By Jack Goldsmith and Jeremy Rabkin
Critics of the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) warn that it may endanger the United States' capacity to go forward with missile defense. But the treaty, Senate consideration of which has been pushed back to the fall, raises another concern. Consent to it as it stands will further erode the Senate's constitutional role in American foreign policy.
This treaty does not constrain future development of missile defense (except in a few limited ways). It does, however, create a Bilateral Consultative Commission with power to approve "additional measures as may be necessary to improve the viability and effectiveness of the treaty." The U.S. and Russian executive branches can implement these measures and thus amend U.S. treaty obligations -- without returning to the U.S. Senate or the Russian Duma.