Caveat Linker

The “PONI blog”:http://forums.csis.org/poni/ “points out”:http://forums.csis.org/poni/?p=51 a “story by Tim Reid in the Times of London”:http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article5654836.ece alleging that the Obama administration is seeking a bilateral treaty with Russia to cut nuclear arsenals to 1,000 warheads per side.

Whoa up there.

British journalism is sort of like British dentistry; the standards aren’t exactly the same as in America, where things aren’t necessarily ideal to start with.

Reid’s entire story hangs on the following anonymous quote:

“We are going to re-engage Russia in a more traditional, legally binding arms reduction process,” an official from the Administration said. “We are prepared to engage in a broader dialogue with the Russians over issues of concern to them. Nobody would be surprised if the number reduced to the 1,000 mark for the post-Start treaty.”

(He couldn’t even find a _senior_ administration official?)

In America, we usually like our anonymous sources in pairs. And we often like to see them called “senior administration officials,” or to come with some other assurance from the reporter that they possibly might know whereof they speak.

So what have we really got? A single, unnamed person who says that “no one would be surprised” if future talks with the Russians — long rumored to have minds of their own, but that’s mere speculation — were someday to reach a particular result. Which is not even stated to be the Administration’s actual objective. After all, it takes time to figure these things out. Key personnel have to be in place, and so forth. And the Administration is all of two weeks old.

OK, this is a lot of keystrokes to waste on a question that’s probably far less weighty than it’s made out to be. Long story short, don’t believe everything you see on the Internets.

1 thought on “Caveat Linker

  1. anon

    Welcome, and thank you. Someone floated a trial balloon (as in, no one would be surprised if…) and the British press took it as a policy pronoucement. I, for one, would be very surprised if the Obama policy, at least in the near term, were to seek a treaty at 1,000 warheads. Maybe in the long term, after we figure out how to cut that deeply without screwing the Navy and NATO, but not before START expires….

    Reply

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