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Monday, February 7, 2011

Russia "Unexpectedly" Objects To U.S. Missile Defense

I posted numerous times before about the alleged ambiguity in the New START Treaty language regarding missile defense, and how in the rush for a lame duck, pre-Christmas ratification, the Senate ignored differences in interpretation rather than seek clarification from the Russians.

The Russians consistently had voiced objection to U.S. interpretations, including from the White House and Congress, that certain treaty language did not cover missile defense.  The Russians also took upon themelves the interpretation that the construction of U.S. missile defenses, even if not banned by the treaty, would be cause for the Russians to withdraw.

Now that the treay has  been ratified by both countries, the Russians again are objecting to U.S. missile defense plans and threatening to withdraw:
Russia sees the planned U.S. missile defense system as a potential threat to its nuclear forces and may review its participation in a landmark nuclear arms treaty, officials said Monday.

The New START deal, the centerpiece of Barack Obama's efforts to reset ties with Russia and the most significant arms control pact in nearly two decades, took effect last week. It limits each country to 1,550 strategic warheads, down from the current ceiling of 2,200.

The treaty doesn't prevent the U.S. from building new missile defense systems, but Russia has warned that it reserves the right to withdraw from the treaty if the United States significantly boosts its missile shield.

Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov reaffirmed Monday that a buildup in the U.S. missile defense capability would prompt Moscow re-consider its obligations under the New START treaty.

"If the U.S. increases the qualitative and quantitative potential of its missile defense ... a question will arise whether Russia should further abide by the treaty or would have to take other measures to respond to the situation, including military-technical measures," Ryabkov said, according to Russian news agencies.
Oh, and remember how criticisms that the treaty did not cover short-range nukes, in which the Russians have an overwhelming advantage, were rebuffed with assurances that there would be more negotiations? 

This was important because the treaty covered only long-range nukes in which the U.S. had an advantage (and as the Russian Defense Minister has noted, only the U.S. will be cutting its long-range stockpiles since the Russians do not have enough operational long-range weapons even to reach treaty limits).

Not going to happen any time soon in part because of the missile shield issue:
A top Russian foreign ministry official said Monday that Moscow was aware of Washington's desire to start a new round of short-range missile reduction talks this year.

But he said such talks could only go ahead once Washington reconsidered its plans for a new missile defence shield for Europe and its desire to place weapons in space.

"We have taken note of the US president's position, which seeks to put a time frame on the start of tactical nuclear missile negotiations," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said.

But we should put the emphasis on the word 'seeks'," the Russian official said

"We are not avoiding these talks. But talks about tactical nuclear missiles are impossible without a set of other issues: an imbalance of conventional forces, missile defence, and the deployment of arms in space," he said.
Related Posts:
How WikiLeaks Distorts - The British Nuke Controversy Example
Why Is The Russian Defense Minister Smiling?

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  1. To steal a line from P.J. O'Rourke. "It's like doing real estate transactions with your dog: "Beachfront? You don't want beachfront property, Fido. I have a great piece of land next to the city dump, chicken bones and rats galore. I'll trade you straight up".

  2. When I was growing up, America's enemy was the USSR. Now, it would seem, America's enemy is our elected officials in Washington.

    The Russians must be laughing themselves silly at our situation.

  3. So, withdraw ...

    Does anybody think Russia is an enemy of the USA? I mean, how many working weapons do they have?

  4. Not this but the Palin administration to come will be willing and able to bell the cat. START is an epic fail for thinking like a mouse.

  5. The Russians know there's an election coming and Obama will need another treaty to burnish his foreign policy cred. So they want our store to be given away, in advance, so that we will be locked into a very bad situation by the time a new President has been elected.
    BTW isn't it funny how all those stupid conservatives who claim that such and such liberal legislation and treaties will lead to such and such results, are proven true, but those liberal democraps (redundant) and RINOs who claim the opposite, are proven false time and again? Funny how that works.

  6. The damage Commander Zero is doing is starting to be of such a severity that it cannot be undone.

    These buffoons are turning out to be even worse than I feared. But what's really disturbing is that the voters in this country seem to think it's OK to hang in there with this bunch, at least according to the polling I've seen. If the American people haven't learned their lesson by now we are doomed.

  7. At what point does 'clear and present danger' apply to the w0n?

    What are impeachable grounds to save our republic?