5 February marks five years of the entry into force of the Treaty between Russia and the USA on measures for the further reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. Signed in April 2010 in Prague by presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama, it is also called the Prague Treaty, or start-3. The difficult path to the conclusion of this agreement, its implications for the two countries and possible continuation of the joint work of Moscow and Washington on the strategic arms reduction said academician of RAS, Director of the Center for international security IMEMO Alexei Arbatov.
– Was 5 years old, as entered into force on start-3 or, in other words, the Prague Treaty between Russia and the USA on measures for the further reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms. It is believed that he has come to replace start-1, and before it had even the salt-2 Treaty and the Treaty on strategic offensive reductions, which practically did not work – neither the one nor the other. And the question arises: why the Prague agreement was a long and controversial path and what is its importance for our country?
Why was this path? Because in 90-e years of the last century, the situation of the parties was unequal. Russia’s position in the negotiations, quite frankly, was not very strong. Since politics is the art of the possible, we agreed as we could. Otherwise, because of the decline of the Russian strategic forces and their division between the former Soviet republics, the Americans, not hitting a finger, would have superiority
– Two questions here. Let’s start with the first. Why was this path? Because in 90-e years of the last century, the situation of the parties was unequal. Russia’s position in the negotiations, quite frankly, was not very strong. Since politics is the art of the possible, we agreed as we could. Otherwise, because of the decline of the Russian strategic forces and their division between the former Soviet republics, the Americans, not hitting a finger, gain a superiority. Even the long-suffering start-2 Treaty, which the State Duma for seven years did not want to miss at the time was temporarily acceptable. The only thing in the Treaty for us was not good enough, is the timing of the reduction. At the time there was determined that Russia could not deploy the required number of cased missiles, and required that we removed all its missiles with multiple warheads land-based, and instead launched a monoblock. And only the coming to power of Vladimir Putin and the new Duma after the 1999 elections allowed the Treaty immediately to ratify it. But not in the previous edition, with Supplement, in which the reduction time was extended to five years.
However, the American Senate which ratified the Treaty in 1996, not became to ratify with the agreed amendment. And the start-2 Treaty did not come into legal force. Then the USA led by George Bush and said that we are no treaties at all. “Why do we have treaties with Russia on strategic weapons? We are not enemies. Here with France and Britain we do not store any such negotiations, he said. – We are friends, we are partners, we together make the operation in Afghanistan… No, they don’t need”.
The contract on reduction of strategic offensive arms, start-3
And all our arguments, because we are not allies, then these agreements need because we have a large force within striking distance of each other, and need to maintain strategic stability, Americans strongly from them didn’t want. But still we prevail upon them to sign the Treaty on strategic offensive reductions. By the way, I must mention, there is still an interim framework contract start-3, and he corrected the mistakes that were contained in the contract start-2, there was no ban on multi-charged ground missiles. In the end, the new Treaty on strategic offensive potentials (SNP, as it was called) was signed in 2002, and it formally established the limits on the warheads of strategic nuclear forces.
– Between 1,700 and 2,200.
– Yes, between 1,700 and 2,200. We have this Treaty ratified. But it remained by and large the Protocol of intentions, because it was not possible to develop any rules for counting or monitoring system. Although strategic force due to aging, the withdrawal of legacy funds, due to the fact that very few new tools were introduced, and the Americans almost nothing entered, they are to that level (2200 – approx.) by the end of the decade and came by themselves. This winding path to the Treaty of Prague was explained by both economic and political, and geopolitical aspects. And actually it turned out that we have a complete and full agreement with the United States after the start-1 was almost 20 years. Until that moment, was ratified and entered into force the new start Treaty, or the Treaty of Prague.
– What does this Prague agreement?
– The new Prague Treaty for us and for the Americans so differently. For them is predictability and transparency. Nothing more.
For us with limited resources, even as we have nuclear weapons to allocate more funds, still the U.S. and Russia are not comparable to economic opportunities, – this agreement ensures that we will not be reduced unilaterally. Americans will decline with us.
And this is a unique feature of this agreement. Let me remind you that under the terms of the contract should not be more than 700 deployed carriers on each side (land and sea missiles and heavy bombers) and no more than 1550 warheads. Moreover, the counting of bombers is very conditional. Agreed to assume: one bomber – one charge, though the bomber can be so much more. These are the most important parameters.
In addition, under this Treaty, Russia could not reduce but rather to increase the number of their arms to pull myself up to the designated ceilings in it. We began mass withdrawal of combat fleet of obsolete weapons systems and those systems that were not serviced properly in the 90-ies. Their number is rapidly decreasing. Instead, much less introduced a new. In other words, we reduce its missiles themselves, regardless of the contract. And that entered, pulling up to the ceilings. In this case, the media we are behind ceilings, something that has never happened in history. We unwittingly took on such a counter-plan, but we have today and the shortfall in carriers.
– Open data, for January of the present year 525 media and 1,800 nuclear warheads.
– Yes, and the ceiling is 700. This is an important feature – we, unlike Americans, are not reduced to a specified level, and raised towards him from below. And the advantage of the Treaty that preserved the conditions of par. At a time when Americans could do nothing, and we still would decrease unilaterally. For us it is very important that the par. This prestige is a status, it’s military security.
– It is also a confirmation of the fact that Russia’s security and the security of the United States are equal.
Let me remind you when we signed the contract start-1, we have, and they had more than 10 thousand warheads on strategic carriers. And now less than two thousand. This is five to six times less than in 1991. But we keep a huge destructive power, even with what we have, and the contract remain a nuclear superpower equal to the United States. Do not give in here
– Yes. With regard to the most destructive types of weapons. They admitted it. And the recognized par. This parity with all other asymmetries in the economy, the allies in conventional weapons – we do not just remain as a nuclear power and a nuclear superpower. Of course, now the levels are almost an order of magnitude less than they were during the cold war. Let me remind you when we signed the contract start-1, we have, and they had more than 10 thousand warheads on strategic carriers. And now less than two thousand. This is five to six times less than in 1991. But we keep a huge destructive power, even with what we have, and the contract remain a nuclear superpower equal to the United States. Do not give in here.
However, after 2020 they will start their update cycle of strategic nuclear forces. And we don’t know yet that they will develop and be deployed. But until this parity is maintained. And for us, this prestigious moment is very important. And the moment safe too. At equal ceilings we can choose its strategic nuclear forces to plan. Any post on mobile ground complexes, some in mine, some train… we Have a big freedom of hands. The new start Treaty, unlike previous treaties, no structural restrictions are not imposed. Either way, the Prague Treaty was useful. Of course, it was better to do. But what I did, and thank you for it. Indeed, during the Bush eight years before that lost.
– In the preamble to the agreement recorded the growing link between strategic offensive arms and strategic defensive arms and that if you violate this relationship one of the parties may withdraw from start-3. While the US continues building the missile defense systems. Deployed missile deployment area in Romania, is preparing for a deployment to such an area in Poland, U.S. ships with missile defense system Aegis in the Mediterranean sea are, often come in Black… How does this affect the implementation of the Prague agreement?
– Of course, all these steps do not improve the atmosphere around him. But diplomacy, speaking in plain language, sometimes uses this technique as “zamnem for clarity”. What is the relationship between offensive and defensive? It is such age-old formula about the relationship between offensive and defense. And what it would imply? It is not very clear. Now, if in the preamble it was clearly stated that the implementation of the contract impossible if it continued the build-up of missile defence system, that’s different. Then it would be understandable: there’s a disturbance – we come out. But it says very vaguely. And these words can be interpreted so that in the course of reducing strategic offensive weapons necessary to develop a defensive system – at least to increase the survivability of strategic forces. This is also a relationship.
Now we are strengthening air-space defense. It is one of the major programs. We do not believe that we have something broken. And there are a variety of systems, including the modernization of the Moscow missile defense system and s-500, which say that she will be able to intercept Intercontinental ballistic missiles. But we do not believe that this is a violation.
But in the contract there is no ban on the development and testing of missile defense systems. The main thing is that they have not been deployed.
When we concluded the Treaty, the Americans have already deployed a missile defense, and claim that they, as in the ABM Treaty of 1972, agreed to limit their systems to one or two positional areas, it was impossible. Recognized as some kind of abstract relationship. And now, each party interprets it in his own way
– When we entered into an agreement, the Americans have already deployed a missile defense, and claim that they, as in the ABM Treaty of 1972, agreed to limit their systems to one or two positional areas, it was impossible. Recognized as some kind of abstract relationship. And now, each party interprets in its own way.
This suggests that the contract is for two parties does not mean the same thing. There in the preamble also has a provision that current strategic defensive systems “do not undermine the viability and effectiveness of strategic offensive arms of the parties”. Existing it tools deployed or adopted development program? It is written very vaguely. The only thing we can say for sure that until the expiration of the contract, up to 2020 what we do in the area, and what the Americans are doing, does not undermine the stability and security of the parties. And not an obstacle to the performance of the contract.
– And, probably, last question. There is a new start, Prague Treaty. What’s next? Is there any prospect of further talks on strategic arms reduction or will it be the last contract that we signed with the United States? There are voices that there are other nuclear powers who must join with our bilateral relations on the reduction of strategic offensive arms.
– Maybe it’s the latest contract. But it would be very bad. From different points of view. First, because the Americans after 2020 will start modernization of its nuclear forces, which they did not do in the last 20 years. And they plan to allocate $900 billion. Compare. All of our state armaments Program – 2020 by current rate of exchange is around $350 billion. The whole program at SAIs, in the Navy, army, missile… And here only on the triad – ground missile systems, nuclear submarines and strategic bombers, not even including any ABM system, nor the space. This is just the triad and its information management tools.
We can assume that this will be a new generation. And if it happens in the full freedom of hands, both quantitatively and qualitatively, I think we will return to the state of the early 90-ies, when a resource did not allow us to maintain parity. And given the progress of Americans in the information management field, I think it would be an entirely new weapon. We therefore unprofitable to keep them full freedom.
Besides, it’s bad for another reason: when there is no contract, no contact between professionals, between the military, diplomats. Sides far apart in the perception of nuclear reality. The role of nuclear weapons. When it can be applied, and when it is justified or not. Completely broke in the understanding of strategic stability. And God forbid, some new crisis, and we might suddenly be in a nuclear war and all die. Avoided the disaster for half a century cold war, and then suddenly tear.
Besides nuclear weapons, there is a problem of high-precision systems. A new Treaty, we are told, does not distinguish between nuclear rockets and missiles with conventional equipment. There are limited carriers and warheads without reference to their class. So that high-precision missiles with conventional equipment are also subject to this agreement. But if the ceilings are low, you can’t deploy them in large numbers.
The only thing new rocket plan or aeroballistics systems require new definition. In earlier treaties, and this is the definition of aerodynamic systems: bombers, cruise missiles, which are now in agreement there, but there used to be, and ballistic systems. But those who are symbiosis: starts as a ballistic missile, then dives and flies like a hypersonic aircraft is of aerodynamic type, the agreement does not. It is necessary to develop. Techies and diplomats need a definition to define it. And in range, and around. And they should be included.
Difficult it will be with cruise missiles. Sea, and air. Limit them by including in the contract will be difficult. We make them Americans do. They they have many. Do I have to set them very high ceilings or low to go on the restrictions on their use in local transactions? If such a limitation appears, we are your “Gauges” the terrorists will not be released. Especially so generously.
It is important for us to negotiate with the Americans in the period after 2020. On the one hand, that there be no full freedom of the hands. And to have a General understanding of the nature of nuclear deterrence and the dangers of irresponsible use of nuclear weapons in politics and war
For the first time in the next start the main problem will be not inside the offensive balance, paired – missile defense and precision conventional systems. How to bind and cover? Direct restrictions or confidence building measures so that they did not cause fear? And it will be very difficult negotiations, especially since the missile defense system, and the system of high-precision long-range missiles in conventional equipment makes not only Russia and the USA. They spread around the world. And China does, and India does, and Israel does, in many countries. The Chinese and us, and Americans with high-precision non-nuclear missile in some ways even surpassed.
And about the third nuclear powers? We say that the disarmament process must be multilateral. In principle, this is correct. But no need so far to exaggerate the role of other powers. Because 90% of the nuclear Arsenal around the world still belongs to Russia and the USA. Both strategic and operational-tactical and medium-range. The latter is also we have in aviation and the sea.
Another issue is that in China we can’t just close my eyes. We, first, do not know exactly how much and what they have. What on the earth’s surface, aviation and fleet, we see. But what they have in the tunnels, no one knows. As for the rest? Britain and France have been reducing their strategic forces. They have them only at sea. India and Pakistan hundreds are aimed at each other. Iran for ten years refused those programs that could make it a nuclear power. Israel has probably hundreds of warheads. They are not against us, but against the Arab and Persian neighbors. North Korea is a dangerous, unpredictable country, but also not against us. Well a dozen or two warheads they have. Therefore, the connection of the third countries to the negotiations is the topic of a special work, special studies. And requires serious consideration on the political, diplomatic and military and scientific level.
So what about third countries, I would not hurry. It is important for us to negotiate with the Americans in the period after 2020. On the one hand, that there be no full freedom of the hands. And to have a General understanding of the nature of nuclear deterrence and the dangers of irresponsible use of nuclear weapons in politics and war. These weapons are suitable to deter a nuclear attack and large-scale aggression with conventional forces, but more, perhaps, for anything. The leaders of the USSR and the USA came to this understanding in the 70-80-ies of the last century, but in recent years, this reason is forgotten, and it doesn’t interfere mutually confirm. This, in my opinion, the most important thing.
Interviewed by military commentator Viktor Litovkin