The United States has refused Russian offers to discuss Washington's missile defense program, said Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov. He made this statement at the Shangri-La Dialogue 15th Asia Security Summit on June 5. “We have offered them cooperation many times and found ways we could solve the situation... But we did not manage to convince them to continue dialogue on this issue. As I understand it, now is not the best time for them to hold consultations,” Antonov stated.
The official emphasized that the US-backed project was creating problems for both Russia and China, complaining that Moscow had many times called on the United States to rethink its plans. “It is very dangerous when one country secures its own security at the expense of other countries’ security,” he added.
Mr Antonov has raised a burning issue that negatively affects the security agenda. Actually, Russia has put forward a number of proposals related to cooperation with the US in the field of missile defense making conditional the right of joint decision over the configuration and parameters of the system, as well as international legal guarantees that the system will not undermine Russia’s nuclear potential. It has also come up with the initiative on introduction of sectoral missile defense, in which the Russian armed forces would take responsibility for the defence of NATO’s eastern region.
All these proposals have been rejected.
The ballistic missile defense (BMD) is a step to a new arms race, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on May 13, vowing to adjust budget spending to neutralize “emerging threats” to Russia. “Until now, those taking such decisions have lived in calm, fairly well-off and in safety. Now, as these elements of ballistic missile defense are deployed, we are forced to think how to neutralize emerging threats to the Russian Federation,” he stated.
The President emphasized that Russia would not be drawn into an arms race, but would continue re-arming its army and navy and spend the approved funds in a way that would uphold the current strategic balance of forces.
The United States abandoned the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM) in 2002 to greatly complicate further arms control talks. The document had been the cornerstone of the strategic weapon limitation process for the previous thirty years. The US has created a problem of BMD sites located in Romania (already operational) and Poland (to enter service in 2018) – all in the vicinity of Russian border. The United States is deploying BMD elements in Japan. The plans to deploy the THAAD in South Korea have been announced recently.
Despite Russian objections, Washington has refused to limit its BMD effort either by creating a joint system or by accepting legally binding commitments to demonstrate that the system will not be aimed at Russia. The BMD deployment is dashing the hopes for achieving progress in nuclear disarmament talks.
Russian and US views differ substantially on the issue of compliance with arms control and nuclear arms reduction agreements. The crisis of arms control is both multifaceted and comprehensive. It’s not the BMD only.
The US has not ratified the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) almost two decades after negotiations concluded. For the foreseeable future, there is little prospect of the United States accepting new obligations.
It is highly unlikely that Russia and the United States would agree to further nuclear cuts below the ceilings agreed upon in the START-3 treaty.
Substrategic weapons are another serious problem with no prospect for a solution in the foreseeable future. There is a slight chance they would be included into the bilateral arms control agenda. Russia considers US forward-based tactical nuclear weapons deployed in Europe as an addition to the American strategic arsenal that is capable of striking deep into Russian territory. Moscow has, therefore, demanded that the United States withdraw these weapons (about 200 air-dropped gravity bombs in the process of being upgraded) from Europe as a precondition to any possible discussions on the issue. This an extremely complicated aspect of arms control kept out of nuclear security discourse.
Furthermore, the United States enjoys a lead in long-range offensive non-nuclear weapons.
New conventional long-range high-precision systems significantly complicate estimates of strategic balance and calculations of the sufficiency of deterrent forces. They will create even greater problems for arms control negotiations and could even jeopardize the INF Treaty and New START (START-3).
Add to it the expansion of NATO, the worldwide and regional destabilization, the buildup of military infrastructure around Russia, the implementation of the Prompt Global Strike concept and the militarization of outer space.
In late March, Washington made a decision to deploy an armored brigade in Europe starting from 2017 fiscal year adding to the forces deployed on rotational principle for increased number of exercises and storage of pre-positioned equipment for would-be reinforcements.
On June 5, first deputy chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Defense and Security Committee Franz Klinzewitsch said that NATO prepares a base for a global strike against Russia by deploying troops on the former Soviet military bases in Europe. “They have many serious plans within the concept of the so-called global strike. NATO restores our old Soviet bases in Baltic, Romania, Poland, stations people there,” the lawmaker pointed out.
Two key agreements between Russia and the United States to limit offensive nuclear weapons – the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-3) and the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty – are still in force, but their future is in doubt. For instance, the US has recently accused Russia of violating the INF.
The statements have so far failed to specify which exactly weapons system allegedly violates the treaty’s provisions.
At the same time, the deployment in Romania and Poland of Mk-41 Aegis Ashore launchers capable of firing ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) is an outright violation of the INF.
The United States has blatantly violated the uranium disposal deal – another major arms control agreement.
Virtually all negotiations on arms control have been stalled with existing treaties eroded. It was one of the reasons President Putin skipped the Washington Nuclear Summit in March.
The global prospects for the future are dim. Third countries refuse to join the process of nuclear disarmament without further progress on nuclear arms reductions by Russia and the US.
Since George Bush Jr. days, the United States has been taking one decision after another to undermine the arms control regime that has served as a pillar of international security for dozens of years. For the foreseeable future, there is little prospect of the US accepting new obligations. Its credibility as a reliable partner is shaken.
For over half a century since the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963, the international binding framework has limited the nuclear potentials. This period of history appears to be nearing its end. Nearly all negotiations on nuclear arms reduction have come to a stop. With the Cold War ended over a quarter of a century ago, the whole arms control process is on the verge of disintegration. The continuation of US missile defense efforts leads to the quagmire of uncontrolled arms race. The refusal of the US to discuss the BMD plans confirms this fact.