The us Congress intends to block the extension of the strategic arms reduction Treaty (start-3) until the administration of President Donald Trump agrees to include a provision that does not allow Russia and China to expand their nuclear arsenals. The relevant bill, according to The Washington Free Beacon, submitted to the American legislators.
The publication notes that the document is intended to “limit the financing of any extension of the new start-3 or any subsequent agreement, if it does not include the People’s Republic of China, and if it does not cover all strategic and non-strategic nuclear weapons of the Russian Federation.”
It turns out that the congressmen are concerned that China, not being a party to this Treaty, too actively, in their opinion, is increasing its nuclear Arsenal, while the US is reducing its own. Russia, however, they reproach that it creates Intercontinental ballistic missiles, which are equipped with nuclear warheads and cruise missiles with nuclear power plants.
In this regard, the authors of the document consider it necessary, in the course of negotiations on future arms control agreements, to “take into account existing threats” in order to ensure the “protection of national interests” of the United States.
Here it will be appropriate to recall that the extension of the start-3 Treaty was just one of the Central themes in the negotiations with us Secretary of state Mike Pompeo, which took place in Sochi on May 14. Moreover, it was discussed not only at the level of the tandem of Foreign Ministers of the two countries — Pompeo-laurels. But at the meeting of the head of the American state Department and Russian President Vladimir Mutineer, except for representations Pompeo in the interest of Washington in this dialogue, to something concrete, apparently failed to agree. In any case, as follows from the statement of the assistant to the head of the Russian state Yury Ushakov, Russia will take “all necessary measures to ensure its own security” if the US “does not determine its position on the extension of start-3”, which expires in February 2021.
The confusion in the discussion of the future of this bilateral agreement was introduced by Trump, who recently said that China allegedly also wanted to become part of the future nuclear deal between the US and Russia. And he even discussed this issue with Chinese partners in the course of trade negotiations. But Beijing, as it turned out later, is not aware of the plans of the American President. And the official representative of the Chinese foreign Ministry Geng Shuang had to make it clear to Washington that China will not participate in any negotiations on a trilateral deal.
Meanwhile, the Russian leadership has repeatedly stated its interest in the extension of the Treaty on strategic offensive weapons. The latter, in fact, the document restraining the nuclear arms race.
But, as recently noted by the Press Secretary of President Dmitry Peskov, “some work in this area is impossible without determining the position of the United States.” A clear understanding of whether Washington is ready to discuss the extension of start-3 and in what form, he said, yet.
So, in fact, will the start-3 Treaty eventually be restarted, and in what format? And how much do we benefit from such a “reset”?
These and other questions “SP” addressed to the leading expert of the Center for military and political research MGIMO, doctor of political Sciences Mikhail Alexandrov:
— My opinion is that we do not need any agreements with the United States on arms control. Therefore, it is very good that us Congress prevents the extension of the agreement.
I must say that we have lived well for many years without any agreements with the United States. In General, when the United States was not — Russia felt fine. But the fashion for an agreement with Washington was just a consequence of a certain pacifist line in the Russian leadership and pressure from supporters of convergence with the West. This line eventually led to the collapse of the Socialist Commonwealth, the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union itself.
Because, as practice shows, any agreements with the Americans lead only to some concessions and create inconvenience for themselves. And the benefits are usually questionable. And sometimes we even incur additional costs.
Here take, at least, the nuclear triad… We were Austinville in the start-3 the limit on Maritime carriers. And these carriers should develop under the contract. And we cannot increase the number of ground carriers. And it would be more profitable for us to increase the number of land carriers. It’s cheaper for us.
And why do we compete with them in the number of marine carriers, I ask?
Because, as we can see, they are trying to attract to the Treaty our new weapons — hypersonic, which are high-precision, strategic, non-nuclear weapons. We need these missiles to reach us territory. Because the States can get us out of Europe. And we must have further means to respond to them, if necessary.
We have such weapons now. But, you see, they immediately offer us to limit it all.
In fact, the approach to arms control negotiations, in my view, should be based on two principles.
“SP”: — Explain what?
— First of all, treaties should increase security, not just leave it at the same level. Otherwise, the cost of resources for negotiations is not justified. And, especially – not to reduce the security of Russia, and to increase it. This is the first important criterion. Second — this should lead to significant savings.
If these criteria are not met, we do not need any agreements.
As experience shows (because we have nuclear weapons since 1949, the United States — since 1945), until the seventies, we existed outside the arms control regime, outside the regime of some agreements. And nothing terrible happened.
That is, each country developed its own military program, as it saw fit. And then globalization, pacifism, the West, and convergence pushed us into these agreements. We ended up bankrupt. Sprawled. The Chinese are good in this sense. They are quite right to say: “We do not intend to enter into any agreements. We have our own military program. We are guided by the principle of reasonable sufficiency, and this is enough.” Nevertheless, we have a certain disarmament lobby that constantly oppresses the line that “these agreements are vital to us”. In my opinion, this is a wrong and harmful line that we should not follow.
And it is very good if Congress, so to speak, cuts down this agreement, and it will cease to exist.
“SP”: — trump, in your opinion, is interested in this agreement to be extended? Or he is willing to destroy the start-3 on the vine?
— I think Trump is playing a game with Congress here. Only Congress is a “bad COP.” He’s good.
Trump says he will extend the contract. And Congress is putting forward conditions to force us to make additional concessions that are not beneficial to us. Therefore, we need to say that “we will do without your agreements.”
And my conversations with our military, I confess, confirm the idea that we do not really need this Treaty from the point of view of security. We are able to ensure our security. But the disarmament lobby in Russia has already had enough of its endless proposals for some new, new and new disarmament and arms control measures. It is very similar to the ecological lobby. There are figures that are everywhere, in every detail looking for some kind of environmental problem, start capturing ships, drilling platform… that is, they are obsessed with.
The same can be said about our disarmament lobby. In any other country of the disarmament, the lobby is not like ours.
The absence of arms control treaties must be treated with complete calm. They don’t give much. The main thing is to ensure the security of our country.
And trump, I think, just wants to put us at a disadvantage, so that we make concessions on those types of weapons, which broke forward.
“SP”: — But we are such a question is not satisfied…
We’re not satisfied. But, you see, the disarmament lobby is ready to sacrifice everything just to have some paper with the United States. This has to stop.
Even the President told Shoigu and Lavrov (the whole country was shown the footage of this meeting) that it is not necessary to initiate new negotiations on the topic of disarmament. All the same, we constantly hear from the foreign Ministry some proposals on arms control — contrary to the direct instructions of the President. And why do the States want to include China in the Treaty? After all, there are allies in NATO with nuclear capabilities, which could also be involved in disarmament.
— How can they be allies of the United States, not Russia and China? Americans are interested in the military potential of China. And they do not see threats in the military potential of the UK and France. Therefore, it does not offer to involve them in the contract. Everyone wants to ensure their interests.
The United States is interested to know what China’s real military potential? Because it’s classified information for now. And no one knows how many nuclear warheads Beijing has, where they are located, what technical characteristics they have?
Of course, the Americans may assume, but do not know exactly. And they have no real idea about Chinese capabilities. And the Chinese do not give them such an opportunity. They maintain a window of uncertainty that allows them to achieve the much greater military and political effects for much less money. That is, they can always bluff about the presence of their serious military forces. When, in fact, these forces are not. Or, on the contrary — can hide the presence of serious military forces, when they have them. And at the right time able to use them.
Washington hopes to get transparency from China. Beijing does not want this transparency. And therefore does not want to participate in these negotiations.