republican votes. We had to get two-thirds of the senate to vote for that and we did. So we made a very strong statements about what we needed to do about nuclear weapons." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks At Campaign Rally, Manchester, NH, 1/22/16)

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Bill Clinton Has Stated That "She Negotiated A Treaty With Russia." BILL CLINTON: "She negotiated a treaty with Russia which is the only thing that survives our so-called reset trying to improve our relations called the New START. And, it basically dramatically reduces the likelihood of accidental or intentional nuclear exchange with Russia." (Bill Clinton, Remarks At a Hillary Clinton Campaign Rally, Dubuque, IA, 1/7/16)

  • At Another Campaign Rally, Bill Clinton Stated That It Was "Hillary's State Department" That Negotiated The New START Treaty. BILL CLINTON: "The only thing that has survived the estrangement of the United States and Russia from our attempt to do better is something called the New START Treaty, negotiated by Hillary's State Department, which makes us much safer from this prospect from an accidental or intentional nuclear exchange. In a dangerous world, I think that's a pretty good deal." (Bill Clinton, Remarks At a Hillary Clinton Campaign Rally, Nashua, NH, 1/4/16)

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NEW FACTS CALL INTO QUESTION CLINTON'S ROLE AND THE TREATY'S BENEFITS

In Mark Landler's New Book, Clinton Is Shown To Have Kept A "Low Profile" During Negotiations For The New START Treaty, While It Was Obama Who Took A "Hands-On Approach"

"Clinton Would Scarcely Figure In The Yearlong Drama" Over New START, As Obama Would Take A Hands-On Approach To Negotiations. "Clinton would scarcely figure in the yearlong drama to come. For Obama, the negotiations with Medvedev that produced New START would be the most hands-on, sustained diplomacy of his presidency. (He spent a comparable amount of time on the Iran nuclear talks, but left the actual bargaining to John Kerry.)" (Mark Landler, Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, And The Twilight Struggle Over American Power, 2016)

Clinton's Low Profile In The Negotiations "Is Even More Striking, Given That One Of Her Assistant Secretaries…Ran The Day-To-Day Negotiations." "Clinton's low profile is even more striking, given that one of her assistant secretaries- Rose Gottemoeller, a nuclear expert who had served in the Clinton administration and headed the Carnegie Moscow Center- ran the day-to-day negotiations." (Mark Landler, Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, And The Twilight Struggle Over American Power, 2016)

When Talks Required Higher-Level Engagement, It Was Obama, Not Clinton Who "Threw Himself Into The Technical Details Of Warheads, Launchers, Heavy Bombers, And Missiles." "When these talks required higher-level intervention, it was supplied by Obama. The arms-control wonk who had once written a senior-seminar paper at Columbia about how to negotiate with the Soviets to reduce their nuclear arsenals was suddenly doing it for real. He threw himself into the technical details of warheads, launchers, heavy bombers, and missiles- to the point that some of his advisers questioned whether this was the best use of a president's time." (Mark Landler, Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, And The Twilight Struggle Over American Power, 2016)

  • Obama And Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Had 14 Meetings Or Phone Calls About New START Before Finally Signing The Treaty In April 2010. "All told, the two leaders had fourteen meetings or phone calls about New START, before finally signing the treaty in Prague in April 2010." (Mark Landler, Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, And The Twilight Struggle Over American Power, 2016)
  • Obama Became Engrossed With Telemetry And Both He And Medvedev Talked About The Details So Frequently That Medvedev Would Quip That His Favorite Word In English Was Now 'Telemetry." "Obama became particularly engrossed by telemetry: the data that a missile transmits during test flights, which can be used to determine its throw-weight, how quickly it burns fuel, and how many times its flight path shifts before it releases its warhead. The United States and Russia agreed to share this data, but Obama dickered repeatedly with Medvedev over the frequency of the information swap. 'My favorite word in English now is 'telemetry,'' Medvedev said to Obama, after yet another haggling session about it." (Mark Landler, Alter Egos: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, And The Twilight Struggle Over American Power, 2016)

FactCheck.org: Clinton Overstates The Impact Of New START

FactCheck.org Headline: "Clinton Overstates Nuclear Achievement". (Eugene Kiely, "Clinton Overstates Nuclear Agreement," FactCheck.Org, 4/27/16)

According to FactCheck.org, Clinton "Overstates The Impact Of A 2011 Nuclear Agreement With Russia" By Claiming She Secured "A Massive Reduction In Nuclear Weapons." "Hillary Clinton overstates the impact of a 2011 nuclear agreement with Russia in a TV ad that says she was responsible for 'securing a massive reduction in nuclear weapons.' The agreement, known as New START, limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads - that is, nuclear weapons that are deployed on long-range (or strategic) launchers. But it does not require either side to destroy nuclear weapons or reduce their nuclear stockpile, and it doesn't place limits on shorter-range nuclear weapons." (Eugene Kiely, "Clinton Overstates Nuclear Agreement," FactCheck.Org, 4/27/16)

  • FactCheck.org: "The Record Doesn't Show That Clinton Was Responsible For 'Securing A Massive Reduction In Nuclear Weapons.'" "But the record doesn't show that Clinton was responsible for 'securing a massive reduction in nuclear weapons.'" (Eugene Kiely, "Clinton Overstates Nuclear Agreement," FactCheck.Org, 4/27/16)

According To A Recent Congressional Research Service Report, Russia Has Actually Increased Its Deployed Nuclear Weapons From 1,537 Warheads To 1,735 Warheads. "In February 2011, Russia reported that it had 1,537 warheads on 521 deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers. Russia also reported a total of 865 deployed and nondeployed delivery vehicles. At the time of this report, analysts expressed surprise that Russian forces were already below the treaty limits in New START when the treaty entered into force. … [I]n March 2016 Russia reported that it had 1,735 warheads on 521 deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers, within a total of 856 deployed and nondeployed launchers." (Amy Woolf, "The New Start Treaty: Central Limits And Key Provisions," Congressional Research Service, 4/13/16)

Clinton Also Claims That "She Oversaw Negotiation And Worked To Ensure Ratification Of The New START Treaty, Which Will Make The World Safer By Reducing U.S. And Russian Nuclear Arsenals To Their Smallest Size In 50 Years." "She oversaw negotiation and worked to ensure ratification of the New START treaty, which will make the world safer by reducing U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals to their smallest size in 50 years." ( Press Release, "Hillary Clinton's Record Of Leadership," The Briefing, 2015)

  • FactCheck.org Has Labeled This Statement Is "Misleading." "On its website, the Clinton campaign says the New START treaty 'will make the world safer by reducing U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals to their smallest size in 50 years.' But this is misleading." (Eugene Kiely, "Clinton Overstates Nuclear Agreement," FactCheck.Org, 4/27/16)

Hans Kristensen, Director Of The Nuclear Information Project At The Federation Of Scientists: Clinton's Claim Of Reducing Nuclear Weapons "Is An Overstatement-To Put It Mildly" As The Overwhelming Part Of That Reduction Occurred "Long Before The New START Treaty Was Signed." "'It is an overstatement - to put it mildly - to say that the treaty has reduced US and Russian nuclear arsenals to their smallest size in 50 years,' Kristensen told us. 'The overwhelming part of that reduction occurred in the 1990s long before the New START treaty was signed at a time when the two countries retired and dismantled nuclear weapons at an impressive rate.'" (Eugene Kiely, "Clinton Overstates Nuclear Agreement," FactCheck.Org, 4/27/16)


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