Jeffrey LewisThrough the Looking Glass 1: ABM Treaty

When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more or less.”

The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean different things.”

The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

The Bush Administration is expert at distorting language for their purposes, particulary on issues of arms control.

This recurring feature will try to map the games these characters play with language.

Take this quote from Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control Stephen Rademaker in his December 17 keynote address to the American Foreign Policy Council (In theory, C-SPAN has the video, but I can’t make it work):

So it can be said that by 2001, the ABM Treaty was not the cornerstone of strategic arms control, but rather a principal obstacle to progress in arms control.

The argument? Because, after the ABM Treaty withdrawal, Washington and Moscow signed the Moscow Treaty, which provided for “the deepest reduction ever mandated by a strategic arms control treaty.”

What an asshole.

Apart from pointing out that correlation is not causality (is there any evidence that Russia was less likely to sign the Moscow Treaty with the ABM Treaty in place?):

(John Steinbruner and I heaped scorn on the Moscow Treaty in Daedalus earning us the uncertain honor of a footnote in Noam Chomsky’s Hegemony and Survival.)

Of course, restrictions on MIRVs, missile defenses and the like testify to the foolishness of nuclear warfighting and the inevitability of mutual vulnerability—definitely an obstacle to the forces outlined in the 2001 Nuclear Posture Review and the kind of “arms control” practiced by the Bush Administration.

In other words, Rademaker is saying that arms control was an obstacle to arms control.