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Thread: President Obama seeks Russian deal to slash nuclear weapons

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    Posted on Sun, Sep. 20, 2009
    A bad idea for a photo op

    Obama's chairing the U.N. Security Council will serve only to demean his office.

    Claudia Rosett is journalist-in-residence with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and writes a weekly column for Forbes.com

    President Obama plans to make history Thursday by chairing a special, summit-level meeting of the U.N. Security Council. This will be the first time an American president has done so, and only the fifth time in the United Nations' 64-year history that such a heads-of-state meeting has been convened in that chamber. The focus will be on nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament. The pressure will be strong for Obama to emerge with some sort of substantive outcome that can be hailed as a success.

    Beware. In the matter of making history, there are some things worth doing, such as breaking the racial barrier to the White House or ending the Cold War. And then there are other instances, in which, if something has never been done before, there may be good reasons for not doing it now.
    In the case of chairing the Security Council, there are plenty of reasons a president should not do it, ever. It demeans the U.S. presidency, and there's a big risk it will bind Obama far too intimately to bargains for which America is likely to pay dearly and reap mainly trouble.

    Why would it demean the presidency? The answer has to do with the art of U.N. diplomacy and the nature of the institution itself. When the United Nations was founded in 1945, it was imagined as a noble peace-promoting parliament of all mankind. It has not worked out that way.

    The United Nations holds votes, but it is not a democracy, and it does not cleave to its own lofty charter principles about upholding human dignity. If it did, quite a number of member states, including one of the major founders, Stalin's Soviet Union, would never have been enrolled, and others would have been kicked out years ago (that's never happened).

    In practice, the United Nations is a messy, murky despot-infested collective - opaque, girdled in diplomatic immunities, and thus largely unaccountable for its actions. The biggest voting bloc in the General Assembly is the 130-member G-77, which this year picked for its chair - I'm not kidding - the genocidal government of Sudan (whose President Omar al-Bashir is under indictment by the International Criminal Court).

    The Security Council isn't all that much better. Chairmanship rotates monthly through all 15 members, with no regard for what kind of regimes that might entail. The five permanent members are democratic France, Britain, and the United States, plus despotic Russia and China. The current roster of 10 rotating members includes not only Japan and Austria, but Vietnam and Libya. This month it is America's turn to preside; Obama will sit in the same chair occupied in March by an envoy of Moammar Gadhafi's Libya. With heads of state summoned for Thursday's historic occasion, it's likely history will record the spectacle of terror-drenched tyrant-for-life Gadhafi sharing the table.

    In this setup, the most law-abiding of the 192 member states tend to get stuck with the results of whatever the Security Council agrees to. The most unscrupulous, which account to no electorates back home, feel free to lie as they please and do whatever they can get away with, which is plenty, because the United Nations leaves individual member states to police their own compliance with U.N. deals. From the oil-for-food scandal to the current sanctions-busting traffic with the likes of Iran and North Korea, it is common practice for some Security Council members to violate, with impunity, the same deals they vote for. That goes far to explain why a series of "binding" Security Council resolutions over the last three years imposing sanctions on North Korea and Iran have failed to stop the nuclear programs of Pyongyang or Tehran.

    Sending an envoy to navigate this scene and report to the president has the great advantage of leaving room to maneuver, revise, rethink, defuse, and deny without showcasing the U.S. president as petitioning support from whatever despot has been exalted to swing vote of the season. Even Jimmy Carter was not foolish enough to try the stunt of subbing for his own ambassador at the Security Council.

    As to the results: It's a good bet that Obama will arrive at the table with a precooked deal to whip out as evidence of progress. His ambassador to the U.N., Susan Rice, hinted as much in a briefing earlier this month, saying, "We are consulting with colleagues on a potential product." That puts the pressure squarely on the United States to offer advance concessions, behind the scenes, for Obama's photo-op moment in the chair. Is there any connection here, for instance, with Obama's bid to please Russia by backing away from U.S. plans for a missile shield in Eastern Europe? We don't know, but it's a valid question.

    As for the topics Obama has chosen for the occasion - nonproliferation and disarmament - Rice has announced that the session will not focus on particular countries. There are real, particular crises right now, related to nuclear ventures in North Korea and Iran, both of which badly need disarming. What we are likely to see instead is Obama's hoping to lead by example, with America pursuing its own disarmament, while fellow U.N. members say one thing, do another, and applaud for all the wrong reasons.

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    US to push for UNSC resolution

    S Rajagopalan
    First Published : 20 Sep 2009 02:40:00 AM IST
    Last Updated :

    Washington: In his first visit to the United Nations as US President next week, Barack Obama will chair a summit-level meeting of UN Security Council on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament. Washington expects the meeting to come out with a “meaningful and comprehensive resolution”.

    The summit aims at strengthening the global nuclear non-proliferation regime. “We hope this effort of 15 countries to come together in support of some very important goals and plans will give impetus to the 2010 non-proliferation review conference at the United Nations,” US’s UN envoy Susan Rice told a White House news conference.It will be the first time that an American President will have chaired the UN Security Council, which holds a summit-level meeting only for the fifth time in its history.

    The resolution, still under negotiation, will focus on three broad areas, Rice said. It will seek to reinforce the goal that Obama articulated in Prague some months ago, of a world without nuclear weapons. It will also strengthen the global nuclear non-proliferation regime, without a country-specific focus. Thirdly, it will deal with securing loose nuclear materials.

    Rice spoke of a “very full agenda” for Obama in this first UN outing. He will look forward to underscoring the value of the institution and the work that needs to be done to reform and strengthen it to address 21st century challenges.

    In reply to a question, Rice termed the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and other cold-war era groupings as “outdated and irrelevant” that “don’t serve the national interest of the countries that participate in these blocs”.

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    Getting atomic dominoes to fall one by one

    www.chinaview.cn
    2009-09-21 00:08:27

    By Lucy-Claire Saunders



    UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations chief of disarmament is cautiously optimism that next week's series of high-level meetings on atomic weapons will push world leaders to take committed steps towards nuclear disarmament.

    In a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua, Sergio de Queiroz Duarte said the time is ripe for world leaders to strengthen the international channels that prevent nuclear threats -- their use, sabotage, and proliferation.

    This is a lofty goal to be sure, but one worthy of the 21st Century, said Duarte. Today, atomic weapons, as relics of a Cold War era, are not the tools of deterrence but an embodiment of the threat itself.

    "I can hardly see what use nuclear weapons would have in defending any country's security," he said. "The mere existence of nuclear weapons is a threat to every human being on this planet."

    This week, key events among heads of state will take place at the UN headquarters in New York. In an historic meeting on Sept. 24, U.S. President Barak Obama will chair a special Security Council session to discuss nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation -- the first time a U.S. president has led a Council debate.

    The United States, one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, holds the rotating Council presidency in September.

    Duarte, who has served as the high representative for disarmament affairs since 2007, said it will be only the second time for the 15-nation Council to meet at such a high level in the name of nuclear disarmament.

    "I think it's very timely that this is happening on the initiative of President Obama and I am sure that these will be distinctive, important landmark discussions of the Security Council," he said.

    In part, the special session will provide world leaders the opportunity to reevaluate the meaning of security without relying on atomic weapons, said Duarte.

    "How do you organize (security) in the absence of nuclear weapons?" he asked. "This is why a meeting like this is in the Security Council, because it will set nations to think how they can work towards this goal."

    "I hope that one of the consequences of this meeting will be that nations at the highest level start to think seriously about how they are going to work in order to rid the world of nuclear weapons," he said.

    At the session, leaders are expected to discuss a U.S. drafted resolution that calls on all signatories of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to begin talks on nuclear arms reduction and to negotiate "a treaty on general and complete disarmament."

    Experts have long called the 1970 NPT as being too weak and ineffective to limit the spread of nuclear weapons, which is often wielded as instrument of partisan foreign policy.

    Duarte said next year's NPT review conference will provide the opportunity to strengthen the treaty so long leaders make it work in its three pillars: non-proliferation, nuclear disarmament and peaceful existence.

    "If we have the treaty work on only one of these three aspects, I think we are doomed for failure," he said.

    QUIT TESTING

    On the same day as the special Council session, foreign ministers will begin a two-day meeting in the UN basement to promote the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The treaty will be 13 years old on Sept. 24.

    The CTBT bans all nuclear explosions on Earth, essentially taking the oxygen out of developing new nuclear weapons by forbidding testing.

    The treaty has been signed by 181 nations and ratified by 149.

    Foreign ministers at the CTBT conference are expected to issue a final declaration calling upon countries to ratify the treaty.

    For the first time since 1999, the United States will participate in the conference, led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Though it has the largest number of nuclear weapons in the world, the United States has not ratified the treaty, citing the ability of verify compliance.

    In the last eight years, the U.S. has put in place 39 monitoring stations out of a total of 42, an indication that even during the Bush administration aspects of the CTBT were still being pursued.

    Duarte said he was encouraged by recent signs from the United State, which has shown "increased and renewed interest" in promoting the CTBT's entry into force.

    "We know that this is not an easy process but we are confident that this will prevail at the end and the United States will soon ratify the treaty," he said.

    Executive Secretary of the CTBT implementing agency Tibor Toth told reporters last Friday that countries which had not ratified the treaty had to do some "soul searching."

    "They have to determine whether the treaty is in their best interest or not," he said.

    NO ALTERNATIVE
    To eternal idealists like Duarte, it is in humanity's interest to enjoy a day free from the threat of nuclear weapons.

    Speaking at a reception in the UN Delegates Dining Room last Friday, Duarte said that working towards complete disarmament is not just a "quixotic crusade" for some impractical goal; it is the only logical path to be followed.

    "Nuclear disarmament is not some fanciful, utopian dream," he said. "While difficult to achieve, it offers far more than each of its possible alternatives as a concrete, practical means to avoid any future use of nuclear weapons."

    The alternatives promulgated in the past have been pledges of no-first use, nuclear deterrence, and protective measures like missile defense systems. None of these approaches, said Duarte, have rid the threat or the desire to attain weapons of mass destruction.

    In his speech, Duarte quoted Irish playwright Oscar Wilde, who once said that he could resist anything -- except temptation. It is this constant temptation to acquire bigger and better nuclear warheads that the collective membership of the United Nations must aim to quash.
    Last edited by vector7; September 21st, 2009 at 15:29.

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    “You Americans are so gullible.
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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    September 19, 2009
    Categories: 2009
    The final draft: Obama's UN nukes resolution

    comments (10)

    Arms control takes center stage when President Barack Obama heads to New York this week, becoming the first American president to lead a United Nations Security Council summit on nonproliferation Thursday.

    The U.S. plans to introduce this nonproliferation and disarmament resolution at the meeting. I've posted two earlier working drafts that the U.S. distributed to Security Council members earlier in the week. This draft, dated September 18th, I am told is the final "blue" draft.

    Among the most interesting provisions of the forthcoming U.S. resolution is one that would make rights under the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) contingent upon meeting all other obligations in the treaty. In other words, a country such as Iran found to be in violation of its obligations under the treaty would lose its right to pursue peaceful nuclear energy. Iran has insisted it has an inalienable right to enrich that must be internationally recognized.


    Another provision which has been moved from the preamble into the latest draft's operative paragraphs would call on nuclear states to pledge not to use nukes on non-nuclear states.

    Other nonproliferation events taking place in New York next week include Secretary of State Hillary Clinton heading the U.S. delegation to the UN conference on implementing the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty (CTBT), assisted by Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Ellen Tauscher and her team.

    ________________________

    The "blue draft"....

    Posted for fair use.....
    http://www.politico.com/static/PPM12...inal_blue.html

    United Nations S/2009/473
    Security Council
    Provisional
    18 September 2009
    Original: English
    09-51910 (E) 180909
    *0951910*

    United States of America: draft resolution The Security Council, Resolving to seek a safer world for all and to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons, in accordance with the goals of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), in a way that promotes international stability, and based on the principle of undiminished security for all, Reaffirming the Statement of its President adopted at the Council’s meeting at the level of Heads of State and Government on 31 January 1992 (S/23500), including the need for all Member States to fulfil their obligations in relation to arms control and disarmament and to prevent proliferation in all its aspects of all weapons of mass destruction, Recalling also that the above Statement (S/23500) underlined the need for all Member States to resolve peacefully in accordance with the Charter any problems in that context threatening or disrupting the maintenance of regional and global stability, Reaffirming that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and their means of delivery, constitutes a threat to international peace and security, Bearing in mind the responsibilities of other organs of the United Nations and relevant international organizations in the field of disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation, as well as the Conference on Disarmament, and supporting them to continue to play their due roles, Underlining that the NPT remains the cornerstone of the nuclear non-proliferation regime and the essential foundation for the pursuit of nuclear disarmament and for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, Reaffirming its firm commitment to the NPT and its conviction that the international nuclear non-proliferation regime should be maintained and strengthened to ensure its effective implementation, Calling for further progress on all aspects of disarmament to enhance global security, Recalling the Statement by its President adopted at the Council’s meeting held on 19 November 2008 (S/PRST/2008/43),
    S/2009/473
    09-51910 2
    Welcoming the decisions of those non-nuclear-weapon States that have dismantled their nuclear weapons programmes or renounced the possession of nuclear weapons, Welcoming the nuclear arms reduction and disarmament efforts undertaken and accomplished by nuclear-weapon States, and underlining the need to pursue further efforts in the sphere of nuclear disarmament, in accordance with Article VI of the NPT, Welcoming in this connection the decision of the Russian Federation and the United States of America to conduct negotiations to conclude a new comprehensive legally binding agreement to replace the Treaty on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, which expires in December 2009, Welcoming and supporting the steps taken to conclude nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties and reaffirming the conviction that the establishment of internationally recognized nuclear-weapon-free zones on the basis of arrangements freely arrived at among the States of the region concerned, and in accordance with the 1999 United Nations Disarmament Commission guidelines, enhances global and regional peace and security, strengthens the nuclear non-proliferation regime, and contributes towards realizing the objectives of nuclear disarmament, Noting its support, in this context, for the convening of the Second Conference of States Parties and signatories of the Treaties that establish Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones to be held in New York on 30 April 2010, Reaffirming its resolutions 825 (1993), 1695 (2006), 1718 (2006) and 1874 (2009), Reaffirming its resolutions 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007), 1803 (2008), and 1835 (2008), Reaffirming all other relevant non-proliferation resolutions adopted by the Security Council, Gravely concerned about the threat of nuclear terrorism, and recognizing the need for all States to take effective measures to prevent nuclear material or technical assistance becoming available to terrorists, Noting with interest the initiative to convene, in coordination with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an international conference on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, Expressing its support for the convening of the 2010 Global Summit on Nuclear Security, Affirming its support for the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 Amendment, and the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, Recognizing the progress made by the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, and the G-8 Global Partnership, Noting the contribution of civil society in promoting all the objectives of the NPT, Reaffirming its resolution 1540 (2004) and the necessity for all States to implement fully the measures contained therein, and calling upon all Member States
    S/2009/473
    3 09-51910
    and international and regional organizations to cooperate actively with the Committee established pursuant to that resolution, including in the course of the comprehensive review as called for in resolution 1810 (2008), 1. Emphasizes that a situation of non-compliance with non-proliferation obligations shall be brought to the attention of the Security Council, which will determine if that situation constitutes a threat to international peace and security, and emphasizes the Security Council’s primary responsibility in addressing such threats; 2. Calls upon States Parties to the NPT to comply fully with all their obligations and fulfil their commitments under the Treaty; 3. Notes that enjoyment of the benefits of the NPT by a State Party can be assured only by its compliance with the obligations thereunder; 4. Calls upon all States that are not Parties to the NPT to accede to the Treaty as non-nuclear-weapon States so as to achieve its universality at an early date, and pending their accession to the Treaty, to adhere to its terms; 5. Calls upon the Parties to the NPT, pursuant to Article VI of the Treaty, to undertake to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to nuclear arms reduction and disarmament, and on a Treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control, and calls on all other States to join in this endeavour; 6. Calls upon all States Parties to the NPT to cooperate so that the 2010 NPT Review Conference can successfully strengthen the Treaty and set realistic and achievable goals in all the Treaty’s three pillars: non-proliferation, the peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and disarmament; 7. Calls upon all States to refrain from conducting a nuclear test explosion and to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), thereby bringing the treaty into force at an early date; 8. Calls upon the Conference on Disarmament to negotiate a Treaty banning the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices as soon as possible, welcomes the Conference on Disarmament’s adoption by consensus of its Programme of Work in 2009, and requests all Member States to cooperate in guiding the Conference to an early commencement of substantive work; 9. Recalls the statements by each of the five nuclear-weapon States, noted by resolution 984 (1995), in which they give security assurances against the use of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear-weapon State Parties to the NPT, and affirms that such security assurances strengthen the nuclear non-proliferation regime; 10. Expresses particular concern at the current major challenges to the non-proliferation regime that the Security Council has acted upon, demands that the parties concerned comply fully with their obligations under the relevant Security Council resolutions, and reaffirms its call upon them to find an early negotiated solution to these issues; 11. Encourages efforts to ensure development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy by countries seeking to maintain or develop their capacities in this field in a
    S/2009/473
    09-51910 4
    framework that reduces proliferation risk and adheres to the highest international standards for safeguards, security, and safety; 12. Underlines that the NPT recognizes in Article IV the inalienable right of the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II, and recalls in this context Article III of the NPT and Article II of the IAEA Statute; 13. Calls upon States to adopt stricter national controls for the export of sensitive goods and technologies of the nuclear fuel cycle; 14. Encourages the work of the IAEA on multilateral approaches to the nuclear fuel cycle, including assurances of nuclear fuel supply and related measures, as effective means of addressing the expanding need for nuclear fuel and nuclear fuel services and minimizing the risk of proliferation, and urges the IAEA Board of Governors to agree upon measures to this end as soon as possible; 15. Affirms that effective IAEA safeguards are essential to prevent nuclear proliferation and to facilitate cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and in that regard: (a) Calls upon all non-nuclear-weapon States party to the NPT that have yet to bring into force a comprehensive safeguards agreement or a modified small quantities protocol to do so immediately, (b) Calls upon all States to sign, ratify and implement an additional protocol, which together with comprehensive safeguards agreements constitute essential elements of the IAEA safeguards system, (c) Stresses the importance for all Member States to ensure that the IAEA continue to have all the necessary resources and authority to verify the declared use of nuclear materials and facilities and the absence of undeclared activities, and for the IAEA to report to the Council accordingly as appropriate; 16. Encourages States to provide the IAEA with the cooperation necessary for it to verify whether a state is in compliance with its safeguards obligations, and affirms the Security Council’s resolve to support the IAEA’s efforts to that end, consistent with its authorities under the Charter; 17. Undertakes to address without delay any State’s notice of withdrawal from the NPT, including the events described in the statement provided by the State pursuant to Article X of the Treaty, while noting ongoing discussions in the course of the NPT review on identifying modalities under which NPT States Parties could collectively respond to notification of withdrawal, and affirms that a State remains responsible under international law for violations of the NPT committed prior to its withdrawal; 18. Encourages States to require as a condition of nuclear exports that the recipient State agree that, in the event that it should terminate, withdraw from, or be found by the IAEA Board of Governors to be in non-compliance with its IAEA safeguards agreement, the supplier state would have a right to require the return of nuclear material and equipment provided prior to such termination, non-compliance or withdrawal, as well as any special nuclear material produced through the use of such material or equipment;
    S/2009/473
    5 09-51910
    19. Encourages States to consider whether a recipient State has signed and ratified an additional protocol based on the model additional protocol in making nuclear export decisions; 20. Urges States to require as a condition of nuclear exports that the recipient State agree that, in the event that it should terminate its IAEA safeguards agreement, safeguards shall continue with respect to any nuclear material and equipment provided prior to such termination, as well as any special nuclear material produced through the use of such material or equipment; 21. Calls for universal adherence to the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Materials and its 2005 Amendment, and the Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism; 22. Welcomes the March 2009 recommendations of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1540 (2004) to make more effective use of existing funding mechanisms, including the consideration of the establishment of a voluntary fund, and affirms its commitment to promote full implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) by Member States by ensuring effective and sustainable support for the activities of the 1540 Committee; 23. Reaffirms the need for full implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) by Member States and, with an aim of preventing access to, or assistance and financing for, weapons of mass destruction, related materials and their means of delivery by non-State actors, as defined in the resolution, calls upon Member States to cooperate actively with the Committee established pursuant to that resolution and the IAEA, including rendering assistance, at their request, for their implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) provisions, and in this context welcomes the forthcoming comprehensive review of the status of implementation of resolution 1540 (2004) with a view to increasing its effectiveness, and calls upon all States to participate actively in this review; 24. Calls upon Member States to share best practices with a view to improved safety standards and nuclear security practices and raise standards of nuclear security to reduce the risk of nuclear terrorism, with the aim of securing all vulnerable nuclear material from such risks within four years; 25. Calls upon all States to manage responsibly and minimize to the greatest extent that is technically and economically feasible the use of highly enriched uranium for civilian purposes, including by working to convert research reactors and radioisotope production processes to the use of low enriched uranium fuels and targets; 26. Calls upon all States to improve their national capabilities to detect, deter, and disrupt illicit trafficking in nuclear materials throughout their territories, and calls upon those States in a position to do so to work to enhance international partnerships and capacity-building in this regard; 27. Urges all States to take all appropriate national measures in accordance with their national authorities and legislation, and consistent with international law, to prevent proliferation financing and shipments, to strengthen export controls, to secure sensitive materials, and to control access to intangible transfers of technology;
    S/2009/473
    09-51910 6
    28. Declares its resolve to monitor closely any situations involving the proliferation of nuclear weapons, their means of delivery or related material, including to or by non-State actors as they are defined in resolution 1540 (2004), and, as appropriate, to take such measures as may be necessary to ensure the maintenance of international peace and security; 29. Decides to remain seized of the matter.

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    PREVIEW: US breathes new life into global disarmament campaign

    Posted : Mon, 21 Sep 2009 02:23:21 GMT
    Author : DPA


    New York - The United Nations Security Council, led by US President Barack Obama, will hold a high-profile session on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament on Thursday, which has given some hope to advocates of a nuclear-free world. The event will mark a rare meeting of leaders of the 15-member council and the first time a US president chairs the UN's top decision-making body. It is being held during the annual gathering of world leaders in New York for the opening of a new session of the UN General Assembly.

    There will be a separate two-day conference designed to breathe new life into a treaty that bans the testing of nuclear weapons.

    The United States is one of nine countries with nuclear technology that is still blunting the entry into force of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The US never ratified the treaty, but Obama is giving it a second chance by pushing hard for the Senate's approval.

    Attending the council meeting along with Obama will be some of the world's most powerful leaders, including presidents Hu Jintao of China, Nicholas Sarkozy of France, Dmitry Medvedev of Russia and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Others include new Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Libya's leader Moammar Gaddafi.

    A draft Security Council resolution submitted by the US urges all states to refrain from conducting nuclear test explosions and to sign and ratify the CTBT, "thereby bringing it into force at an early date."

    The draft, which is expected to be approved by the world leaders at the council meeting Thursday, also upholds the Nuclear Non- Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which will come under review in 2010.

    US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will lead a separate conference on CTBT at UN headquarters on Thursday and Friday. She will join foreign ministers from more than 100 governments.

    The high-profile US presence has given hope to disarmament advocates that global efforts to end nuclear explosions and rid the world of nuclear weapons will finally gain traction.

    It is also part of a broader push by the United States to reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles. Obama and Medvedev will meet Wednesday on the sidelines of the UN summit, ramping up their efforts to reach a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty by year end.

    In a major speech in Prague in April, Obama called for a world free of nuclear weapons. He pledged to "immediately and aggressively" pursue US ratification of CTBT.

    The US efforts are in part designed to help convince developing countries not to pursue their own nuclear programmes.

    But those hopes could be dashed by North Korea, India and Pakistan, who have not signed the test-ban treaty and where ratification is a long shot. The others yet to approve the CTBT are China, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq and Israel.

    The US Senate, which rejected the treaty after former president Bill Clinton signed it in 1996, could also still prove a spoiler. Obama is only beginning to mount his renewed push for ratification.

    The nine countries still not ratifying CTBT are among the world's 40 countries with nuclear technology that must approve the treaty for it to become effective.

    The CTBT conference, which will be chaired by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and his Moroccan counterpart, Taleb Fassi Fihri, will issue a final declaration calling on the nine countries to sign and ratify the treaty.

    The treaty bans all nuclear tests worldwide. It was opened for signatures in the late 1990s and has been signed by 181 countries, 149 of which have ratified.

    Of the world's five major declared nuclear powers, Russia, France and Britain have ratified the treaty, while the US and China have not.

    The CTBT's office in Vienna is already building a verification network across the globe to monitor compliance. So far, 250 of the needed 337 facilities have been built to look for any sign of nuclear explosions on the ground, below the earth and in the atmosphere.

    US Nuclear Security Administrator Thomas Paul d'Agostino this month became the first US official to visit the Vienna office. He said the US National Academy of Sciences has been tasked with reviewing the treaty and providing US legislators with information to begin the ratification process.

    Copyright, respective author or news agency

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    A new Guardian blog on proliferation and disarmament

    Are we on the slow road to abolition of nuclear weapons or on the brink of a new wave of proliferation?


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    The next few months look like being a turning point in nuclear history. There appears to be a determination in the White House to make sure that Barack Obama's Prague speech adds up to more than lip service to the ideal of getting rid of nuclear weapons. As we're reporting in this morning's Guardian, the president has sent back the Pentagon's version of the Nuclear Posture Review on the grounds that it is too timid, and called for a more ambitious rethink of US nuclear doctrine.

    The White House also seems committed to making the current negotiations with Russia on a "Start plus" treaty the beginning rather than the end of a continuous process of bilateral disarmament. A serious barrier to further Russian disarmament below 1500 deployed strategic warheads has just been removed with the scrapping of the Bush missile defence scheme. In the best case scenario, the two countries could get their arsenals down to hundreds, rather than thousands, of warheads by the end of Obama's first term. At that point, the second tier nuclear powers - France, Britain and China - would join the negotiations.

    Meanwhile, according to this happy scenario, the new commitment to disarmament impresses the non weapons states so much they agree to strengthen the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty at next May's review conference and sign up to measures that make proliferation much harder. The likes of Iran and North Korea are isolated, while India, Pakistan and Israel are drawn into the NPT, and start to abide by the rules. Nuclear arms gradually wither away.

    Or not.

    Obama's disarmament drive could falter before it really takes off. There is plenty of opposition in the Pentagon and Congress to the sort of deep cuts he is seeking, and a lot of vested interest, in the weapons labs and elsewhere, in keeping nuclear weapons projects going. It will not be easy to get the two-thirds Senate majority to ratify the long-delayed Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Without that momentum, next year's NPT Review Conference could be a washout like 2005, and it is unclear how much more failure the non proliferation regime can stand. If Iran is still enriching uranium ever more efficiently next summer, there are a string of Arab states who will consider starting a programme of their own. An Israeli air strike on Iranian targets would almost certainly make matters worse, raising tensions and decreasing transparency. The number of weapons states, kept to single figures for so long, could jump dramatically in a generation.

    This blog will aim to keep up with developments day by day. It will focus mostly on nuclear issues, but there will be coverage too of the war in Afghanistan, the internal threats to Pakistan, the evolution of Nato, counter-terrorism, and other bits and pieces as long as they can reasonably be said to involve global security.

    Let me know what we are doing wrong or right, and what we are missing.

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    Arab countries win IAEA resolution on Israeli nuclear arms (Roundup)

    Middle East News
    Sep 18, 2009, 13:28 GMT


    Vienna - An Arab resolution expressing concern about Israel's nuclear weapons was narrowly passed at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Friday, in a vote exposing a rift between developing and industrialized countries.

    It was the first time that the IAEA general conference has adopted such a decision since 1991.

    Iran's Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh said the successful vote was 'a triumph, a glorious moment.'

    The text, sponsored by Arab countries, was adopted with the votes of 49 mostly developing states, against the opposition of 45 countries including European Union members and the United States.

    Of the permanent UN Security Council members, China and Russia backed the document that 'expresses concern about the Israeli nuclear capabilities.'

    It also called on Israel to accede to the Nuclear Non- proliferation Treaty (NPT) and to put its entire nuclear programme under IAEA inspections, steps that would effectively force the country to give up its atomic weapons.


    Israel's delegate David Danieli said his country would not cooperate with this resolution.


    'Singling out the state of Israel is counterproductive to confidence-building and peace in the region,' the Israeli nuclear energy official said.

    Danieli reiterated Israel's stance that a peace settlement in the Middle East should come before regional disarmament efforts.

    The adoption of the resolution was 'hypocrisy,' the official said, because it was backed by Iran and Syria, who are under investigation by the IAEA.

    Israel's government is believed to have atomic weapons, but it neither confirms nor denies its military nuclear capacity as a matter of policy.

    Israel is the only country in the region that is not a signatory to the NPT and therefore accepts only limited IAEA inspections.

    'The international community and the majority of (IAEA) member states cannot tolerate the status quo any more,' Soltanieh said.

    Western countries had opposed the document, arguing that after Thursday's resolution calling for a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction was adopted, there was no need for a separate one on Israel.

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    Quote Originally Posted by vector7 View Post
    Op-Ed Contributor
    A Fast Way to Lose the Arms Race
    By JOHN R. BOLTON
    Published: May 25, 2009

    Washington


    PRESIDENT OBAMA has called for a world without nuclear weapons, not as a distant goal, but as something imminently achievable. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton followed up, saying that American and Russian “leadership” in arms control and nonproliferation was “at the top of the list” of her priorities. Although the administration may be counting on the eyelid-lowering effect of arms-control terminology to minimize Congressional and public scrutiny, its plans are deeply troubling for America.

    First, the administration’s bilateral objectives with Russia play almost entirely to Moscow’s advantage, as in arms-control days of yore. Hurrying to negotiate a successor to the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty by year’s end, which Secretary Clinton has committed to, reflects a “zeal for the deal” approach that benefits only Russia.

    We need not be rushed, since simply extending the existing treaty’s verification provisions would preserve the status quo. Fortunately, Russia seems likely to save us from the dangerously low warhead levels proposed by Senator John Kerry and others, but the risks of foolish, unnecessary concessions remain high.

    Paradoxically, the administration itself might put the entire negotiating process into gridlock by reaching much farther than the Russians are willing to go, such as by trying to negotiate numerical limits on tactical nuclear weapons. More seriously, the administration has pre-emptively conceded to Russia on strategic defensive issues: first by linking the general subject of missile defense with offensive issues, long a Russian goal; and secondly by signaling that specific projects, like the defense system intended for Poland and the Czech Republic, might be abandoned or bargained away.

    Second, the Obama administration is seriously weakening both our strategic offensive and defensive capacity. The Defense Department budget proposes major cuts in missile defense programs, returning to an emphasis both in operational and diplomatic terms on “theater” missile defense (mainly for defending deployed military forces), rather than “national” missile defense (for shielding America’s population from missile attack). Protecting our forces abroad must remain a top priority, but it need not be at the expense of homeland defense. President Ronald Reagan refused to bargain on missile defense, and President Obama isn’t bargaining either. He is simply giving it away.

    The Pentagon also proposes ending financing for the Reliable Replacement Warhead, a key to substituting safe, dependable warheads for the ones now aging. For the last two years, Congress refused President George W. Bush’s requests to pay for the program, but dropping it from the Obama budget altogether is another diplomatic freebie for Moscow. Even worse, in his public statements, President Obama’s seeming indifference to the beneficent effects of the United States’ nuclear deterrent has to worry our friends and allies, most notably Japan.

    Third, the president is resurrecting President Bill Clinton’s unfinished multilateral arms-control agenda, committing, for example, to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which would effectively make permanent the current moratorium on underground testing. Vice President Joe Biden is leading the administration’s effort to reverse the Senate’s 1999 rejection of the test-ban treaty, the first major treaty to fail on the Senate floor since the Treaty of Versailles after World War I.

    The administration is also putting new emphasis on negotiating conventions against the “arms race” in outer space, which would undercut America’s current substantial advantage above the earth, and on resuscitating a proposed treaty that would prohibit the production of uranium and plutonium for weapons.

    Unhappily, the administration is pushing Israel to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty as a “non-nuclear-weapons state,” meaning Israel would have to eliminate its nuclear arsenal. Iran and others will welcome this, given their repeated demands for the same result. Today’s real proliferation threat, however, is not Israel, but states like Iran and North Korea that become parties to the alphabet soup of arms control treaties and then violate them with abandon. Without robust American reactions to these violations — not apparent in administration thinking — more will follow.

    The Senate, which must approve any treaty with a two-thirds supermajority, is now the only obstacle to Obama administration policies that will seriously weaken the United States. Voters should remind their representatives on Capitol Hill that they have a responsibility to keep us safe.

    John R. Bolton, the United States ambassador to the United Nations from 2005 to 2006, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the author of “Surrender Is Not an Option.”
    Iran ready to pay for probe into Israeli nukes

    19.09.2009 14:20


    Iran is prepared to allocate a budget for a probe into Israel's largely clandestine nuclear industry, Tehran's ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says, Press TV reported.


    Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh made the announcement in a statement delivered at the 53rd General Conference of the IAEA on Friday.

    "In case the IAEA has limited financial resources for the inspection [of Israel's nuclear facilities]… the Iranian government is prepared to allocate the budget for the sake of global peace and welfare."

    Calling Israel's nuclear capabilities a "potential threat" to global security, Soltaniyeh also expressed "grave concern" over Tel Aviv's refusal to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and thus denying the IAEA inspectors access to its atomic installations.

    Israel, the world's sixth largest nuclear weapons power, has not heeded international calls to join the NPT.

    Soltaniyeh made the remarks on the same day the IAEA passed a non-binding resolution urging Israel to open its nuclear facilities to UN inspection and sign up to the NPT.

    The resolution voiced concern about Israeli nuclear capabilities and called on Tel Aviv to renounce atomic weapons.

    In its response, Israel "deplored" the resolution, saying it was aimed at "reinforcing political hostilities and division lines in the Middle East region."

    In a vote on September 17, the UN nuclear watchdog adopted a resolution urging all Middle East nations to renounce atomic bombs.

    The non-binding resolution received a positive vote by nearly all Asian, Latin American, African and Islamic nations while Israel was the only one to vote no.

    The United States, Canada, Georgia and India abstained.
    Last edited by vector7; September 21st, 2009 at 18:39.

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    Barack Obama ready to slash US nuclear arsenal

    Pentagon told to map out radical cuts as president prepares to chair UN talks





    Barack Obama has demanded the Pentagon conduct a radical review of US nuclear weapons doctrine to prepare the way for deep cuts in the country's arsenal, the Guardian can reveal.

    Obama has rejected the Pentagon's first draft of the "nuclear posture review" as being too timid, and has called for a range of more far-reaching options consistent with his goal of eventually abolishing nuclear weapons altogether, according to European officials.

    Those options include:
    • Reconfiguring the US nuclear force to allow for an arsenal measured in hundreds rather than thousands of deployed strategic warheads.
    • Redrafting nuclear doctrine to narrow the range of conditions under which the US would use nuclear weapons.
    • Exploring ways of guaranteeing the future reliability of nuclear weapons without testing or producing a new generation of warheads.

    The review is due to be completed by the end of this year, and European officials say the outcome is not yet clear. But one official said: "Obama is now driving this process. He is saying these are the president's weapons, and he wants to look again at the doctrine and their role."

    The move comes as Obama prepares to take the rare step of chairing a watershed session of the UN security council on Thursday. It is aimed at winning consensus on a new grand bargain: exchanging more radical disarmament by nuclear powers in return for wider global efforts to prevent further proliferation.

    That bargain is at the heart of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, which is up for review next year amid signs it is unravelling in the face of Iranian and North Korean nuclear ambitions.

    In an article for the Guardian today, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, argues that failure to win a consensus would be disastrous. "This is one of the most critical issues we face," the foreign secretary writes. "Get it right, and we will increase global security, pave the way for a world without nuclear weapons, and improve access to affordable, safe and dependable energy – vital to tackle climate change. Get it wrong, and we face the spread of nuclear weapons and the chilling prospect of nuclear material falling into the hands of terrorists."

    According to a final draft of the resolution due to be passed on Thursday, however, the UN security council will not wholeheartedly embrace the US and Britain's call for eventual abolition of nuclear weapons. Largely on French insistence, the council will endorse the vaguer aim of seeking "to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons".

    Gordon Brown is due to use this week's UN general assembly meeting to renew a diplomatic offensive on Iran for its failure to comply with security council demands that it suspend enrichment of uranium. The issue has been given greater urgency by an International Atomic Energy Agency document leaked last week which showed inspectors for the agency believed Iran already had "sufficient information" to build a warhead, and had tested an important component of a nuclear device.

    Germany is also expected to toughen its position on Iran ahead of a showdown between major powers and the Iranian government on 1 October. But it is not yet clear what position will be taken by Russia, which has hitherto opposed the imposition of further sanctions on Iran.

    Moscow's stance will be closely watched for signs of greater co-operation in return for Obama's decision last week to abandon a missile defence scheme in eastern Europe, a longstanding source of irritation to Russia.

    "I hope the Russians realise they have to do something serious. I don't think a deal has been done, but there is a great deal of expectation," said a British official.

    Russia has approximately 2,780 deployed strategic warheads, compared with around 2,100 in the US. The abandonment of the US missile defence already appears to have spurred arms control talks currently underway between Washington and Moscow: the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, said today that chances were "quite high" that a deal to reduce arsenals to 1,500 warheads each would be signed by the end of the year.

    The US nuclear posture review is aimed at clearing the path for a new round of deep US-Russian cuts to follow almost immediately after that treaty is ratified, to set lower limits not just on deployed missiles but also on the thousands of warheads both have in their stockpiles.

    The Obama strategy is to create disarmament momentum in the run-up to the non-proliferation treaty review conference next May, in the hope that states without nuclear weapons will not side with Iran, as they did at the last review in 2005, but endorse stronger legal barriers to nuclear proliferation, and forego nuclear weapons programmes themselves.

    "The review has up to now been in the hands of mid-level bureaucrats with a lot of knowledge, but it's knowledge drawn from the cold war. What they are prepared to do is tweak the existing doctrine," said Rebecca Johnson, the head of the Acronym Institute, a pro-disarmament pressure group.

    "Obama has sent them it back saying: 'Give me more options for what we can do in line with my goals. I'm not saying it's easy, but all you're giving me is business as usual.'"

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    Slash arsenal, Pentagon told

    JULIAN BORGER

    September 22, 2009



    LONDON: The US President, Barack Obama, has demanded the Pentagon conduct a radical review of US nuclear weapons doctrine to prepare the way for deep cuts in the country's arsenal.

    Mr Obama has rejected its first draft of the ''nuclear posture review'' as being too timid, and has called for a range of more far-reaching options consistent with his goal of eventually abolishing nuclear weapons altogether, according to European officials.

    Those options include: reconfiguring the US nuclear force to allow for an arsenal measured in hundreds rather than thousands of deployed strategic warheads; redrafting nuclear doctrine to narrow the range of conditions under which the US would use the weapons; and exploring ways of guaranteeing the future reliability of nuclear weapons without testing or producing a new generation of warheads.

    The review is due to be finished by the end of the year, and European officials say the outcome is not yet clear.

    The current Pentagon take on US doctrine envisages maintaining a stockpile of thousands of weapons for the foreseeable future, partly in the name of ''extended deterrence''. Supporters of that doctrine argue that without a large arsenal, allies abroad will lose confidence in Washington's capacity to defend them from attack.

    The move comes as Mr Obama prepares to chair a watershed session of the UN Security Council on Thursday. It is aimed at winning consensus on a new grand bargain: exchanging more radical disarmament by nuclear powers in return for wider global efforts to prevent further proliferation.

    According to a final draft of the resolution due to be passed on Thursday, however, the UN Security Council will not wholeheartedly embrace the US call for eventual abolition of nuclear weapons. Largely on French insistence, the council will endorse the vaguer aim of seeking ''to create the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons''.

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    A new Guardian blog on proliferation and disarmament

    Are we on the slow road to abolition of nuclear weapons or on the brink of a new wave of proliferation?

    The next few months look like being a turning point in nuclear history. There appears to be a determination in the White House to make sure that Barack Obama's Prague speech adds up to more than lip service to the ideal of getting rid of nuclear weapons. As we're reporting in this morning's Guardian, the president has sent back the Pentagon's version of the Nuclear Posture Review on the grounds that it is too timid, and called for a more ambitious rethink of US nuclear doctrine.

    The White House also seems committed to making the current negotiations with Russia on a "Start plus" treaty the beginning rather than the end of a continuous process of bilateral disarmament. A serious barrier to further Russian disarmament below 1500 deployed strategic warheads has just been removed with the scrapping of the Bush missile defence scheme. In the best case scenario, the two countries could get their arsenals down to hundreds, rather than thousands, of warheads by the end of Obama's first term. At that point, the second tier nuclear powers - France, Britain and China - would join the negotiations.

    Meanwhile, according to this happy scenario, the new commitment to disarmament impresses the non weapons states so much they agree to strengthen the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty at next May's review conference and sign up to measures that make proliferation much harder. The likes of Iran and North Korea are isolated, while India, Pakistan and Israel are drawn into the NPT, and start to abide by the rules. Nuclear arms gradually wither away.

    Or not.

    Obama's disarmament drive could falter before it really takes off. There is plenty of opposition in the Pentagon and Congress to the sort of deep cuts he is seeking, and a lot of vested interest, in the weapons labs and elsewhere, in keeping nuclear weapons projects going. It will not be easy to get the two-thirds Senate majority to ratify the long-delayed Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Without that momentum, next year's NPT Review Conference could be a washout like 2005, and it is unclear how much more failure the non proliferation regime can stand. If Iran is still enriching uranium ever more efficiently next summer, there are a string of Arab states who will consider starting a programme of their own. An Israeli air strike on Iranian targets would almost certainly make matters worse, raising tensions and decreasing transparency. The number of weapons states, kept to single figures for so long, could jump dramatically in a generation.

    This blog will aim to keep up with developments day by day. It will focus mostly on nuclear issues, but there will be coverage too of the war in Afghanistan, the internal threats to Pakistan, the evolution of Nato, counter-terrorism, and other bits and pieces as long as they can reasonably be said to involve global security.

    Let me know what we are doing wrong or right, and what we are missing.

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    World
    Russia, U.S. to slash nuclear delivery vehicles - Medvedev





    Related News



    21:3124/09/2009
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    UNITED NATIONS, September 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the United States are discussing the possibility of slashing the number of nuclear weapon delivery vehicles by over 67%, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday.

    "We are ready to move further and cut the number of delivery vehicles for strategic offensive armaments by more than three times, and this issue is now being discussed at the negotiating table with our American partners," Medvedev told the UN Security Council Summit on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Nuclear Disarmament.

    Medvedev said Wednesday after talks with his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama that a new Russian-U.S. strategic arms reduction treaty is likely be ready in time. Today he reiterated: "We are doing everything possible to sign a relevant document by December."

    Medvedev and Obama agreed in July in Moscow on the outline of a deal to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1), which expires on December 5, including cutting their countries' nuclear arsenals to 1,500-1,675 operational warheads and delivery vehicles to 500-1,000.

    The START-1 treaty obliges Russia and the U.S. to reduce nuclear warheads to 6,000 and their delivery vehicles to 1,600 each. In 2002, a follow-up agreement on strategic offensive arms reduction was concluded in Moscow. The document, known as the Moscow Treaty, envisioned cuts to 1,700-2,200 warheads by December 2012.

    According to a report published by the U.S. State Department in April, as of January 1 Russia had 3,909 nuclear warheads and 814 delivery vehicles, including ground-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers. The same report said the United States had 5,576 warheads and 1,198 delivery vehicles.

    Medvedev also said Russia was ready to work jointly with the United States on "missile proliferation challenges." "We hope all other interested countries will also join this work," he said.

    Medvedev outlined a number of priorities. "First, it's necessary to continue improving and strengthening the global regime of nonproliferation and disarmament. International mechanisms, first of all, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, remain a support here," he said.

    Medvedev also said the International Atomic Energy Agency's safeguards system should be developed, and said the leading countries should sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

    The Russian leader urged new nonproliferation mechanisms to be used more actively, including Resolution 1540 on nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), adopted on the proposal of Russia and the U.S.

    Medvedev said countries should implement civilian nuclear programs while strictly abiding by nonproliferation agreements.

    Obama, who chairs the UN Security Council summit, called on the world again to unite to prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

    The UN Security Council secretary general welcomed the steps of Russia and the U.S. on the road to nuclear disarmament, urging other countries to follow suit.

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    President leaves America vulnerable to Iranian ICBM attack

    September 25, 3:43 PMDayton Crime ExaminerDavid Willoughby




    By: Mike Turner (R) - Ohio 3rd District Washington, Sep 22 - President Obama’s decision to scrap a long-planned European-based missile defense shield was not only met with concern among our European allies, but more importantly, has sounded alarms here at home where the president’s action would leave the nation vulnerable to Iranian long-range missile attack.

    Three years ago in response to growing threats from Iran, the Bush administration developed plans to install a missile defense system in Eastern Europe to protect Europe and the United States from potential long range missile attack. Under the program, 10 interceptor missiles would be located in Poland and a radar station would be built in the Czech Republic with the goal of being fully operational by 2013.

    The European-based missile defense system would add an additional layer of defense to the continental United States which already has a small network of interceptors on the West Coast. The European-based missile defense shield was endorsed by our NATO allies who called it a “substantial contribution” to their collective security. Now, the Obama administration has taken the unusual and highly questionable position of cancelling the planned European-based missile defense system in favor of a scaled back program that will not be ready until 2020.

    The threat represented by Iran is real and growing. Last February, Iran launched a satellite, demonstrating substantial progress toward achieving a reliable long-range missile program. A month later, the head of the U.S. European Command testified before the House Armed Services Committee that Iran would be able to deploy an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capable of reaching all of Europe and parts of the U.S. by the year 2015.

    The president stated his decision was based upon reduced threats from Iran and greater cost efficiency of his alternative defense system. However, a July 2008 classified report produced by the Institute for Defense Analysis concluded that the European-based missile defense system that the administration now wants to cancel would in fact be the most cost effective. I have called on the administration to declassify this report so that all the facts can be known.

    Moscow has made no secret of its opposition to a European-based missile defense system and has repeatedly called for its elimination. Furthermore, Russian leaders continually show they have no intention of pressuring Iran to drop its nuclear and missile programs. For its part, Iran also shows no willingness to be deterred by Russia. Yet, the administration, in courting Moscow’s assistance in halting Iran’s nuclear and missile ambitions, has effectively chosen to surrender America’s bargaining position with its shelving of the proposed missile defense system.

    While the Obama administration’s decision to reverse course on European missile defense is being met with smiles in Moscow, Americans have real reason to be concerned. By the administration’s own admission, its alternative missile defense system will not be fully capable until 2020. With intelligence indicating Iran will have ICBM capability by 2015, this means the United States could be vulnerable to Iranian missile attack five full years before the administration gets its new missile defense system ready.

    Not only is Iran near its goal of launching ICBMs, reportedly it already has the ability to construct a nuclear bomb. Last Thursday, a group of experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency stated in a report obtained by the Associated Press that Iran is already capable of building a nuclear bomb and “is on the way to developing a missile system able to carry an atomic warhead.”

    Remarkably, in the face of Iran’s blatant actions to develop a nuclear weapons program, the administration continues to pursue a course of unilateral disarmament. Earlier this year, the president cut funding for missile interceptors to be based in Alaska as part of the ongoing construction of a homeland missile defense system, reducing the number of interceptors by one-third. I opposed that move and offered an amendment in the House to restore the funding. Unfortunately, the president’s cuts were sustained.

    The administration’s record on missile defense, at a time when both North Korea and Iran are seeking nuclear weapons capable of reaching the U.S., is troubling. This year, the administration has cut missile defense by $1.2 billion, reducing by a third our intended West Coast shield which would protect us from North Korea’s advancements, and has stopped a European-based system intended to protect the U.S. from Iranian missile threats. In the face of known threats, this administration needs to rededicate itself to the defense of the U.S. mainland.
    Last edited by vector7; September 25th, 2009 at 20:52.

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    Nuclear Disarmament: A Modern Fairy Tale

    by J. R. Nyquist
    Weekly Column Published: 09.25.2009



    When a child loses a tooth, we talk about the tooth fairy. When it comes to Christmas, we prefer to speak of Santa Claus; at Easter, it is the Easter Bunny. On Halloween we dress our children as ghosts and goblins, and send them off to collect candy. For World War III, we have the Strategic Arms Reduction Fairy. We make up stories to cover the nakedness (and sometimes the barrenness) of our spirit. We have taught children a sense of entitlement, which can best be summed up as follows:

    YOU ARE SPECIAL ... JUST LIKE EVERYONE ELSE."

    We have supposedly done away with ignorance and superstition, and because of this conceit some middle-aged children today imagine that they are smarter than their parents; smarter than the generation that built the bomb, that built many bombs. Without realizing it, however, we have created new superstitions like democracy and monetarism. We no longer believe in witches. We believe in economists and arms reduction treaties. Our fairy tales have grown into adult narratives, as children become adults without entirely growing up. For us, the disturbing edge of the traditional fairy tale has been dulled. We no longer want hard truth and tough talk. Instead, we cling to childishness.

    Increasingly, it is the tendency of our culture to sugar-coat facts, to color unpleasant realities, to demand a happy ending. Fifty years ago people were seriously worried about World War III. They anticipated the destruction of civilization in a nuclear holocaust. Somehow our adult concern was transformed into a childish program for world peace and universal disarmament.

    Middle-aged children imagine that nuclear weapons are the problem. In reality, nuclear weapons are an unavoidable consequence of human nature. Can we eliminate crime, bad manners or lying? Can we establish permanent peace? The child sees no obstacle because the child does not know himself, and does not know human nature. A mature mind, however, knows that peace is precarious and temporary. It is not a question of eliminating nuclear weapons. Peace is only possible if we can mitigate the wickedness of human beings (e.g., like you and I).

    The men who rule Russia and China are bad. The men who rule the United States, Great Britain and France are also bad. The difference between the two types of men have nothing to do with inherent goodness in one or badness in the other. The difference is found in traditions that either concentrate power in the hands of a few individuals, or distribute power under a system of checks and balances. The latter mitigates human evil; the former intensifies human evil. The one system presents the political criminal with an opportunity; the other system limits the harm that he can do.

    In terms of nuclear weapons, it is childish to suppose that leaders of systems based on the concentration of power will agree to an honest reduction of their nuclear forces. Without any system of checks and balances to regulate them, they will follow their nature - which is to accumulate and concentrate more power in their own hands. Internationally this means that they will cheat on any arms control agreement involving nuclear weapons; or they will rely on lethal biological weapons which have been outlawed in those countries where power is checked and balanced.

    It is childish for Americans and the U.S. president to strive for universal nuclear disarmament. Once the Americans tie their hands with a treaty, the United States will be disarmed. On the other side, where laws do not constrain the ruling elite, a treaty is merely a piece of paper. As the Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin once said: "Treaties are like pie crusts, meant to be broken." Because of the speed with which rockets travel, and the destructive force of a nuclear warhead, countries without such weapons can be stripped of sovereignty and plundered.

    Children will deny the danger is real. They believe in the power of positive, utopian ideals. They denounce common sense as reactionary, as an obstacle to world peace. "If we do nothing, then nuclear war is inevitable," they cry. But in reality, nuclear war is inevitable because fools are inevitable; and we are very great fools indeed.

    Childish people who cannot look at the world through adult eyes, who righteously see themselves as the saviors of mankind, are actually our destroyers. Their program promises peace, but delivers the exact opposite. Their speeches drip with the honey of good intentions, but their actions unleash the world's dictators from the chains of Mutual Assured Destruction. In a world where the global economy is shrinking, the outcome won't be pretty.

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    Military news

    Russia may revise use of nuclear weapons in new military doctrine


    © RIA Novosti Sergey Guneev

    Related News


    13:0408/10/2009

    NOVOSIBIRSK, October 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's new military doctrine will contain some changes to the situations that could trigger the use of nuclear weapons or preventive strikes against potential foes, the secretary of Russia's Security Council said on Thursday.

    Russia will soon adopt a new military doctrine that aims to transform the Armed Forces into a more effective and mobile military force. Their structures will be "optimized" through the use of combined arms units performing similar tasks.

    "In respect to the possibility of preventive or nuclear strikes we will formulate some provisions that will be somewhat different from those contained in the current doctrine," Nikolai Patrushev said.

    The draft doctrine, called "The new face of the Russian Armed Forces until 2030," is still being developed by the General Staff and will be given, according to Patrushev, to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for consideration by the end of 2009.

    The current military doctrine was adopted in 2000. It outlines the role of the Russian military in ensuring the defense of the country and, if necessary, preparing for and waging war, although it stresses that the Russian military doctrine is strictly defensive.

    The doctrine lists factors that the Russian Federation perceives as potential threats, both internal and external and declares support for a multipolar world, in preference to a unipolar world dominated by a single superpower that is quick to resort to military force.

    The current document also emphasizes Russia's commitment to military reform, with continued use of conscription, but a gradual shift towards a professional army.

    But the Security Council believes that since 2000, drastic changes have occurred in the geopolitical and military situation in the world and in the nature of threats against national security, which makes it necessary to revise the specific tasks facing the Russian Armed Forces and related security agencies.

    "We would like to make this new military doctrine transparent so that people in the country and abroad will know what we have developed and how we want to work. We will set goals and lay out how to achieve them," Patrushev said.

    President Dmitry Medvedev announced last year that Russia would make the modernization of its nuclear deterrent and Armed Forces a priority in the decade up to 2020.

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    Monday, October 12, 2009
    Russian general talks tough on missiles

    More Security Stories

    By Steve Gutterman ASSOCIATED PRESS

    MOSCOW -- A top Russian general aimed tough remarks at the United States on Monday before Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's visit, reconfirming plans for multiple-warhead missiles and warning Washington that refitting rockets with conventional warheads would raise the risk of nuclear war.

    Lt. Gen. Andrei Shvaichenko's comments, quoted by Russian news agencies, come as Moscow and Washington seek to negotiate a replacement for a 1991 arms control treaty that expires at the end of the year. It is a major element in their efforts to mend relations that were badly strained during the Bush administration.

    Mrs. Clinton meets Tuesday with President Dmitry Medvedev and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Her visit will test Russia's willingness to cooperate on issues, including arms control and Iran's nuclear program, in the wake of President Obama's recent decision to scrap a missile-defense plan that Moscow vehemently opposed.

    Gen. Shvaichenko's words appeared designed to remind the United States of Russia's nuclear might and press it to heed Moscow's concerns.

    Gen. Shvaichenko, commander of the Strategic Missile Forces, reiterated that Russia will begin deploying RS-24 missiles with multiple warheads in December, the same month that the START I treaty expires.

    The United States has said the missiles would violate a treaty provision against adding multiple warheads to existing single-warhead missiles, but Russia asserts it is a new missile.

    "Putting RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles in service will strengthen (Russia's) combat capabilities," ITAR-Tass quoted Gen. Shvaichenko as saying at the force's headquarters outside Moscow. He said the first deployment of the missiles would be in the Ivanovo province, northeast of the capital.

    Reaching a deal to replace the treaty before it expires would be a strong sign of solidarity after years of acrimony.

    But there are no guarantees. Pressing Russia's position on another prickly issue, Gen. Shvaichenko criticized plans aired during the Bush administration to fit some U.S. strategic missiles with conventional non-nuclear warheads, saying the launch of such missiles could provoke a mistaken nuclear strike in retaliation.

    A state that detected such a missile heading in its direction "would determine the risk it faced according to a worst-case scenario," RIA Novosti quoted Gen. Shvaichenko as saying -- meaning that it likely would respond with nuclear weapons. He said such a shift "would seriously undermine . . . international security as a whole."

    The U.S. State Department declined immediate comment on Gen. Shvaichenko's remarks.

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    Russia to deploy new multiple-warhead missiles in December

    2009-10-13 16:26 BJT

    MOSCOW, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- Russia will put the new multiple-warhead RS-24 intercontinental ballistic missiles into service in December, the commander of the Strategic Missile Force (SMF) said on Tuesday.

    Andrei Shvaichenko was quoted by local media as telling reporters outside Moscow that the SMF plans to conduct five missile launches by the end of the year.

    The commander said the RS-24 missiles could boost the force's combat capability.

    The RS-24s, together with the already-deployed Topol-M single-warhead missiles, will become the backbone strategic weapons of the SMF, accounting for no less than 80 percent of its arsenal by late 2016, he said.

    The SMF has already conducted several successful launches of the RS-24 missiles, which are set to replace the older RS-18s and RS-20s.

    Editor: Du Xiaodan | Source: Xinhua

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    Top Russian General Says Country Will Deploy Warhead Missiles in December

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    MOSCOW — A top Russian general says Russia will deploy multiple-warhead missiles in December, the same month a nuclear arms control treaty expires.

    His comments are not new but are seen as a challenge because they come just as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in Moscow, where efforts to replace the START I treaty are on the agenda.

    Lt. Gen Andrei Shvaichenko, the chief of the country's Strategic Missile Forces, was quoted by Russian news agencies Monday as saying the country will deploy RS-24 missiles.

    Russia disputes U.S. claims that the missiles would violate the treaty.

    Shvaichenko also warns the U.S. against refitting long-range missiles with conventional warheads.

    Clinton arrives Monday, with her first meetings scheduled for Tuesday.

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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    Dead Hand, START and Strategy Stability

    posted Wednesday October 7, 2009 under russia by jeffrey

    Last week, the Senate Republican Policy Committee released this execrable document, START: Do Time Extension Instead of a Bad Treaty, on the New START treaty.

    Today, I finagled a copy of a memo that Senator Kyl’s staff has distrubuted in advance of a briefing that Assistant Secretary Rose Gottemoeller will give to the Senate National Security Working Group tomorrow at 9 am.

    The memo, October 8, 2009 briefing with START negotiating team, is not very encouraging.

    Taken together, these two documents are disheartening, in that they depict an opposition to the President that isn’t serious.

    So, this is sort of a long post on why the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is important to US national security, but it is also in some sense an elegy to the dwindling number of moderate Republicans who played such an important role in setting US nuclear weapons and arms control policy.

    Arms Control Is A Favor We Do Ourselves, Not The Russians

    I want to start by addressing the juvenile tone of the Senate Republican Policy Committee document, which repeatedly implies the new START treaty is some kind of favor to Moscow.

    The document repeatedly asks whether Russia has “earned” further reductions or whether its behavior “warrants” a new treaty.

    This is crazy. The Administration seeks a New START agreement for the same reason that a McCain Administration would have: because it is in our interest, for at least two reasons.

    1. A new START is important to drive the Russians toward a more stabilizing strategic posture that does not depend heavily on MIRV’ed ICBMs, and

    2. A new START is essential to our ability to monitor Russian nuclear weapons programs.

    I want to talk about each of these in turn, but indulge me for a bit on the subject of strategic stability.

    Strategic Stability

    A lot of people were shocked to hear Secretary Gates explain (in an unclassified setting) that one of Moscow’s main concerns was that “ground-based interceptors in Poland could be fitted with nuclear weapons and become an offensive weapon like a Pershing and a weapon for which they would have virtually no warning time.”

    Yes, I know that sounds very War Games. But the Russians have always been paranoid about decapitation strikes against their creaky command and control structure, from the War Scare of 1983, through the 1995 Black Brant fiasco, right up to today.

    Understand, this is the strategic culture that gave the world “Perimeter” — the so-called “Doomsday Machine” or “Dead Hand” detailed in David Hoffman’s book of the same name and in a recent Wired article by Nick Thompson. Perimeter, as Thompson writes, was largely a measure to compensate for inadequate Soviet command-and-control capabilities.

    The fact that Moscow still worries today about command performance should give us pause. It is not in our interest for the Russians — and their giant nuclear arsenal — to operate on the basis of paranoid fantasies about the United States.

    Arms control is one way to address that. So let’s be clear, we do this because it is in our interest.

    Russia’s Declining Strategic Forces

    The Senate Republican Policy Committee asks what is intended to be a rhetorical question: “Why pay for what is free?” Russia’s strategic forces are in decline, so why agree to cut ours?

    Over the next decade, in the absence of any arms control treaty or agreement, “the number of delivery vehicles in Russia’s nuclear arsenal will continue to decline sharply,” perhaps to fewer than 500 delivery vehicles.55 This is because “Russian strategic systems have not been designed for long service lives,” and Russia is unable to replace aging delivery systems at the pace at which they are retired.56 There is certainly no reason for the United States to pay for something that is going to happen with or without an arms control treaty. In this respect, there is no reason for the United States to sacrifice U.S. nuclear force structure, or other
    unrelated national defense matters, such as missile defense or prompt global strike, “as a price to be paid for an agreement that requires nothing of the Russians beyond discarding the aged systems they plan to eliminate in any event.”57

    This is fantastically misleading!

    What is declining in Russia is the number of delivery vehicles — missiles, bombers and the like — not the number of warheads.

    The Republican Senate Policy Committee attempts to obscure this distinction by stating that “Russia needs this agreement far more than the U.S. does. It is desperately trying to lock the U.S. into lower nuclear levels, not the other way around.”

    “Nuclear levels” is a meaningless phrase intended to deceive, not elucidate — Russia wants lower numbers of delivery vehicles but more warheads. The United States seeks the opposite: lower levels of warheads — much, much lower than even in the Joint Understanding — but many more delivery vehicles.

    Senator Kyl’s letter acknowledges this, noting that “the Russians have been testing a new multiple-warhead version of the Topol-M ballistic missile” that would be prohibited under START.

    Russia is deploying the MIRV’ed Topol because Moscow wants to keep its warhead numbers constant, even as the number of delivery vehicles plummets.

    In other words, Russia is heading toward MIRVing the hell out of its strategic forces to keep its warhead numbers up around 1700. This is probably the only thing I agree with in Senator Kyl’s letter — I am also disturbed by the deployment of the MIRV’ed Topol. I don’t worry that the missile itself disturbs the strategic balance, but I do worry about what the MIRV’ed Topol deployment says about trends in future Russian strategic forces.

    Recall the discussion of nuclear decapitation and strategic stability. It is not in our interest for Russian leaders to be confused about the possibility of a decapitating U.S. first strike — unless the thought of a half-drunk Boris Yeltsin staring at the Russian “football” doesn’t bother you. Now, imagine that a significant fraction of Russia’s nuclear forces are deployed on a small number of relatively vulnerable land-based ballistic missiles. What impact do you think that will have on the time pressure faced by a future Russian leader?

    A very senior Bush Administration official, one who was deeply involved with negotiating the original START, once said to me: “One way to look at the arms control endeavor is as a bipartisan effort over the past thirty-years or so to drive the Soviets and now the Russians to a more stable strategic posture.”

    That really stuck with me, because I think it is dead-on. Indeed, Kerry Kartchner’s history of the START negotiations, Negotiating START: Strategic Arms Reduction Talks and the Quest for Strategic Stability, makes this point eloquently:

    The U.S. approach to START was, above all, a quest for strategic stability, the Holy Grail of the nuclear era. In fact, early Reagan statements made it clear that no agreement would be better than an arms control accord that failed to enhance strategic stability. This pont underscored the view that arms control was a means to an end, and certainly not the only means …

    This is why, for instance, the George H. W. Bush Administration negotiated a START II agreement with Russia that banned MIRV’ed ICBMs.

    Obviously, I’d like to get back to that MIRV ban. (MIRVs and the Moscow Treaty, December 12, 2004). But that’s not going to happen (STRATCOM Hearts MIRV, January 30, 2006, STRATCOM Still Hearts MIRVs, November 29, 2007).

    In the interim the best we can do is try to make sure the New START agreement strikes a better balance between the number of operationally deployed warheads and the number of strategic delivery vehicles than what we are likely to have absent an agreement, while preserving the essential monitoring and verification provisions.

    Why Not Just Extend START for 5 Years?

    Let me begin by saying that I favored START extension throughout the twilight of Bush Administration.

    I tried puns (START Talking March 7, 2007), the obvious (Extend START, April 20, 2007), and the over-the-top (Frickin’ Extend START Already, June 21, 2007) before slipping into despair (START: Dead Treaty Walking, September 22, 2008).

    But the Bush Administration, or at least the parts that mattered, wasn’t interested because of the paperwork burden imposed by the verification measures. (Sadly, that is not hyperbole.)

    So, believe you me, when Senate Republicans suddenly say “We should just extend the treaty,” well that comes at it mighty high.

    The reality is that “extending START” is, as options go, a poison pill. If Rose Gottemoeller shows up in Geneva and says “scrap the joint understanding, let’s just extend START,” the Russians are going to take their MIRV’ed Topol ICBMs and go home.

    We had a chance to extend the START Treaty — which I favored — but that opportunity is now past.

    What about Verification?

    Finally, Senator Kyl’s memo states that a draft New START “was not accompanied by the important verification protocol.” The implication is that the Administration has no intention of negotiating verification measures, which I sincerely doubt.

    Again, given that the Bush Administration negotiated the Moscow Treaty without a verification protocol, this is somewhat churlish.

    But the fact is that maintaining the verification and monitoring provisions in START is an important interest. We know, thanks to Jonathan Landay’s excellent reporting, that the Intelligence Community issued NIE on Russian strategic forces that expressed doubt about our ability to monitor Russian compliance with the Moscow Treaty without the measures in the START agreement. (See: IC Can’t Verify Moscow Treaty, December 22, 2004).

    So, I guess this is the second area in which Senator Kyl and I agree — the verification provisions will be important. I am a little surprised to see this, because the Senate Republican Policy Committee was rather blase about the demise of START noting “If the verification regime is extended, both Russia and the United States benefit similarly; whereas if it lapses, there is probably equal detriment.”

    That’s asinine.

    Let me ask you: Do you think it is easier to make reliable open source estimates of US or Russian strategic forces? To say that the lapse of the verification provision would be to the equal detriment of both sides is one of the more foolish things I’ve seen in a long time.

    Please Be Serious

    This is really a plea for Senate Republicans to play a constructive, engaged role, rather than being arm-chair negotiators. (Hey, that’s my job!)

    I happen to think that the START process under Reagan and Bush greatly improved on SALT, not the least for the conceptual approach taken by self-consciously “conservative” supporters of arms control that emphasized strategic stability over conviviality. In retrospect, I think the START I and START II treaties were impressive pieces of work that reflected both Democratic and Republican priorities.

    I suppose it only seems that way with hindsight. But, right now, I am feeling nostalgia for the good old days.
    Comment

    1.

    Jeffrey: Topol-M is not a MIRVed version of Topol – these are different missiles. RS-24 is a MIRVed version of Topol-M. (If those Russian designations sound confusing it is because they are.)

    — Pavel · Oct 7, 05:54 PM ·
    2.

    “It is not in our interest for the Russians — and their giant nuclear arsenal — to operate on the basis of paranoid fantasies about the United States.”
    I agree with this, and yet it strikes me as interesting that so many people (certainly not just you) describe the Russians as “paranoid” when they are basically pursuing the behavior predicted by standard realist theories. We, on the other hand, decided as soon as the Cold War was over that the only country in the world capable of obliterating the United States was no longer worth thinking about and then proceeded to obsess about secondary powers that just might one day maybe get one bomb. (The Russians shrug and say that if Iran ever does get an ICBM the Americans will just bomb the launch pad.) It’s really one of the most devastating blows to realist theory that you can imagine.
    I would just add a couple of points to your comments. First, the Russians want the New START to permit many warheads but few delivery systems to force us to pile up the warheads and eliminate any sudden upload potential. Second, MIRVed missiles are destabilizing not only because they reduce the number of targets, but also because one missile can take out several. Thus even if both sides have equal numbers of missiles and kill probabilities are less than 100%, the side that shoots first can still take out the other side.

    — Scott Monje · Oct 7, 09:14 PM ·
    3.

    I’m not sure where to begin (or end) with comments on both the Republican’s report and your comments. I may come back to this a few times during the day, as I chew on this and think of more stuff to say.

    Two comments to start with:

    It is well worth remembering (and it seems that Kyl has forgotten) that START is a 5-party treaty. The United States can not simply decide to extend the Treaty for 5 years, it needs the approval and agreement of the other 4 parties. Russia does not want to extend the Treaty, in part, because it does not want the other 3 FSU parties to have any role in the future of arms control. If the U.S. changes course now, and asks for an extension, then it will be admitting that the treaty will lapse and be replaced by nothing. Also, the absence of support for extension is not simply a reflection on the paperwork associated with the verification regime. Russia wants to deploy a MIRVed Topol; it can’t do that under START and therefore does not want to extend START.(Kyl’s letter gets at this. Yes, Russia is gaming the clock on the Topol, but its gaming for START expiration, not for a new START Treaty. Its been playing this game for over a year now, even when the Bush folks had no interest in a new START.) The U.S. also feels pinches from the Treaty, and wants out of some of the provisions. So, if you ask the U.S. military, you’ll hear that a 5 year extension may do more harm to U.S. security than a new Treaty that releases the U.S. from some of its START obligations.

    Second point, on strategic stability. I’ll agree fully with the Republican report that the U.S. should only sign a new Treaty if it serves U.S. security interests. But I’ll disagree fully with their attempt to define “serving U.S. security interests” as the equivalent of “reducing Russian delivery vehicles.” Yes, we will get a reduction of delivery vehicles for free. As you said, this may do more harm than good for strategic stability. But its also not the right measure of whether the treaty is in U.S. security interests. The Treaty puts U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons in a fixed box. The size of the box does not matter as much as the existence of the box. The box provides predictability and transparency for both sides, reducing the likelihood of misunderstandings and worst-case assessments. It also calls for extensive cooperation in monitoring and verification, which can build understanding and enhance confidence. The Treaty steps both sides back from a nuclear precipice. The Bush Admin did not think this was necessary because it thought we were far enough off the precipice anyway; if we still see risks from our nuclear relationship with Russia, then this Treaty can help reduce those risks. I really, really want to hear the Treaty’s supporters start to argue the case for the treaty on enhancing U.S. security, rather than on re-setting U.S.-Russian relations.

    A few more points (I know, I said I’d start with 2, but I’ve thought of more.) Kyl complains about Russian compliance with START and about the lack of a compliance report. Its worth remembering that we had only one (rather than one per year) during the whole Bush Admin because Paula DeSutter didn’t want to produce them (or tried to produce reports that were so far out in right field that she couldn’t get agreement). He’s complaining about a problem created by the a Republican Administration. Also, on verification, its likely that the Republicans will shoot massive holes in whatever verification regime new START has, and will be particularly scathing about the absence of provisions that were included in the original START. But this is the same team that accepted, without question, the entire absence of verification in the Moscow Treaty and is quite willing to let START, and all its verification expire. Hard to argue that verification is the key to new START when you were willing to live without any verification…

    Final point; the report harps on Russia’s nonstrategic nuclear weapons and insists that a new Treaty address the disparity. If you go back to the hearings on the Moscow Treaty (and even on START II) you’ll find that only the Democrats were concerned about Russia’s nonstrategic nuclear weapons. Rumsfeld and Powell admitted we didn’t address them in the Moscow Treaty, and said maybe we could talk about them in the working groups that we had agreed to have with the Russians. The Republicans didn’t seem to care. Now they care, but now the discrepency in U.S. and Russian nonstrategic nuclear weapons is actually smaller than it was in 2002. Go figure.

    I’ll stop here. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest….

    — anon · Oct 8, 08:33 AM ·
    4.

    An “execrable document” indeed, Jeffrey, which begs yet more criticism. Which I will forgo. But I have to ask about the last of its “principles”:

    6. A comprehensive nuclear modernization plan should accompany the treaty.

    Is this an attempt to revive something from the good (not-so-)old days for which none should have the slightest nostalgia, the RRW?

    — Chris Ritter · Oct 8, 08:37 AM ·
    5.

    Another sad fact – the Republicans aren’t even listening to the documented advice of their own wise men, those Cold War-era nuclear true believers who represented half of the Congressional Commission on the U.S. Strategic Posture, which gave a clear-headed, strong endorsement of a new treaty in their final document: “The moment appears ripe for a renewal of arms control with Russia, and this bodes well for a continued reduction in the nuclear arsenal. The United States and Russia should pursue a step-by-step approach and take a modest first step to ensure that there is a successor to START I when it expires at the end of 2009.”

    (Ignoring, for the moment, some of the less supportive comments a few members have made since that public statement.)

    — Stephen Young · Oct 8, 08:46 AM ·
    6.

    Pavel, thanks — I was more careless than I should have been. Have updated the Topol references to make clear the issue is that it is a MIRV’ed Topol that is the object of concern.

    — Jeffrey Lewis · Oct 8, 08:52 AM ·
    7.

    I am sorry, but I see no legal reason why you still couldn’t extend the treaty for 5 years by its plain terms. Anybody here disagree? I understand the policy reasons for more than mere extension, but I failed to see the “it’s [now] impossible” reasons—legally speaking.

    — anon · Oct 8, 09:58 AM ·
    8.

    Re: Stephen’s point about the RPC’s selective reading of the Strategic Posture Commission report, it’s important to note that while the RPC cites the Commission (by my count) 25 times, it omits the one Commission statement that is most relevant, which is the one Stephen cites above. For more on this, see here: http://nukesofhazardblog.com/story/2009/9/30/181133/392

    — Kingston · Oct 8, 10:54 AM ·
    9.

    “Russia wants to deploy a MIRVed Topol; it can’t do that under START and therefore does not want to extend START.(Kyl’s letter gets at this. . . .”

    START did not ban MIRVs. On the contrary, START permitted 6,000 warheads (4,900 attributed to ballistic missiles) and only 1,600 delivery vehicles, virtually enshrining MIRVs. START II banned MIRVs (only on land-based ICBMs), but that never went into effect.

    — Scott Monje · Oct 8, 11:01 AM ·
    10.

    Scott:

    START did, however, prohibit “increasing the number of warheads attributed to an ICBM or SLBM of an existing or new type…”

    Topol-M is attributed 1 warhead under START.

    Hence, the Russian claim that the RS-24 is a “new” missile, even though it doesn’t qualify as a “new type” under the START agreement.

    Pavel explained this very clearly in this post.

    — Jeffrey Lewis · Oct 8, 12:05 PM ·
    11.

    Jeffrey: Did you mean “MIRV’ed Topol-M”? :-) Speaking seriously, it is quite possible that RS-24 can be declared a new missile – if it’s throw-weight is declared to be 1250 kg and not 1200 kg of Topol-M -it’s the 21% increase in throw-weight rule (it’s not 1210 kg because TW is declared in increments of 50 kg). Given the rounding, the actual trow-weight could be, say, 1226 kg. I’m sure they could scrape up a few kilograms of throw-weight if they want to. I was told it’s not a big deal.

    — Pavel · Oct 8, 01:13 PM ·
    12.

    “ground-based interceptors in Poland could be fitted with nuclear weapons and become an offensive weapon like a Pershing and a weapon for which they would have virtually no warning time.”

    Couldn’t the same kind of decapitation without warning be achieved with a low observable aircraft like the B-2 or a low observable cruise missile like the AGM-129? A ballistic missile attack of any kind would seem inferior in this regard.

    — Rhyolite · Oct 10, 11:55 PM ·


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    Default Re: President Obama seeks Russia deal to slash nuclear weapons

    Strategic Rocket Forces


    Strategic Rocket Forces is a separate branch of the Russia's Armed Forces, subordinated directly to the General Staff. The Strategic Rocket Forces were demoted to this status from the status of a separate service of the Armed Forces by a presidential decree of 24 March 2001.

    The current commander of the Strategic Rocket Forces -- Lt.-General Andrei Shvaichenko -- was appointed to this post by a presidential decree of 3 August 2009.

    In July 2009, the Strategic Rocket Forces had 367 operational missile systems of four different types. Intercontinental ballistic missiles of these systems could carry 1248 warheads.
    Number of systems
    Total warheads


    Missile system
    Warheads


    Deployment
    R-36MUTTH/R-36M2 (SS-18)
    59
    10
    590

    Dombarovsky, Uzhur
    UR-100NUTTH (SS-19)
    70
    6
    420

    Kozelsk, Tatishchevo
    Topol (SS-25)
    174
    1
    174

    Teykovo, Yoshkar-Ola, Nizhniy Tagil, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, Barnaul, Vypolzovo
    Topol-M silo (SS-27)
    49
    1
    49

    Tatishchevo
    Topol-M mobile (SS-27)
    15
    1
    15

    Teykovo
    Total
    367

    1248




    Strategic Rocket Forces units

    Strategic Rocket Forces include three missile armies: the 27th Guards Missile Army (headquarters in Vladimir), the 31st Missile Army (Orenburg), the 33rd Guards Missile Army (Omsk). The 53rd Missile Army (Chita) was disbanded in 2002. It appears that the 31st Missile Army (Orenburg) will be liquidated by 2016.

    As of July 2009, the missile armies included 11 missile divisions with operational ICBMs.

    Number of missiles


    Missile division


    Missile system
    27th Guards Missile Army (Vladimir)


    Tatishchevo: 60th MD (Tatishchevo-5, Svetlyy)
    41

    UR-100NUTTH (SS-19)

    49

    Topol-M silo (SS-27)
    Kozelsk: 28th GMD
    29

    UR-100NUTTH (SS-19)
    Vypolzovo: 7th GMD (Ozernyy, Bologoye-4)
    18

    Topol (SS-25)
    Teykovo: 54th GMD (Krasnyye Sosenki)
    3

    Topol (SS-25)

    15
    Topol-M mobile (SS-27)
    Yoshkar-Ola: 14th MD
    27

    Topol (SS-25)
    31st Missile Army (Rostoshi, Orenburg)


    Dombarovsky: 13th MD (Yasnyy)
    31

    R-36MUTTH/R-36M2 (SS-18)
    Nizhniy Tagil: 42nd MD (Verkhnyaya Salda, Nizhniy Tagil-41, Svobodnyy)
    27

    Topol (SS-25)
    33rd Guards Missile Army (Omsk)


    Uzhur: 62nd MD (Uzhur-4, Solnechnyy)
    28

    R-36MUTTH/R-36M2 (SS-18)
    Novosibirsk: 39th GMD (Novosibirsk-95, Pashino, Gvardeiskiy)
    36

    Topol (SS-25)
    Irkutsk: 51st GMD (Zelenyy)
    27

    Topol (SS-25)
    Barnaul: 35th MD (Sibirskiy-2)
    36

    Topol (SS-25)

    MD - Missile Division, GMD - Guards Missile Division
    Missile systems

    R-36MUTTH (also known as RS-20B and SS-18) and R-36M2 (RS-20V, SS-18) missiles were developed by the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau (Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine). R-36MUTTH missiles were deployed in 1979-1983, R-36M2 -- in 1988-1992. The missiles were produced by the Yuzhnyy Machine-Building Plant (Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine). The missiles have two liquid-fuel stages and can carry 10 warheads. The Strategic Rocket Forces plans to keep all R-36M2 missiles in service. With service lives extended to 25-30 years as planned, R-36M2 missiles could remain in operation until about 2016-2020.

    UR-100NUTTH (SS-19) missiles were developed by the Machine-Building NPO (Reutov, Moscow oblast) and were deployed in 1979-1984. The missiles were produced by the M. V. Khrunichev Machine Building Plant (Moscow). The missile has two liquid-fuel stages and can carry 6 warheads. A number of missiles have been removed from service, but after a series of test launches service life of the missile was extended to more than 30 years, so some of them could be kept in service.

    Road-mobile Topol (SS-25) missile system was developed at the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology. The systems were deployed in 1985-1992. The missile has three solid-propellant stages and carries single warhead. The missiles were produced at the Votkinsk Machine-Building Plant. The currently deployed missiles are close to the end of their service lives and are being withdrawn from service.

    Topol-M (SS-27) and RS-24 missile systems have been developed at the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology. Topol-M exists in two versions -- silo-based and road-mobile. Deployment of the silo-based version began in 1997. The road-mobile version has completed flight tests in December 2004. The first mobile missiles began service in December 2006. The missile has three solid-propellant stages and was initially developed as a single-warhead missile. In 2007 Russia began tests of a MIRVed version of the Topol-M mobile missile, which was designated RS-24. It is likely that this missile will be deployed starting in December 2009.

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