Commentary January 29, 2021

Trying to Box in Biden on Arms Control

Former Trump officials complain that the new president doesn’t want what they failed to achieve.
Peace activists wearing masks of Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden pose with mock nuclear missiles in front of the U.S. embassy in Berlin on Jan. 29, 2021.
Peace activists wearing masks of Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Joe Biden pose with mock nuclear missiles in front of the U.S. embassy in Berlin on Jan. 29, 2021. JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

On Joe Biden’s first full day in the Oval Office, the White House announced its readiness to extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, for five years. Former Trump administration officials wasted no time attacking the decision, asserting—falsely—that their work had provided a basis for achieving something more substantial with the Russians.

These former officials are criticizing the Biden team for failing to aim for what they could not get during four years in office. They seek to set their failed negotiating aspirations as a bar against which to judge and disparage their successors’ work.

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