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  • What’s 2 + 2? When the Russians Say 3, START to Worry

    Trust, but don’t bother to verify. That is the Obama Administration’s latest message about how the United States of America ought to manage the most fearsome weapons known to man.

    There are severe deficiencies in the New START arms control treaty. In particular, the means for verifying that Russia is actually in compliance with the provisions of the treaty are grossly inadequate. Recent testimony by an Obama Administration official on this issue is stunning: if Russia cheats, America won’t terribly mind because we’re in a “good position” anyway.

    On Tuesday, three senior U.S. officials tried to sell this absurdity to the Senate Armed Services Committee, but some of the Senators didn’t buy it:

    [Senator John McCain]: “General Chilton [commander of U.S. Strategic Command], do you agree with the unclassified statement in the State Department Verification Assessment that ‘any cheating by the Russians would have little, if any, effect?’

    [General Chilton]: Senator McCain, I do agree with that…

    [Senator McCain]: There’s no logic to your statements… to say that [cheating] has ‘’little if any effect’, then we’ve been wasting a lot of time and money on negotiations.

    Chilton’s response is disturbing on its own, but during the same hearing, Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy James Miller added that if we detect cheating, the U.S. would raise the issue for discussion in the new, treaty-created Bilateral Consultative Commission (BCC). The BCC will be responsible for negotiating and resolving concerns among parties and will not be overseen by the Senate.

    New START fundamentally fails to set up verification measures that are on par with previous arms treaties:

    • Inspections of Russian facilities will be reduced in number;
    • Our ability to monitor the telemetry of Russian test flights will be weakened; and
    • We will be unable to verify the number of deployed nuclear weapons on their ballistic missiles.

    In short, New START will not help America prevent or detect even large-scale Russian cheating.

    There is no need to rush New START through Senate ratification—especially in light of the treaty’s numerous problems and the failure of the Obama Administration to adequately address them. Instead, as Heritage experts Kim Holmes and Baker Spring argue that a “protect and defend” strategy would be a better way of achieving arms control. Primarily defensive, such a strategy would discourage the real problem: the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to What’s 2 + 2? When the Russians Say 3, START to Worry

    1. Robert, Edmonton Alb says:

      What is particularly worrisome is the inability to verify warheads on launchers right at the time the Russians are developing and intending to deploy the Bulava SLBM capable of carrying 10 MIRVs and the brand new RS-24 ICBM also able to carry ten MIRVs.

      Under this scenario it is incredible dangerous to lower our launcher number to 700 with a large number of them on 10 to 12 Trident submarines. If our Tridents ever became vulnerable the entire triad could be placed at risk from a first strike.

      A much more stabilizing treaty would be banning or greatly reducing launchers that could carry MIRVs yet at the same time increasing the number of launchers under treaty limits. That formula would make a decapitation strike impossible and lead to long term strategic stability.

    2. Paul Johnson, Wiscon says:

      Still fighting the Cold War, eh?

    3. JOHN says:

      If our Tridents ever became vulnerable, we are DEAD! Please moderate my comments. Russia is one of many that can attack us, even our "friends" are

      looking for an opportunity.

      God is our only protection. How does the US stand with Him?

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