Join 3,564 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Russia suspends dismantling weapons:
March 12, 2001 12:34 AM   Subscribe

Russia suspends dismantling weapons: “IF THE NMD (national missile defense) is deployed in the United States, we will have to forget about reductions of strategic offensive weapons,” said Yuri Kapralov, director of Russian Security and Disarmament.
posted by owillis (16 comments total)

 
Can anyone provide more background information relating to this? My question is, where is the proof that Russia did indeed reduce strategic offensive weapons in the first place? It seems rather premature for them to roll out the Topol-M, as though it required no testing.

posted by Nathan at 1:09 AM on March 12, 2001


Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended the dismantling of nuclear warheads called for under the START II treaty with the United States on President Bush’s inauguration day, NBC News has learned.

Sounds more to me like Russia decided to suspend dismantling first and went hunting for an excuse after the fact.
posted by aaron at 1:15 AM on March 12, 2001



Thanks, aaron.
posted by Nathan at 1:28 AM on March 12, 2001


> Sounds more to me like Russia decided to suspend
> dismantling first and went hunting for an excuse
> after the fact.

And Russia could say the same about the US: that the US wants to expand its missile system, treaties be damned, just as long as it keeps those dollars flowing to defense contractors; 'rogue states' are a convenient excuse.
posted by pracowity at 2:44 AM on March 12, 2001


Of course the Russians are being totally unreasonable, the Americans on the other hand...
posted by lagado at 3:43 AM on March 12, 2001


pracowity: except, IIRC from NPR yesterday, the US is soon to scale down from ~5000 warheads to ~1500. That's a faster decrease than is called for by the treaty.
At least, that's what I remember. No link right now. It's still early :P
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:58 AM on March 12, 2001


We don't need the warheads anymore. Our global attack capabilities are such that we are less dependent on the missiles to threaten the rest of the world, and everyone knows that we are fairly unwilling to use them. Conventional systems provide a greater and more flexible threat, are more scalably deployable, and most importantly, leave a lot more room for R&D and other ways for contractor budgets to balloon. Secret fighter-bombers and such; that's where the money is. So scaling down the wartheads is not such a big deal for the US anymore.
posted by donkeymon at 8:21 AM on March 12, 2001


> the US is soon to scale down

I don't know; I haven't seen this story. But for now, let's assume that it's correct.

1. There is no such thing as a US missile system or a Russian or Chinese or British or French or Korean or Iraqi missile system. They all work together. One launch here causes another launch there. One missile inventory change here causes two or three missile inventory changes there and there and there. It's one big scary system that you have to be very careful with.

2. The term 'defense' in 'national missile defense' muddies the waters. All missiles are defensive or offensive. A missile that eliminates the enemy's missile and allows your missile to get to its target is not strictly defensive. An 'offensive' missile that keeps an enemy from starting something is as much 'defensive' as anything else.

Now:

If the US reduces its number of 'offensive' missiles -- but still keeps enough to destroy the earth, of course -- and it deploys other ('defensive') missiles to supposedly reduce the effectiveness of the 'offensive' missiles the other guys (Russia, China, etc.) have, and if the other guys then have to scale up their 'offensive' missiles to compensate for your new scheme, have you scaled anything down?

The way to scale down is to just scale down, not to scale down here and build up there. And cooperate. If the US is building the NMD simply to prevent those little rascals they like to call 'rogue states' from shooting something at the US, the US should cooperate with other nations (Russia and China, for example) to effectively reduce that threat through a comprehensive program that may or may not include yet another missile system added to the mix.

If the US goes its own way and ends up increasing the total instability and danger in the world's combined missile system, the US will be a much more dangerous 'rogue state' than any North Korean or Iraqi bogeymen.
posted by pracowity at 8:24 AM on March 12, 2001


Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended the dismantling of nuclear warheads called for under the START II treaty with the United States on President Bush’s inauguration day, NBC News has learned.

Well of course. Both Gore and Bush were for this onworkable fiction. This stupid thing will only defend the defense budget, but it'll antagonize the rest of the world. Dolts.

the US should cooperate with other nations (Russia and China, for example) to effectively reduce that threat through a comprehensive program

I.e., wage peace. Our Presidents don't know how to do that though.
posted by capt.crackpipe at 10:24 AM on March 12, 2001


Let's just all hold hands and sing Shiny Happy People while we waste money dismantling mass-destruction weapons that are never going to be fired anyway.
posted by fusinski at 11:25 AM on March 12, 2001


That is, weapons of mass-destruction. Darned copy/paste... :)
posted by fusinski at 11:31 AM on March 12, 2001


Criminy, Aaron, you're acting as though Bush suddenly invented the NMD proposal last week, when he's been talking it up in stump speeches since 1999. Somehow, I think that's enough time for the Russians to get wind of his feelings.

The fact is that the United States is seeking to change the relationship, and Russia is reacting to us. Now, we're perfectly within our rights to do so, but we have to recognize that other actors are independent as well. If we really want a safer world, the most important thing we need right now is fewer nuclear weapons. Remember, we don't have NMD yet, but right now there are 5-6000 warheads out there with our names on them -- just as we have 5-6000 with "Kursk", "St. Petersburg", "Vladivostok" inked on their side. Right now. Are we going to retain this MAD system for the chimera of a proposal that demonstrably cannot work?

We can get an NMD but we'd better be prepared to come to a new agreement that incorporates it.

Remember, there have been American troops on Russian soil. But there haven't ever been Russians on American territory. Who's justifiably suspicious here?
posted by dhartung at 11:51 AM on March 12, 2001


Seems to me that the cold war is heating up a bit. Just today I read that Russia selling mucho tech, nueclear stuff to Iran, its new and proclaimed buddy. And read in NY Rev of Books that we bombed Iraq not as routine but rather because Serbian govt had earlier given (sold) fiber optic radar materials to Iraq and that Chinese technicians were setting it up.
I am getting the impression that Russia, China, Iran etc are getting palsy in order to offset our presence. Note too that Russian and Iran talking about our perhaps being too intrusive in Caspian Sea area and that the oil there is mostly going to Iran and a few others.
Dhartung raises the issue that Russia might be justified in their fear of us, but heck, it has been some time since we had troops in Russia--that was in a different country and besides the regime is dead--all we need do is look at the earlier manifestation of the cold war: each side simply builds cause the other is thought to, and on and on. The game currently known as Tit for Tat in game theory.
What is odd is that we send lots of help to Russia, or did, and then they sell to those we oppose, and then we must further arm because our potential enemies are getting better equipped. And so it goes...on and on and on.
posted by Postroad at 4:51 PM on March 12, 2001


fusinski wrote:
> Let's just all hold hands and sing Shiny Happy People
> while we waste money dismantling mass-destruction
> weapons that are never going to be fired anyway.

You would rather save a few dollars than defuse (literally) a situation that could wipe out all of humanity forever?
posted by pracowity at 5:08 AM on March 13, 2001


Wha? Russia is no longer dismantling ICBMs? We can't take this sitting down! We must react! We need a National Missle Defense Shield now more than ever!
posted by daveadams at 11:41 AM on March 13, 2001


I.e., wage peace. Our Presidents don't know how to do that though.


Wanna bet? (Extra hint: We're here. They fell apart. No war. That's peace.)

Criminy, Aaron, you're acting as though Bush suddenly invented the NMD proposal last week, when he's been talking it up in stump speeches since 1999. Somehow, I think that's enough time for the Russians to get wind of his feelings.

It doesn't matter. All presidential candidates talk up certain things during the campaign and then drop them once in office. And there's also the little inconvenience of Bill Clinton publicly toying with the same NMD system for quite some time over the last couple years.

Unless there was some secret mass implementation of NMD research that commenced at 1 pm on January 20, the Russians broke the treaty first.

The fact is that the United States is seeking to change the relationship, and Russia is reacting to us.

Over the last few years, Russia has rather dramatically lowered its doomsday threshhold, the point at which they'd go nuclear. They no longer even bother to claim that they'd never launch unless we did first. There are now any number of conventional-force-only scenarios, many that don't even involve the US, under which they'll now use their nukes. Why? Because they can't afford to keep up their own conventional forces any more. They have thus publicly made themselves more of a threat, and we're reacting to them.

Remember, there have been American troops on Russian soil. But there haven't ever been Russians on American territory. Who's justifiably suspicious here?

Russian troops have been on American soil.

the US should cooperate with other nations (Russia and China, for example) to effectively reduce that threat through a comprehensive program...

Problem: They tend to lie. Especially the Chinese these days.
posted by aaron at 10:38 PM on March 13, 2001



« Older No men:...  |  Howard Kurtz gives Henry "Amaz... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments