“Flexibility”: Biden to open new nuclear discussions with Russia

posted at 1:11 pm on February 1, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

After the election, I have more flexibility.

Well, Putin did back off on pressing the issue of further reductions in missile defense, but now that the election is over, the Russian government and our own apparently have some unfinished business to take care of.

Vice President Biden is kicking off a four-day European trip on Friday, and plans to meet with Russia’s top envoy on Saturday in Munich to relaunch that Russian “reset” we used to hear so much about — nevermind Putin’s increasingly anti-Western behavior of late. Foreign Policy reports:

Vice President Joe Biden will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov this weekend in Munich and National Security Advisor Tom Donilon will travel to Moscow next month to try to kick-start a new round of U.S.-Russia nuclear reduction negotiations, The Cable has learned.

… Now, at the beginning of Obama’s second term, Biden and Donilon are leading the charge to reinvigorate that reset, following a series of setbacks in the U.S.-Russia relationship that has included President Vladimir Putin accusing the United States of meddling in Russian politics, anger over a new U.S. law to sanction Russian human rights violators, and a new Russian ban on Americans adopting Russian orphans. …

Some in Congress are concerned that Biden and Donilon, in their upcoming meetings with Russian leaders, will define exactly what that “flexibility” might mean and propose unilateral reductions in U.S. nuclear stockpiles or alterations to U.S. missile-defense plans as an enticement for Russia to sit down for new talks.

“Some in Congress” including Republican from Alabama Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, who sent a letter to Vice President Biden earlier this week wondering what all this is about.

“Ahead of your unannounced discussions with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov this weekend in Munich, and prior to Mr. Donilon’s forthcoming February discussions in Moscow, I write seeking your assurance as to President Obama’s plans for future potential U.S. arms reductions,” Mr. Rogers wrote.

The lawmaker reminded the vice president that, as a senator in 2002, Mr. Biden urged the Bush administration to follow the precedent that “with the exception of the SALT I agreement, every significant arms-control agreement during the past three decades has been transmitted to the Senate pursuant to the Treaty Clause of the Constitution.”

According to Rogers’ letter, Donilon plans to transmit a personal letter from Obama to Putin “articulating his plans for further U.S. arms reductions and perhaps even agreements about U.S. missile defenses to entice Russia to the negotiating table,” and he asks that that letter be made available to Congress upon Donilon’s return — I’m sure The Most Transparent Administration, Evah understands the request.

Republicans also questioned Hagel about his potential plans for our nuclear arsenal during his confirmation hearings yesterday:

Other Republicans on the committee repeatedly pressed Hagel on his support for endorsement of Global Zero, the movement calling for abolition of nuclear weapons by 2030.

Hagel served on the Global Zero U.S. Nuclear Policy Commission which issued a report last May calling for an 80 percent reduction in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Hagel told ranking Republican committee member Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma that his position “has never been unilateral disarmament.”

And he said the Global Zero report was discussing “illustrative possibilities” and “scenarios” and wasn’t urging specific policies.

But last May’s Global Zero report, which Hagel signed on to, says that a drastically smaller U.S. arsenal could be negotiated bilaterally with Russia – “or implemented unilaterally.”

In his opening statement Hagel pledged that he would maintain an effective nuclear arsenal. “America’s nuclear deterrent over the last 65 years has played a central role in ensuring global security and the avoidance of a World War III. I am committed to modernizing our nuclear arsenal,” he said.

None of this bodes very well, does it?


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Hagel not available? Quite the brain trust this administration has representing us.

Cindy Munford on February 1, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Great, ‘no-brainer’ Biden will hand over more of our weapons.

Galt2009 on February 1, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Elections have consequences…

sandee on February 1, 2013 at 1:17 PM

Biden: “Here, take this new reset button.”

Lavrov: “Uhhh…thank you…but why are you not wearing any pants?”

Bishop on February 1, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Maybe “Dr. Strangelove” wasn’t so much fiction…

kingsjester on February 1, 2013 at 1:25 PM

None of this bodes very well, does it?

It does if you hate America as much as Obama does.

Happy Nomad on February 1, 2013 at 1:25 PM

What if Dick Cheney had said the things Biden says?

Bmore on February 1, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Bmore on February 1, 2013 at 1:26 PM

The MSM would be screaming like a housewife who just saw a mouse.

kingsjester on February 1, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Wonder if there will be a ‘hot mic’ with joe as bho had? No telling what joe will say, that guy is not all that bright from his past gaffes!
L

letget on February 1, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Let the impeachment hearings begin.

Archivarix on February 1, 2013 at 1:32 PM

the three stooges Biden, Kerry and Hagel.

And the hits keep coming.

CoffeeLover on February 1, 2013 at 1:34 PM

His plan is to ban assault missiles that have features like head shroud and pistol grip capability while also outlawing 30 MIRV capacities.

He wants to substitute pump action shotgun missiles because they are more accurate.

Dusty on February 1, 2013 at 1:36 PM

The MSM would be screaming like a housewife who just saw a mouse.

kingsjester on February 1, 2013 at 1:29 PM

…instead…the MSM will probably be there for a photo opp…showing the couple…with Foreign Minister Lavrov sitting on Uncle Joe’s lap…with Biteme nuzzeling Lavrov’s neck!

KOOLAID2 on February 1, 2013 at 1:37 PM

What could possibly go wrong?

Herb on February 1, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Isn’t this the ‘use scissors against shooters’ tactic just released by DHS?

Limerick on February 1, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Make sure you spell it right, Joe. It’s: шут

Dusty on February 1, 2013 at 1:45 PM

What could possibly go wrong?

Herb on February 1, 2013 at 1:39 PM

yep

ted c on February 1, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Biden: “we’ll get rid of ALL our scary weapons if you make Pravda stop defending our 2nd Amendment. How’s that for flexibility?”

dentarthurdent on February 1, 2013 at 1:50 PM

I know foreign policy and the international arena better than 99% of HotAirians. But Biden and Russia? Are you kidding me? I know the Russians, and their negotiators very well. They’ll roll right over Biden. And for the first time, I’ll admit (and I hate being dramatic): We are so screwed.

tommy71 on February 1, 2013 at 2:09 PM

I know foreign policy and the international arena better than 99% of HotAirians. But Biden and Russia? Are you kidding me? I know the Russians, and their negotiators very well. They’ll roll right over Biden. And for the first time, I’ll admit (and I hate being dramatic): We are so screwed.

tommy71 on February 1, 2013 at 2:09 PM

I agree completely with your conclusion – but your first sentence makes everything else you say questionable. Perhaps you actually do have some foreign policy experience, but perhaps a lot of other Hot Airians do as well.
I’ve known a few pathological liars (the types who claim to be SEALs and Green Berets, but never were), and they typically start with self-agrandizing statements like yours.

dentarthurdent on February 1, 2013 at 2:24 PM

Hagel is for total disarmament.

Schadenfreude on February 1, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Go for it you moronic commie Democrats……..

We need all the help for 2014 we can get.

FlaMurph on February 1, 2013 at 2:35 PM

@dentarthurdent No problemo. In that case, just ignore my comment. :-)

tommy71 on February 1, 2013 at 2:35 PM

@dentarthurdent No problemo. In that case, just ignore my comment. :-)

tommy71 on February 1, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Just a suggestion.
I sure don’t speak for anyone else, and I’m not attacking you, but if you had started with something like “I worked at the US embassy in Moscow for 10 years” instead of what you said, my first thought would have been “cool – someone who actually knows the Russians”.

dentarthurdent on February 1, 2013 at 2:45 PM

On the plus side, if Russian intel focuses on Biden, it’ll waste the time of several of their operatives.

apostic on February 1, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Take away our country’s nukes…our citizens guns…while the Russians keep all of theirs.

Anyone see the possibility of Red Dawn becoming more and more likely? And it appears we won’t even have Wolverines on our side if it does…Wolverines Endangered

nextgen_repub on February 1, 2013 at 2:50 PM

@dentarthurdent Thanks for your honest suggestion. Really, I mean it. But there are limits to what I can and can’t divulge. Not just us, but many different people read HA (Progs, Gubmint, Newshounds). If peeps take me at face value, fine. If not, thats fine too. I just provide input. Output, disbelief is subjective. Doesn’t matter. Hey, its kewl, except for the above news.

tommy71 on February 1, 2013 at 2:57 PM

I hope this works out better than the Khitomer Accords did for the federation…

redshirt on February 1, 2013 at 3:05 PM

@dentarthurdent Thanks for your honest suggestion. Really, I mean it. But there are limits to what I can and can’t divulge. Not just us, but many different people read HA (Progs, Gubmint, Newshounds). If peeps take me at face value, fine. If not, thats fine too. I just provide input. Output, disbelief is subjective. Doesn’t matter. Hey, its kewl, except for the above news.

tommy71 on February 1, 2013 at 2:57 PM

Understood. That’s ok. I try not to get too specific about my background either.

dentarthurdent on February 1, 2013 at 3:08 PM

On the plus side, if Russian intel focuses on Biden, it’ll waste the time of several of their operatives.

apostic on February 1, 2013 at 2:46 PM

All they need is one Russian spy chick in a biker outfit sitting on his lap and he’ll spill his guts….

dentarthurdent on February 1, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Every time that I see that photo, I bang my head on the desk.

However did we come to a place where Joe Biden is one heartbeat away from the Presidency and is negotiating with Vladimir Putin about nuclear disarmament?

Facepalm.

Resist We Much on February 1, 2013 at 3:39 PM

All they need is one Russian spy chick in a biker outfit sitting on his lap and he’ll spill his guts….

dentarthurdent on February 1, 2013 at 3:11 PM

Yeah, but expecting analysts to square everything he says into a coherent, reliable image… My GOD we can’t do this to human beings! Stop it now!

apostic on February 1, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Yeah, but expecting analysts to square everything he says into a coherent, reliable image… My GOD we can’t do this to human beings! Stop it now!

apostic on February 1, 2013 at 3:55 PM

LOL – well, I didn’t say WHAT would spill out of his guts – or whether it would actually be useful to the Russians – or anyone else for that matter.

dentarthurdent on February 1, 2013 at 4:22 PM

Obama will be trying to push Michelle forward for a 2016 presidential run just as Bill Clinton did to Hillary in his second term but no doubt about it the Democrats are trying to groom Bidden. People worry about the repeal of the 22nd amendment for the two term limit on President. The real worry should be dynasty building.

jpcpt03 on February 1, 2013 at 6:06 PM

Hopefully they just send Biden to Russia, NY. It will save a lot of time and money and won’t allow him to screw up too much.

KenInIL on February 1, 2013 at 8:24 PM

@dentarthurdent Thanks for your honest suggestion. Really, I mean it. But there are limits to what I can and can’t divulge. Not just us, but many different people read HA (Progs, Gubmint, Newshounds). If peeps take me at face value, fine. If not, thats fine too. I just provide input. Output, disbelief is subjective. Doesn’t matter. Hey, its kewl, except for the above news.

tommy71 on February 1, 2013 at 2:57 PM

But … , beyond “I know something that you don’t”, what do you want to say?

virgo on February 2, 2013 at 1:50 PM