KYL INTENT ON DESTROYING U.S. FOREIGN POLICY…. This isn’t just political madness; this is petty partisanship that literally puts American national security interests at risk.

A key Republican senator cast doubt Tuesday on the Obama administration’s chances of passing the nuclear treaty with Russia during the lame duck session of Congress.

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona, who is taking the lead for Republicans on negotiating with the administration on the treaty passage, said in a statement he told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, that the treaty should not be considered before January, when the newly elected Congress is seated.

“When Majority Leader Harry Reid asked me if I thought the treaty could be considered in the lame duck session, I replied I did not think so given the combination of other work Congress must do and the complex and unresolved issues related to START and modernization,” the statement from Kyl read. “I appreciate the recent effort by the Administration to address some of the issues that we have raised and I look forward to continuing to work with Senator (John) Kerry, DOD, and DOE officials,” referring to the Department of Defense and Department of Energy.

The issues that Kyl describes as “unresolved” have, in fact, been resolved — leading administration officials have met with Kyl privately, and mapped out in detail how they’re prepared to do exactly what he wants them to do. Even Jon Kyl, with his limited intellect, should be able to understand when someone says “yes” to his demands.

Under the circumstances, it appears that Kyl is opposing the treaty simply because he can. By all indications, Kyl simply cares more about defeating a key priority for President Obama than advancing the nation’s interests. I wish that weren’t true, but I’m hard pressed to come to any other conclusion.

I wouldn’t say the treaty is dead just yet, but Kyl’s mindless, genuinely stupid obstinacy has certainly put the arms treaty on death’s door. He’s suggested the Senate can try again next year, but no serious person believes it can be ratified after the Democratic majority shrinks — it’s pretty much now or never.

And if it fails, the consequences will be severe. U.S.-Russian relations will deteriorate dramatically; inspection of Russian long-range nuclear bases will be suspended indefinitely; and American credibility on the global stage will take a painful hit — all because one right-wing Arizonan hates the president a little too much.

We are, by the way, talking about a treaty endorsed by six former secretaries of state and five former secretaries of defense from both parties; the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; seven former Strategic Command chiefs; national security advisers from both parties, and nearly all former commanders of U.S. nuclear forces.

French Ambassador Pierre Vimont recently said that after he and other diplomats reported back to Europe about the possibility of congressional opposition to the treaty, “People ask us, ‘Have you been drinking?’”

The world simply doesn’t understand how hysterically ridiculous the Republican Party of the 21st century has become. Why would American lawmakers reject a treaty that benefits America? The notion that a legislature would hate their president more than they love their country just doesn’t seem plausible.

The administration reached out to Kyl in good faith, and gave him what he wanted. Kyl’s response isn’t just a betrayal of the White House; it’s a betrayal of all of our interests. It’s as shameful a moment for Kyl as at any point in his career — and he doesn’t even realize it.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.