News

John Rhinelander
RATIFICATION OF ARMS CONTROL / SECURITY TREATIES DURING CLINTON II

The attached document assesses the ratification prospects of eight arms control/security treaties over the next four years (1997-2000). By focusing on his national security team first, the President has emphasized the central importance of the issues to him. His choices for State and NSC are much abler to deal with the political side of security issues than the current incumbents. However, the Senate is significant y more ideological, and about half of the Republican senators have come to the Senate abler the Cold War ended. Further, there will surely be more newcomers in 1998. The chair/ranking of the three key Committees Will be Helms/Biden, Thurmond/Levin, and Shelby/Kerrey.

In general, 1997 will probably see agreement on a five-year balanced budget through 2002, with pain across the entire government, and passage of a balanced budget amendment. Congressional defecit hawks will have a key role on the level of Defense spending.

The prospects for each of the eight treaties are ranked: good, uncertain, or poor. Except for the CWC, little preliminary work has been done in the Executive and none of the prospects can be judged "good", at least until the President's national security team makes its mark on the Hill. A two-thirds affirmative vote is a very difficult hurdle indeed, The year in which the Senate e will consider a particular treaty is presently a guess, except for CWC.

While the Senate has given its advice and consent to START II, the Duma has not done so because of lack of Presidential leadership in Russia and three substantive sets of issues: (1) NATO enlargement, (2) ABM Treaty matters, and (3) specific issues arising under START II coupled with a lack of agreed framework for START III. The March 1997 Clinton-Yeltsin Summit could be an action-forcing event in Moscow and Washington If the Duma fails to approve START II in 1997, this could have adverse effects on all arms control treaties thereafter before the Senate during Clinton II.

Finally, the prospects of more than one controversial treaty receiving Senate advice and consent in any one year, or even over two years' while there is a Democratic Executive, a Republican Congress, and a charged partisan atmosphere are poor. In any event' significant and continuing Presidential leadership will be required' and Trent Lott will be key in the Senate. Public advocacy and support by U.S. treaty allies will be essential and could be decisve.

J.B.R.

January 8, 1997

Attachment [TABLE NOT INCLUDED HERE, BUT WILL BE ADDED ASAP TO OUR WWW]