|00:00:02||NATO CON FREQUENCE NOT -- CONFERENCE, PRESIDENT BUSH WAS ADVOCATING FOR GEORGIA TO BE A MEMBER OF NATO.|
|00:00:13||SHOWS YOU HOW SERIOUS THESE MATTERS ARE.|
|00:00:16||IF WE HAD BROUGHT GEORGIA INTO NATURE YOKES AND THEY WERE ON -- NATO, AND THEY WERE ON THE SHORT LIST, WE WOULD BE IN A SITUATION -- I ALMOST SAID THE SOVIETS, THE RUSSIANS WOULD BE INVADING A NATO COUNTRY.|
|00:00:30||THE ACT OF RUSSIA INVADING GEORGIA WAS A DRAMATIC EVENT.|
|00:00:35||SO I -- PROPONENTS OF THE TREATY HAVE PORTRAYED THIS MATTER AS ADVANCING OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA.|
|00:00:44||I THINK SENATOR KERRY'S BEEN NOT SO AGGRESSIVE.|
|00:00:49||IT'S NOT HAVING BEEN ONE OF HIS THEMES, BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE AND I THINK YOU'RE WISE NOT TO GO DOWN THAT ROAD.|
|00:00:55||BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE TRIED TO SAY, WE'RE GOING TO GET ALONG WITH RUSSIA BETTER BY SIGNING THIS TREATY WITH THEM.|
|00:01:03||THAT IS NOT A SOUND BASIS TO SIGN A TREATY.|
|00:01:06||WE ALL NEED A BETTER RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA.|
|00:01:10||THAT I CERTAINLY ACKNOWLEDGE.|
|00:01:13||AND GEORGIA WOULD CERTAINLY BENEFIT FROM IT AND HOPEFULLY THE WORLD WITH HAVE A BETTER RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA.|
|00:01:21||I'M UNABLE TO FATHOM A LOT OF THE RUSSIAN ACTIVITIES, FRANKLY.|
|00:01:25||IT'S JUST DIFFICULT FOR ME.|
|00:01:28||WHY HAVE THEY NEGOTIATED SO HARD HEADEDLY ON THIS TREATY TO ACTUALLY REDUCE THE NUMBER OF INSPECTIONS OVER WHAT WE HAD IN THE PREVIOUS TREATY?|
|00:01:38||I MEAN, WHY?|
|00:01:40||I THOUGHT RUSSIA WAS WANTING TO MOVE FORWARD INTO THE WORLD AND BE A GOOD CITIZEN IN THE WORLD COMMUNITY.|
|00:01:48||I HAVEN'T SEEN IT.|
|00:01:49||I'M WORRIED ABOUT IT.|
|00:01:50||SO THE QUESTION IS, DO -- IF WE CONCEDE, IF WE ABANDON -- IF WE CONCEDE TOO MUCH ARE WE HELPING DEVELOP A POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP OR NOT?|
|00:02:05||I THINK SENATOR RISCH IS SAYING, LOOK, WE'VE GOT A SERIOUS PROBLEM.|
|00:02:09||THEY ARE HOLDING OUR MILITARY EQUIPMENT.|
|00:02:12||ARE WE NOT EVEN GOING TO DISCUSS THAT?|
|00:02:14||AND HOW DO WE GET TO A MORE POSITIVE RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR RUSSIAN FRIENDS?|
|00:02:21||AND I THINK THE PEOPLE OF RUSSIA ARE OUR FRIENDS.|
|00:02:25||HOW DO WE GET THERE?|
|00:02:28||IS IT THROUGH STRENGTH?|
|00:02:30||THROUGH CONSISTENCY, PRINCIPLE, AND POSITION OR THROUGH WEAKNESS AND PLACATING AND CONCESSION AND APPEASING?|
|00:02:39||IS THAT THE WAY TO GAIN THEIR RESPECT AND TO MOVE US INTO A -- A HEALTHIER RELATIONSHIP?|
|00:02:46||I DON'T THINK SO.|
|00:02:48||I THINK WE HAVE ONLY ONE CHOICE, AND THAT IS TO DEFEND OUR LEGITIMATE INTERESTS.|
|00:02:54||I BELIEVE THAT THIS ADMINISTRATION HAS BEEN TOO FIXED ON A TREATY AND THERE'S -- AS ONE OBSERVER AND TREATY NEGOTIATOR WHO SAID, IF YOU WANT IT BAD, YOU'LL GET IT BAD.|
|00:03:10||IN OTHER WORDS, IF YOU WANT THE TREATY TOO BAD, YOU WON'T BE AN EFFECTIVE NEGOTIATOR.|
|00:03:16||I REMEMBER DURING THIS PROCESS ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION WARNING AND EXPRESSING CONCERN TO OUR NEGOTIATORS THAT WE APPEAR TO BE TOO ANXIOUS TO OBTAIN THIS TREATY AND, IF SO, THE RUSSIANS WOULD PLAY US LIKE A FIDDLE.|
|00:03:31||AND I'M AFRAY THAT IS -- I'M AFRAID THAT IS WHAT HAS HAPPENED.|
|00:03:36||SO I THINK THAT THIS CONGRESS WOULD DO THE PRESIDENT, THE WORLD, RUSSIA, AND OUR COUNTRY A SERVICE IF WE SAID WHAT SENATOR RISCH SAYS, OKAY, GUYS, HOW ABOUT LETTING OUR EQUIPMENT BE SENT BACK?|
|00:03:53||YOU'RE NOT WILLING TO DO THAT, THEN WE'VE GOT A SERIOUS PROBLEM.|
|00:03:58||I THANK THE CHAIR AND WOULD YIELD THE FLOOR.|
|00:04:01||THE PRESIDING OFFICER: THE SENATOR FROM IDAHO.|
Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I agree with Senator Kyl and support the Risch amendment. I remember at a NATO conference not too many years ago President Bush was advocating for Georgia being a member of NATO, to show you how serious these matters are. So had we voted to bring Georgia into NATO--and they were on the short list--we would be in a situation in which the Russians would be invading a NATO country. The act of Russia invading Georgia was a dramatic event.
The proponents of the treaty portrayed this matter as advancing our relationship with Russia. I think Senator Kerry has been not so aggressive--that hasn't been one of his themes. But a lot of people have, and I think he was wise not to go down that road.
A lot of people have tried to say we are going to get along with Russia better by signing this treaty with them. That is not a sound basis to sign a treaty. We all need a better relationship with Russia. That I certainly acknowledge. Georgia would certainly benefit from it, and hopefully the world will have a better relationship with Russia.
But I am unable to fathom a lot of the Russian activities, frankly. It is just difficult for me. Why have they negotiated so hardheadedly on this treaty to actually reduce the number of inspections over what we had in the previous treaty? Why? I thought Russia was about wanting to move forward into the world and be a good citizen in the world community. I haven't seen it. I am worried about it.
So the question is, if we abandon or concede too much, are we helping develop a positive relationship? I think Senator Risch is saying: Look, we have a serious problem. They are holding our military equipment. Are we not even going to discuss that? How do we get to a more positive relationship with our Russian friends? I think the people of Russia are our friends. How do we get there? Is it through strength, constancy, consistency, principle, and position, or is it through weakness, placating, concession, and appeasing? Is that the way to gain respect and move us into a healthier relationship? I don't think so.
I think we have only one charge, and that is to defend our legitimate interests. I believe this administration has been too fixed on a treaty, and, as one observer and former treaty negotiator has said: If you want it bad, you will get it bad. In other words, if you want the treaty too badly, you won't be an effective negotiator. I remember during this process, on more than one occasion, warning and expressing concern to our negotiators that we appeared to be too anxious to obtain this treaty and, if so, the Russians would play us like a fiddle. I am afraid that is what has happened.
I think this Congress would do the President, the world, Russia, and our country a service if we said what Senator Risch says: OK, guys, how about letting our equipment be sent back. If you are not willing to do that, then we have a serious problem.
I thank the Chair and yield the floor.