New START Passes, 71-26: Is Pete Rouse the Magic?


It’s an interesting day when Robert Kagan, now at Brookings, is praising the President for his foreign policy and national security achievements.
Noting Obama’s success (and I should add John Kerry’s and Joe Biden’s) in pushing through ratification of the New START agreement with Russia, Kagan writes:

The Senate’s passage of the resolution of ratification of the New START treaty should be greeted as good news by sensible people interested in a sound American foreign and defense policy. The administration’s willingness to accommodate Republican concerns on missile defense and modernization of the aging nuclear force has significantly strengthened the original modest agreement. In exchange for Republican acceptance of relatively small cuts in nuclear weapons, President Obama is now on record supporting missile defense in a way that he had not been before and has committed more than $80 billion to modernizing the nuclear arsenal. Republicans ought to be delighted with the deal.

Some Republicans are delighted, others feel mediocre but supported it — and some just fought tooth and nail, mostly over petty topics rather than what was in the best interest of the nation’s security.
I’ll have more on Obama’s roll these past few days. His successes have just kept mounting. Hawaii will no doubt feel good after all of this.
One thing no one has raised as Obama’s team has pulled off one coup after another is what or who is responsible for some of this shift.
My bet is that the hidden hand of interim White House Chief of Staff Pete Rouse vs. the very visible hand of Rahm Emanuel has made a significant impact on sequencing and flow around the President.
Good job Pete (and the rest of the WH and Senate Foreign Relations teams).
— Steve Clemons


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