Senate Democrats don’t really expect a ratification vote for the New START arms control agreement in the lame-duck session, but are continuing to campaign for ratification for partisan political reasons, said Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) Thursday. “The people [voters] have spoken, and now trying to cram through an old agenda in a lame-duck session is the wrong thing to do,” he said during a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. “The best way to end proliferation,” he argued “is for people to know” that no matter how many ballistic missiles a potential enemy may have, “we can shoot them down” by developing a “missile defense system that would render nuclear weapons obsolete.” Pursuing New START without a commitment to a missile defense capable of negating “multiple missiles” tacitly accepts the “premise of mutually assured destruction,” something American citizens would reject, asserted DeMint. “If we’re committed to developing a missile defense umbrella . . . and rendering nuclear weapons obsolete, I believe that we could do it,” he said. He added, “That should be our goal in a very dangerous world.”
These are the complete remarks by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III at the Reagan National Defense Forum, Dec. 3, 2022, in Simi Valley, Calif.