Wed, March 10, 2010
Since SALT I under Nixon/Kissinger, all nuclear arms control and
reduction agreements depended upon the ABM treaty, which Bush jr pulled
us out of. So now Obama wants to go ahead with his new, improved ABM
system in Europe together with a follow on to
sense for the Russians to say no.
Francis A. Boyle
(personal comments only)
03/10/2010 10:54 AM
The Missile Shield Deadlock between the
US and Russia
There is good news on the disarmament front:
In addition, what may be the final round of Russian-American talks on the further reduction of strategic offensive weapons started on Tuesday in
So much optimism has rarely been seen in
Unfortunately, though, the elation is not genuine. The idea that the world can become a planet free of nuclear weapons one day -- as promised by Obama in his visionary speech last year in Prague -- remains a fallacy for the time being.
And the new treaty won't change that. Even if Russia and the US finally put aside their decades of hostility during the Cold War and sign a treaty outlining the further reduction of their nuclear arsenals, their behind-the-scenes relationship is, once again, characterized by deep mistrust -- perhaps even more so than during the administration of the abrasive former US president, George W. Bush.
The Russians, in particular, feel that they are once again being misled. They may believe that man now in the Oval Office has honorable intentions, but they do not believe he is capable of reversing his country's position on nuclear weapons, says Dmitri Trenin, head of the
The plan was presented on Feb. 1 -- only a few months after the
The document remains vague and does not specify the countries in which the systems would be based. But it was already revealed earlier that
'New Weapons System'
"They have jettisoned
This doesn't sound like disarmament. But why should
First, because there is an imbalance between the Russians and the Americans in the development of their respective strategic armed forces.
Under the rules of the START treaty, which expired last December, the Russians were required to routinely furnish
Nothing Has Happened
"It is clear to us that missile defense is an extremely sensitive issue in Russian-American relations," concedes John Beyrle,
But nothing has happened --
The Kremlin -- and this is the second reason behind
The problem of American missile defense has to be closely tied to that of Russian offensive weapons, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said in a recent speech in the Pacific coastal city of
This is no easy task for
It is doubtful, however, that the Kremlin is spending enough money to bring its already deficient missile units up to date. Indeed, it is partly for this reason that
Although the details have already been worked out, the treaty is still not ready to be signed. The Kremlin wants it to include a ban on the further expansion of missile defense.
The Russian parliament is threatening to not ratify the treaty if the
Given such circumstances, the proposal by former German Defense Minister Volker Rühe and three other military and political leaders comes at an opportune time. According to Rühe, the basis for the Russians' feeling of being threatened by the West should be eliminated once and for all. The only solution, he says, is to bring Moscow into NATO. For Rühe, trust can only be established if Americans and Europeans finally put their cards on the table when dealing with the Russians.
Rühe's appeal sounds surprising, and yet it makes sense from a European perspective. There is only one hitch: Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov has always dismissed the notion of a Russian NATO membership as a "fantasy." He also doesn't believe that
Madeleine Albright, secretary of state under former President Bill Clinton and currently involved in the development of a new NATO strategic concept, has only nurtured Lavrov's skepticism. Washington, she says, will never allow
Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan
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