Obama’s Fraudulent Nuclear Gambit with Russia

Defense policy expert Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:

As they say in Italy, a little fish is better than a big cockroach. This also applies to the New START agreement that Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed Thursday. Despite all the hyped-up rhetoric that the treaty is “historic,” in the end the nuclear arsenals of both sides will be reduced by only 100 to 200 deployed warheads.

Unlike other treaties between the two countries that were truly historic — such as the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in which an entire category of weapons was destroyed — the only warheads that will be destroyed under the New START are those that will be decommissioned and were scheduled to be destroyed anyway. All other warheads exceeding the 1,550 limit imposed by the treaty will be stored in military warehouses.

Moreover, the treaty gives the United States the right to refit strategic delivery vehicles with high-precision conventional weapons. Top on the U.S. priority list for refitting are B-1B strategic bombers and four Trident nuclear submarines.

One of the more curious points of the treaty that the Russian side insisted on is that U.S. missile defense interceptors stationed in Europe or on the seas bordering Russia would not be refitted to become offensive systems. Generals and politicians dreamed up this scenario a few years ago to scare Russians and mobilize public opinion against the United States and NATO. According to their fantasy, the treacherous Americans are secretly outfitting interceptors in Europe with nuclear warheads to bring Russia to its knees.

This makes great science fiction except for one problem: Because of their heavy weight and other factors, nuclear warheads cannot be installed on current interceptors. Moreover, converting interceptors into offensive nuclear weapons would require dozens of test launches. If these launches had taken place, they would have been easily caught by surveillance, and we would have heard about them a long time ago fr om journalists, politicians and military analysts from all over the world.

Since the notion of converting interceptors to offensive weapons is complete rubbish, is was easy for U.S. negotiators to concede to the Russians on this issue by including the conversion prohibition in the agreement.

Washington decided that the best way to give the “reset” a real boost would be to conclude a nuclear arms reduction treaty with Moscow — the only area in which Russia still enjoys parity with the United States. During the Cold War, “parity” was defined in terms of an equal number and quality of nuclear warheads and delivery vehicles. But when the Cold War ended, this definition changed significantly. Now — at least from the U.S. perspective — U.S.-Russian nuclear parity is understood to mean Russia’s ability to inflict unacceptable damage to the United States in the form of a retaliatory nuclear strike. Since U.S. strategic missile defense, which consists of only 30 interceptors in Alaska and California, is no threat whatsoever to Russia’s strategic forces and its ability to deliver a retaliatory nuclear strike, Moscow has no problem at all maintaining nuclear parity with Washington. Unfortunately, Russia still adheres to the old Cold War definition of parity and to the notion that the United States is capable of delivering a first nuclear strike against Russia, regardless of the consequences. This anachronistic thinking was seen in the conditions Russia put forward, turning much of the negotiations into a laughable parody of the Cold War.

There may very well be a second act of this parody. The treaty must be ratified by the U.S. Senate, wh ere it faces strong Republican opposition. It will take a minimum of  six to 12 months to ratify the treaty in the Senate because of all the horse-trading and debate that will take place between Republicans and Democrats. In the U.S. Congress, there is a real opposition, while in the State Duma there is only a cheap imitation of it. But if Mevdevev wants simultaneous ratification, the Duma may have to simulate a discussion and debate about the New START and drag it out for months.

To most people, this will look like a parody of debate. After all, everyone knows that the Duma is not a place for discussion.

13 responses to “Obama’s Fraudulent Nuclear Gambit with Russia

  1. Under no circumstances do you make deals with the Russians. We should be constantly expanding our capability.

  2. I wonder if Richard Nixon would agree with you,

  3. Ron:
    “Under no circumstances do you make deals with the Russians. We should be constantly expanding our capability.”
    —————————————————

    Right you are, Ron.
    Russia still remains the only nation in the world capable to make cockroaches the only residents of the United States of America in 24 minutes.
    Something must be done about all this as soon as possible. None is willing to be a roach or a bug.
    :-)

    “Carthago Delenda Est!”
    — Marcus Porcius Cato

    P.S. —
    The only problem as I see it is all the Ruskies (99%) know it since the age of 10. Putin and Medvedev are in that happy number. The has US missed a grand chance of a lifetime with Russia in the Eltzin era.
    The train’s long gone.

  4. “Russia still remains the only nation in the world capable to make cockroaches the only residents of the United States of America in 24 minutes.”

    If the russki rockets only work (the world famous Russian “quality”, you know). Or even if they did…they might, as well, explode 24 minutes too early …making cockroaches the only residents of Russia in stead.

  5. Dixi:

    ————————
    It goes without saying but I do wish you never had a chance to make a quility check on Russian 24 minutes delivery capability in the American sky.
    And one last comment if I may to be on the safe side: ask American astranauts about “the famous Russian quality”, they must know better, or make a Google search on your own on the exact number of annual launches from the Russian soil.

  6. As they say in Italy, a little fish is better than a big cockroach. This also applies to the New START agreement that Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed Thursday… the nuclear arsenals of both sides will be reduced by only 100 to 200 deployed warheads.

    Exactly. The little fish of reducing 100 to 200 deployed warheads is better than the big cockroach of increasing warheads. Well said.

  7. “And one last comment if I may to be on the safe side: ask American astranauts about “the famous Russian quality”, they must know better, or make a Google search on your own on the exact number of annual launches from the Russian soil.”

    Well, nowadays almost any nation launches rockets and satellites into space. But I was talking about launching rockets+nuclear detoniations successfully (not, for example, exploding before due time). Google didn’t help in this. And talking about Russian “quality” both of us surely knows what I meant…

  8. Dixi:
    “Well, nowadays almost any nation launches rockets and satellites into space. But I was talking about launching rockets+nuclear detoniations successfully (not, for example, exploding before due time). Google didn’t help in this. And talking about Russian “quality” both of us surely knows what I meant…”
    —————————

    On my part I meant this.

  9. Dixi wrote: “Well, nowadays almost any nation launches rockets and satellites into space.

    I don’t think that’s true. The number of nations that have sent their own satellites into space, is quite limited.

    But I was talking about launching rockets+nuclear detoniations successfully

    Exactly right. And there is only one nation in the World in recent years that has been successful and consistent: Russia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Shuttle_Columbia_disaster

    The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster occurred on February 1, 2003, when the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere, with the loss of all seven crew members

    Space Shuttle flight operations were delayed for two years by the disaster, similar to the Challenger disaster. For 29 months the station relied entirely on the Russian Federal Space Agency for resupply and crew rotation

    ————————

    http://www.space-travel.com/reports/The_US_Has_No_Option_But_To_Use_Russia_Soyuz_Craft_999.html

    The US Has No Option But To Use Russia’s Soyuz Craft

    After 2010, the United States will likely be unable to deliver its astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) on its own. For several years Russia’s Soyuz craft will remain the only vehicle available to do that, and the U.S. may find it hard to do without Russian cooperation.

    The American concern has not a leg to stand on: Russia has always been noted for the scrupulous observance of its commitments. It never broke them even during the Cold War.

    If worst comes to worst, Russia and the European Space Agency could together run the ISS without American participation. Aside from Russia’s facilities for transporting astronauts and supplies to the station, the European Automated Transfer Vehicle – Advanced Return Vehicle (ATV-ARV) system could chip in. Russia and the ESA are also working jointly on a manned transport system expected to be developed by 2015.

    According to Vladimir Solovyov, flight director for the Russian segment, ISS systems are already capable of supporting a six-member crew, and in the future with new Russian modules, of bringing it to 10-member strength.

  10. Oh, one successful launch means any launch+nuclear detoniation will succeed? By the way, when I visit any consumer electronics retailer or domestic appliance retailer or any other retailer in my home town I never find any Russian products on shelves. And I live in a country whose one of the biggest trade partners is, guess what, Russia! If a country with 140 billion people is so “exhausted” after having built a bunch of missile war heads and rockets that it can offer no other “technical goods” on world market besides that, it is downright absurd copy paste some dim films etc. to prove how comparable Russia is with the US or any other advanced nation technologically (including its capacity to launch a nuclear weapon successfully without destroying itself at the same).

    Or maybe an anecdote explains my point better. I remember when Mathias Rust flew from Helsinki to Red Square beside the Moscow Kremlin, the world was chocked. How on earth, a 19-year-old West German amateur pilot was able to fool the whole Russian air surveillance and to humiliate the entire superpower by landing in its very heart without even a single person of the “great red army” noticed anything? Well, this was the Western point of view. My friend’s Russian step-mother knew better: “I guess they were just celebrating one of the many Red Army honorary days and, of course, the entire army was drunk as a cuckoo”.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m afraid of Russian nuclear weapons. Actually, I’m terrified, because of a double risk of living in a country next to Russia. The Russian cocktail, i.e., combination of nuclear weapons+russian “quality”+many army honorary days+vodka means that even a Russian first strike might as well explode right on our eyes. That is, the Russian nuclear deterrence is as even greater risk for the Russians themselves (and for all of us living next to) than for North America. Thanks to the well known concept of Russian “quality” (in its wider sense including even army honoraty days+vodka)…

  11. “140 billion people ”

    Even though a great nation, not that GREAT, i.e.
    , I meant 140 million, of course.

    Sorry for that (a honorary day…).

  12. Dixi,

    You have just presented a brilliant idea for the Russian strategic forces. Since the quality of Russian rockets is far beyond any critisim I would stronly advise our ruskie tovarichi to switch all their launchers to the automatic mode to let Americans and all their European vassals sleep tight.
    They say “Made in Russia” microchips outdated 20 years ago and might be triggered on their own alert at any moment.

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