'This Week' Transcript: Adm. Mike Mullen


AMANPOUR: I mean, on an issue like this, they can't do that, can they? I mean, really, he ticked off the military, the intelligence, the financial; all the questions that they had have been resolved.

WILL: I take Jon Kyl at his word, and I respect him very much. I think what he says is, first of all, it's nonsense to say, as Joe Biden, the gift who keeps on giving does say, that it is -- the vital national security interest of the United States is to ratify this in a lame-duck session? That means that if we didn't have a lame-duck session, which we shouldn't do ever, the nation would be...

AMANPOUR: But the vital interest is to ratify it right now, as soon as possible.

WILL: As opposed to six weeks from now? Oh, please.

AMANPOUR: But it -- but it looks like it would be put off, even if it was -- they want more debate. They want to reopen it, talk about it again.

WILL: Jon Kyl is bargaining for the modernization of our nuclear force.

AMANPOUR: So it's about money?

WILL: Can I give you -- that's part -- it's about the modernization of our force. Can I give you Will's law of arms control? Arm's control is impossible until it's unimportant. This is unimportant, so it's going to get done. That is, who lies awake at night worrying about the size, not the security, but the size of the Russian nuclear arsenal? No one.

AMANPOUR: Well, you're partly right there, because the size is not the main issue. It's the verification, which is a huge issue, and, vitally, American credibility. Here we have this story from North Korea today -- how does America stand up and say, "You guys can't proliferate," if we're not going to do this? How can we lead?

LUCE: Very, very difficult. I mean, Russia, of course, is a part of the six-party group with North Korea, and therefore its cooperation is also important there, as it is on Afghanistan, as it is on Iran.

These broader implications for failing to ratify START here go across the world. Russia's cooperation is something that Obama has worked on very successfully, very patiently, along with Hillary Clinton, for two years now, and this puts it in jeopardy.

Just one other point, though, about Mitch McConnell's pledge to make Obama a one-term president. Clearly, that's going to be the strategy of the Republicans. Question is, are they going to do it intelligently or unintelligently? And I think Senator Kyl, his comments and his stance, indicate it could well be the latter.

BRAZILE: Senator Kyl a year ago, after returning from Geneva, called upon the Senate to quickly ratify this treaty. Now, what has happened in one year? What has happened, clearly, is that the Republicans have redoubled their efforts to block anything that President Obama would like to see passed. They want to deny him a victory.

This is political malpractice. And Senator Kyl said that himself. So it might be -- George is probably correct. This might be about money, to get more money for the nuclear industry complex. The president has promised $4 billion more, but in all...

AMANPOUR: In addition to $80 billion.

BRAZILE: That's right. But in all of the hearings this year and all of the conversations, Senator Kyl, no one else, you know, expressed any objections, and now this is, I think, one of those political moments where they can succeed in blocking the president.

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