Exposing Russia’s Nuclear-Arms Hypocrisy
by “Dominic X”
Original to La Russophobe
Although the Russian media put out anti-western propaganda and disinformation on a regular basis, I thought that a particular article from RIA Novosti deserved some special analysis. The article is dated 6th of May and is still to my knowledge a leading article and unfortunately has been linked to by USA Today and others. Wikipedia describes RIA Novosti as “one of the most authoritative and professional sources of information in Russia”, which does not say much for the rest of them.
The article is by one Yevgeny Kozhokhin, who turns out to be director of Moscow’s “Strategic Studies Institute.” Perhaps I am cynical, but I think it is a safe bet that that institute is an arm of government, unlike its western counterparts. Incidentally, when I googled him I found the quote “in the modern world Russia’s objective of ensuring a conflict-free environment can often only be achieved by offensive means” – obviously trying to out-do the American neocons.
The article follows in ordinary print,with my comments in boldface.
Treaty with Obama:
Will Moscow want to Seal Strategic Imbalance?
On May 7, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss strategic offensive arms. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that in the second and third week of May, the two sides will hold the first round of full-scale talks on signing a new treaty on strategic offensive arms. At their forthcoming summit, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama will focus on the same subject. The intensity of the negotiating process will grow as December 5 approaches, the date when the 1991 Soviet-U.S. treaty on strategic offensive arms expires. There is very little time left for the drafting of a new document, which is designed to become a cornerstone of the international security system.
Who needs this treaty and why? What it should be all about?
Even in the late 1980s-early 1990s, when the Soviet Union was hit by a severe crisis
and conducted a policy very favorable for the United States.
I don’t think Russia’s weakness was part of its policy
Washington was upgrading its nuclear missile potential, and quickly increasing a tentative gap in the military potentialities of the two countries.
In fact the U.S. nuclear program was heavily curtailed, reducing its stockpile by half by the mid-1990s.
In 1991, U.S. national security strategy was built on the premise that modernization of ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, strategic bombers, and nuclear submarines would be vital for deterrence in the 21st century.
Its strategy was not “built” on nuclear weapons, but neither did it want unilateral nuclear disarmament.
Later on, despite statements about U.S.-Russian strategic partnership, and the signing of the NATO-Russia Founding Act of May 1997, the need to keep U.S. nuclear forces in Europe was continuously justified by the argument that Russia would remain a strategically “unknown quantity”
I think can be forgiven for suggesting that Russia in the ‘90s was an unknown quantity!
even if it further reduced its nuclear potential.
(in parallel with the US)
In real policy, the Russian nuclear capacity was viewed as a potential threat, although in principle it could never be materialized.
R&D in the United States, and military operations in Yugoslavia and Iraq produced a fundamental change in its defense policy. Throughout the 1990s, the United States was consistently modernizing its nuclear triad, while deploying theater missile defense systems (TMD).
He doesn’t give any examples of such deployments.
In effect, it was the Bill Clinton administration that embarked on the formation of a limited missile defense system in violation of the 1972 ABM Treaty.
He offers no evidence for that, whereas the Soviet Union did violate that treaty with its phased array radar system near Krasnoyarsk. But surely the most shocking violation of any international arms treaty was the Soviet Union and subsequently Russia’s massive and strenuous development of biological weapons after signing the biological weapons convention in 1975. See this and this.
However, reluctant to antagonize Russia and China, Washington suggested differentiation between the national missile defense system and TMD. At that time, the 1972 ABM Treaty was still being viewed as a major instrument for maintaining strategic stability. The team, which came to power under George W. Bush, openly proceeded from the premise that arms control agreements were good as long as they defended U.S. national interests.
Presumably he is referring to the fact that they thought the ABM treaty was outdated.
Neoconservatives were ready to waste no time in creating absolute security for the United States without thinking about the reaction of other key international players. Withdrawal from the 1972 ABM Treaty signified a switch to the testing and deployment of a global missile defense system, with a view to fully removing the deterrent potential of China, and partially that of Russia.
Obviously nonsense (see below).
In the aggregate military potential, the United States had already exceeded all other countries,
He is talking about nuclear capability but is not keen to let it be known that USSR/Russia has had more nuclear weapons than the US, both stockpiled and deployed since the late 1979’s. See this and this and this and this
but Washington was still trying to eliminate international legal restrictions on the formation of a system, which would theoretically make it invulnerable towards an act of retaliation, and even a launch-under-attack strike.
See below about just how big this lie is.
Washington’s stubborn refusal to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty testified to its intention to continue developing fundamentally new nuclear warheads without international legal restrictions.
Only the Bush administration found technical reasons for refusal. The present government is committed to ratification. In any case, the US has not conducted a nuclear test since it signed the treaty in 1996.
Today, it continues to upgrade them through simulations of nuclear explosions on a computer.
Why should it be prevented from carrying out computer simulations any more than Russia should?
For this purpose, the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is going to place an order for a supercomputer, which can carry out 20,000 trillion operations per second. This, the world’s fastest computer, is designed for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
The computer he is talking about will be 10 to 15 times as powerful as any existing supercomputer and is not for nuclear weapons design .
The United States is trying to integrate into its missile defense system interceptor missiles and radars, which have or are being deployed on the ground and on ships all over the world – from Alaska and California to Japan, Britain, Norway, and Poland. Since 2005, it has conducted a series of tests of its missile interceptors – out of 27 launches, only one was a failure.
OK we feel sorry for Russia’s bad score.
Full-scale deployment of a missile defense system in Alaska and California will cover about 90% of U.S. territory. If such a system is stationed in five or six regions, the ratio between the Russian and American nuclear potentials will be one to 10, or even one to 15 in favor of U.S., depending on its configuration.
Now he is getting into the realms of pure fantasy! It is easy to forget that the US has consistently stated that the missile defense shield is purely for protection from rogue states like Iran and North Korea, so all this talk about intentions to totally neutralise the nuclear capabilities of Russia and China etc. is nothing but baseless allegations.
And why should the US be believed? Consider, for instance that the current estimate of deployed strategic Russian nuclear weapons from the FAS is 2790. You don’t have to be a genius to work out that even in the wildly fantastic scenario that the system could detect and intercept all of the different weapons systems (including MIRVed) it would need an absolute bare minimum of 2790 missiles. With a little more thought, it is pretty obvious that, even if the system was orders of magnitude bigger than what is proposed, it could never be enough to certain to prevent the deaths of millions of US citizens, and if he thinks that the US would contemplate this, he is trying to tar Obama with Stalin’s brush. On the other hand it is entirely believable that the proposed system could very significantly reduce the threats from isolated launches by North Korea or Iran. And how many missiles are proposed to be deployed in central Europe? Ten.
When a draft budget was endorsed for the new fiscal year last fall, the Pentagon and the White House seemed to have proceeded from the premise that the United States can afford to further increase its military appropriations. This was done with the support of the Democrats who already had a majority in the Senate and the House.
In reality, under the circumstances these military appropriations should be reduced, and during the next fiscal year President Barack Obama may even encroach on the expenses designed for the further development of the missile defense system. Disarmament initiatives addressed to Russia may be accompanied by the revision of the missile defense deployment strategy. Probably, Washington will again lay more emphasis on R&D and improvement of ballistic missile interceptors.
The impression that Washington is giving up its missile defense project will be no more than an illusion.
Who gave him that impression?
This is clear from statements made by Obama himself, not to mention members of his team. At the international conference in Munich last February, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden said that the United States would continue developing its missile defense system to counteract Iran’s growing potentialities. On April 5, Obama repeated this point, saying that America will continue implementing its missile defense program, which has proved its effectiveness, as long as the threat from Iran exists.
I think they both said provided it is appropriate and cost-effective.
Now Washington is revising the prospects, costs, and possibly some technical parameters of its missile defense system. It wants to use this time for pause for conducting talks
(He is insinuating that the latest arms control initiatives by the US are a result of the credit crisis!)
and legally sealing the established strategic imbalance of forces,
(in who’s favour?)
and for suggesting a system of verifications, which would help its clandestine intelligence.
OK now he is sounding like Saddam Hussein or Ahmedinajad. If he is against proper verification on the grounds that it gives away secrets, he is against the principle of arms control.
It also wants to carry out space and airborne reconnaissance to identify as precisely as possible the potential of Russian nuclear forces and opportunities of their development.
Whatever means are necessary for the system to be fair.
A considerable part of the Russian ruling class is oriented towards co-operation with the United States
Obviously he would like to “change the brains” of that minority
- and the Russian leaders cannot ignore this factor. At the same time, there is an obvious link between offensive and defensive armaments; this fact was introduced at Russia’s initiative into the Joint Statement by President Dmitry Medvedev of the Russian Federation and President Barack Obama of the United States of America. The two sides are in for complicated, and, most likely, lengthy talks.
It is not only Russia which is interested in the signing of documents to promote long-term stability rather than in sealing a prospect of weakening one of the sides. This will benefit the whole world, or at least all those countries, which are devoted to freedom in international relations.
Yevgeny Kozhokhin, Ph.D (History), is a professor at Moscow State University.
Note that RIAN adds the following disclaimer:
“The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.”
Does that mean then that RIA Novosti doesn’t necessarily agree with the Kremlin? Sonds like treason! In reality of course they speak with one voice, the deceitful voice of Russia.
What is really striking is the contrast between the impression that the article tries to give, that because of its “deceipt” and “warlike nature” The United States has succeeded in tricking poor honest Russia into being unfairly deficient in nuclear weapons…and on the other hand the endless regular trumpeting in RIAN as in most other Russian media outlets about the the splendour and the awesome might of Russian weapons systems and military technology, for instance:
Another article this one suggesting that even the Topol M (not the latest) “is said to be immune to any current and future U.S. missile defenses”
New RS-24 ICBM which they say is designed specifically in response to the proposed US missile shield in central Europe and are believed by gullible westerners. But it is a bit rich to suggest that they need to deploy new offensive missiles in response to a proposal for defensive ones – and they intend to deploy 100 of them.
In case you thought that they did not possess effective missiles against theatre missiles, see this. Or even newer longer range anti-missile missiles. And they are working hard on the S-500.And how many people know that Russia has the world’s only operational ABM system, the A-135 system (allowed under the ABM Treaty)? Unlike the new American missiles, which work on a hit-to-kill basis, not using any warheads, they each carry a nuclear warhead.
When we consider Russian allegations of cheating, it is worth seeing this report on hidden missiles in the Soviet period. The Russians have always been very good at concealment of massive military facilities like this complex which they were still working hard on in the ‘90s. And then there is the world’s biggest underground military city: Krasnoyarsk 26
It is also easy to forget when reading the article, that Russia is not an economic superpower. Its GDP is equivalent to that of the UK i.e. 15% of that of the US even in purchasing power and less still in dollar terms, and yet we are supposed to take as an axiom that Russia should be able to keep and update its massive nuclear stockpile to make it at least as powerful as the US.
Please in future, dear reader don’t take Russian articles like this one as seriously as USA Today did.