Monday, April 12, 2010

Defense: START Treaty triggers development of Non-Nuclear Arms

Moscow and Washington have finally signed the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The previous treaty expired in December 2009, while the new one had not been signed. Russia believed that the decision on offensive arms implied the regulation of defensive arms, whereas the USA believed that there was no such a necessity.

It is an open secret that the United States plans to deploy elements of the national missile defense system in Eastern Europe – in Romania and probably Bulgaria. A battery of US Patriot missiles is about to appear in Poland. Russia was extremely concerned about such a perspective. It was rumored that the signing of the new strategic arms reduction treaty would be delayed indefinitely.

The terms of the new document had been coordinated by the end of March. Russia and the USA undertook to cut their offensive arsenals and not to deploy them on the territories of third countries during the forthcoming seven years. Russia and the USA will be allowed to have not more than 700 carriers of nuclear arms, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, sea-based ballistic missiles and strategic bombers.

Russia Today: US makes small steps limiting its right for nuclear strike

The total number of warheads will be cut from 2,200 to 1,550. Russian Defense Ministry officials said that the new specifications preserved the combat readiness of strategic nuclear forces in case of aggression.

Leonid Ivashov, the President of the Academy for Geopolitical Problems, said in an interview with Pravda.Ru that Russia had not succumbed to the pressure from the United States.

“First of all, we’ve managed to get rid of the US control over the production of our ballistic missiles. They could even trace the movement of mobile missile complexes. We could not make the Americans suspend the development of their missile defense system. However, Russia will have a right to pull out from the treaty in case it finds the system threatening,” the specialist said.

As for the issue of the strategic arms reduction and the missile defense system, the document states that these arms are interconnected. However, the document does not regulate the missile defense system and its components.

Russia and the USA have a right to pull out from the treaty in case the parties see a threat to their security interests.

The new document expires in ten years. It will come into effect after it is ratified by the US Congress and the Russian Federal Assembly.

It is worthy of note that the USA unveiled the new nuclear doctrine on April 6. In accordance with the new doctrine, Washington will not increase the nuclear potential since the US administration sees the main threat coming from international terrorism.

The States will instead develop non-nuclear arms, including the missile defense system. Observers say that the USA already has powerful conventional armed forces which can show adequate resistance to aggressors without the use of nuclear strikes. Washington will be strengthening its strategic non-nuclear arms to be able to strike any target in any part of the world from the US territory. The perspective to create a new generation of such arms gives the US administration an opportunity to set forth nuclear disarmament initiatives.

The new nuclear strategy of the United States proclaims the need to cooperate with other nuclear powers in the struggle against common threats.

Sergey Balmasov
Vadim Trukhachev

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