The world’s security system will have another global change. After last year’s cancellation of the contract between the United States and Russia on the limitation of intermediate-range in the near future the same fate awaits another major Treaty – on the limitation of strategic offensive arms. Why does Washington intend to abandon this most important document, understood the “Apostrophe”.
The end of U.S.-Russian nuclear parity
Although U.S. foreign policy under the presidency of Donald trump quite rightly criticised for chaotic and unsystematic nature, there is one direction in which the Republican administration has remained consistent throughout his term. The issue is the removal of Treaty restrictions on strategic nuclear arsenals – as those inherited since the end of the cold war, and relatively new, is signed by the predecessors of the trump.
One of the first trump destroyed the “nuclear deal” with Iran, the prisoner and his predecessor Barack Obama. Further to the dustbin of history went the Treaty on the limitation of intermediate-range missiles, of which the US was released in August 2019. Now increasingly hear the statement that almost the last still existing document – the Treaty on the limitation of strategic offensive arms (start-3) – too long.
The start-3 Treaty was signed between the US and Russia in 2010 for a period of 10 years (expires on 5 February 2021) with a renewal option of 5 years by agreement of the parties. Under its provisions, the parties agreed to establish parity in nuclear weapons with limits to 1,550 nuclear warheads and a limited number of ballistic missiles, submarines with nuclear missiles and strategic bombers. Then the deal was mutually beneficial, because each party received their asymmetric advantage.
“The start-3 Treaty gave the Americans a wide range of controls over Russian nuclear Arsenal, because it provided for the mutual exchange of technical information, access monitoring missions and the like. And Russia has got a symbolic cementing its status as a military super-state, at least in some equal rival of the United States. But the fact that the total amount of nuclear weapons allowed by the agreement, Russia never reached due to economic and technological failure to contain such an Arsenal. Therefore, the parity existed only on paper, USA this entire period kept the advantage,” explained “Apostrophe” chief consultant, Department of military and military-economic policy of the National Institute for strategic studies Mykola Beleskov.
Why, then, the United States decided to abandon this favorable Treaty, which Russia, in contrast to the same Treaty intermediate and short range, not even had a chance to break? The white house calls official reason. Marshall Billingsley, the official representative of the President for arms control, said in an interview with the Washington Times that without participation in the program of control and limitation of strategic offensive arms of the States China I see no reason to bother prohibitions and restrictions. And the only chance to save the Contract will be engaging in negotiations on reductions in China, which has long been concerned about U.S. active growth of defense capabilities.
The China factor
From a strategic point of view, the appeal of Washington to China really makes sense. After all, Moscow has long been “blown away”, losing to the Beijing first place in the list of strategic rivals America. And if and maintain contractual limitations on offensive weapons, it is not exactly the country from the old Soviet Arsenal and a weak economy.
Shanghai, people’s Republic of China
“In Russia, the United States do not see a strategic threat, and therefore seek to involve new contractual restrictions is China. In fact, States are moving course, announced in the beginning of the term of Donald trump in its implementation, they are quite persistent”, – told the “Apostrophe” Deputy Director of the Dnieper branch of the National Institute for strategic studies Alex izsák.
Although Donald trump clearly became an active President on “anti-China” front, the idea that Beijing, not Moscow – the main rival, and it was his arsenals and arms should follow, not invented it. Such thoughts began to be voiced at the beginning of zero and since then only gaining momentum. Which gives every reason to believe that even in case of loss of trump on the next election and the arrival of the democratic administration, the nuclear deal with Russia will not rush to roll over.
“This strategy was designed at the turn of the century. One of the first was Condoleezza rice, who in an article for the publication Foreign Affairs in 2000 formulated the thesis that Russia is “not equal” to the United States, and there is no reason to artificially maintain a contractual system created in the Soviet Union. After all, everybody understands that, given the economic opportunities, no serious arms race, Russia will not pull. So what is trump, this is in some ways a continuation of the strategy of George W. Bush. Although we can not exclude that the situation is blown on the eve of elections in the United States,” – said in an interview with “Apostrophe” americanist, associate Professor of the Institute of international relations of Kyiv national Taras Shevchenko Sergei Galaka.
However, in certain concept – a new contract only with China – there is one significant problem. In the case of the collapse of the Treaty on missiles and medium-range to China was a real claim. While Moscow and Washington have maintained a mutual restraint, China riveted hundreds of missiles and thousands. But in the case of nuclear weapons this logic is not working. According to official data, China’s nuclear Arsenal of approximately 300 nuclear warheads, five times less than in the US, and resource for its rapid increase in Beijing there is. Therefore, the response of China that while the United States and Russia would reduce arsenals to his level to sit at the negotiating table makes no sense, seems logical argument.
“China’s engagement in agreements to limit strategic nuclear arsenals today is unreal. The Chinese Arsenal for all indicators is not like the us and Russia. In the near future that the Americans with the Russians would reduce their arsenals to Chinese levels, it looks very doubtful. How questionable is the ability of China to dramatically increase its own nuclear force, despite similar statements in the Chinese media,” said Nikolai Beleskov.
A new arms race
Thus, if the motivation to put China at the table of the nuclear talks is only a facade of American intentions, the question arises: why do States so purposefully dismantle the regime of restrictions of nuclear weapons and their means of delivery? Really, in order to again to drive his opponents into a debilitating arms race, as it happened in the second half of the 20th century?
Nuclear Intercontinental ballistic missile “Titan” in the mine, USA, Arizona
This thesis looks doubtful at least in view of these economic realities. A little hard to believe that during coronavirus crisis, which has not reached all its proportions, and already comes on the heels of the great Depression, someone in their right mind would throw away trillions of dollars in the arms race.
Experts believe that the new nuclear madness sample of the 1950s and 1960s will not come. However, the confrontation between the US and China in the future will only increase, and the military capacity of the PRC. And leave yourself constrained with restrictions, while Beijing is completely free in its ambitions and plans, Washington does not want.
“The strategic goal of the United States is the creation of the Treaty system, which will cover a wider range of countries that can build an Arsenal of offensive weapons that can provide a threat to the United States. Same same China in 10-20 years can be compared with the United States. Moreover, the system of accounting for and control of nuclear warheads is already outdated, need to monitor a much larger range of weapons. So the American idea is not only that the new agreement should be multilateral, but also to propagate for much more categories of offensive weapons,” – said Alexey izsák.
Do not forget that the restrictions and control of strategic weapons – a legacy of the cold war ended 30 years ago. And it is not surprising that the international restrictive agreements gradually lose their relevance and power. The start-3 Treaty, whose death is very real – just another milestone along the way. Another thing is that to conclude an appropriate time, an alternative to these treaties no hurry. So it’s time to get used to the fact that the arms race and nuclear madness the world is separated not signed the document, and the economy, logic and common sense…