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Nuclear News - 05/28/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 28 May, 1999

A. Russian Nuclear Forces
1. Season of Discontent: Kremlin Keen On Limited Atomic War,Moscow Times(05/27/99)

B. ABM, Missile Defense
1. Russia Blasts US on Missile Defense, Associated Press (05/27/99)
2. Foreign Ministry Slams U.S. Congress for Approving New Missile System, RFE/RL Newsline (05/28/99)

C. U.S.-Russian Relations
1. Weapons Spreading, Washington Post (05/28/99)
A. Russian Nuclear Forces
Season of Discontent: Kremlin Keen On Limited Atomic War
Andrei Piontkovsky
Moscow Times
May 27, 1999
(for personal only)

Since the time that the Soviet Union and the United States established nuclear parity, and mutual suicide became the only possible result ofnuclear war, enthusiasts of the use of nuclear weapons - Dr.Strangeloves on both sides of the ocean - have been looking for a wayout of this dead end.

In the United States, these intellectual quests found their expressioninPresident Richard Nixon's May 3, 1975, message to the U.S. Congress,"United States Foreign Policy for the 1970s." He wrote: "The presidentshould not be put in a situation in which his only possible response isan all-out nuclear strike on the cities of the enemy. The president musthave a wide choice of alternative responses to various possible hostileacts. If the United States has the means to use its strategic forces ina limited, controlled way, then the probability of a nuclear responsewill be more reliable."

Now, exactly 26 years later, the Russian Security Council has (if myusually well-informed colleague Pavel Felgenhauer is to be believed)added to its arsenal the concept of Dr. Viktor Mikhailov, deputy head ofRussia's Nuclear Power Ministry. "Today the consequences of the use ofnuclear weapons are viewed as so horrific that no one will dare usethem. As a result, a real nuclear war has become, in essence,impossible. Nuclear pressure will again become an effective politicalinstrument if the threat of nuclear strikes is made more real. For that,it is necessary to have the possibility to inflict 'pinpoint,' low-yieldnuclear strikes on military targets located anywhere on the globe. In sodoing, it is assumed (!) that such 'pinpoint' strikes will not bringabout an immediate global nuclear war."

The textual concurrence between the Nixon-73 and the Mikhailov-99doctrines is striking. The single original element in the Russiandoctrine is the introduction of the concept of a "pinpoint nuclearstrike." The apparent inspiration for the concept was the experiencewith the Russian airforce's pinpoint non-nuclear bombardments of Grozny,and NATO's air bombardment of Belgrade.

This is not the first time that Mikhailov has foisted on the country's leadership his concept of a limited nuclear war, which is adventuristicfrom the viewpoint of Russia's national interests, but highly promisingfor his powerful agency from the viewpoint of redistributing the defensebudget's limited funds. Mikhailov, apparently, managed to use the war inthe Balkans to convince the leadership that his concept is a panacea toall security threats and also a way to rid itself of worries aboutconventional forces and armaments.

But the lessons of the Balkans war say something completely different.Above all, they show the limited ability of NATO to put any kind ofsignificant ground force into action, even under the threat of ahumiliating political defeat. This circumstance practically rules outthe only rational nuclear scenario that could be seriously discussed -the use of tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield against asuperior contingent of ground troops invading our territory.

Russia has no basis for lapsing into nuclear hysteria. As long, ofcourse, as we do not want to launch "low-yield nuclear warheads againstany point on the globe" in the interests of the next dictator we happento fall in love with.
B. ABM, Missile Defense
Russia Blasts US on Missile Defense
Associated Press
May 27, 1999
(for personal only)

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia today accused the U.S. Congress of threateningworld stability and encouraging another nuclear arms race with itsefforts to develop an anti-ballistic missile system.

``This step is a direct challenge to strategic stability andinternational safety,'' the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

On May 21, the U.S. House of Representatives sent President Bill Clintona Senate-modified bill that would commit the United States to a limited anti-ballistic missile defense system. Clinton is expected to sign it.

Moscow is fiercely against the plan, which it says would violate the U.S.-Soviet 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty. That agreement blockseither country from developing an anti-missile defense system.

Though the United States says the latest proposal is aimed at defendingU.S. soil from rogue states like North Korea, the Russian ForeignMinistry said Congress' move ``cannot be judged as anything but anotherstep aimed at undermining the ABM treaty.''

``The United States, with its actions concerning ABM, is stimulating the creation and proliferation in the world of more sophisticated rockets, capable of starting a new arms race,'' the ministry said.

China has expressed similar concerns about the U.S. proposal.
Foreign Ministry Slams U.S. Congress for Approving New MissileSystem
RFE/RL Newsline
May 28, 1999
(for personal only)

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on 27 May accusing theU.S. Congress of undermining the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty byapproving a bill to deploy a national anti-missile defense system. Thestatement reads that "by its ABM actions, [the U.S.] stimulates theemergence and global spread of more advanced missiles [and contributes]to the unleashing of a new arms race." It continues that such actions"threaten the whole disarmament process, including the preservation andconsolidation of the key regimes of the non-proliferation of weapons ofmass destruction and their means of trade." JAC
C. U.S.-Russian Relations
Weapons Spreading
William C. Potter and Jonathan B. Tucker
Washington Post, page A35
May 28, 1999
(for personal only)

The fabric of treaties, informal agreements and export-control measuresdesigned to halt the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weaponsof mass destruction is under siege. Recent assaults on thenonproliferation order come in many forms: the erosion ofRussian-American cooperation on nonproliferation, the emergingIndo-Pakistani nuclear and missile arms races, Iraq's defiance of U.N.Security Council-mandated weapons inspections, North Korean nuclear andmissile brinkmanship, the threat of a new U.S.-Russian tactical nucleararms race, the prospect of a fractious year 2000 review conference ofthe Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty(NPT), and increased risks ofchemical and biological terrorism.

The United States is at least partly responsible for this dismal stateof affairs. On several occasions, the Clinton administration has shown adisturbing tendency to emphasize short-term economic and politicalconsiderations over nonproliferation objectives -- an inclination onlyexacerbated by the lingering Cold War mind-set and partisan squabblingin the Republican-controlled Congress.

Recent U.S. decisions that have undermined the nuclear nonproliferationsystem include discounting the adverse effects of NATO enlargement onnonproliferation cooperation with Russia, waiving tough economicsanctions against India and Pakistan after their nuclear tests,postponing a Senate vote on ratification of the Comprehensive Test BanTreaty and ignoring the steps that must be taken immediately to preventdefections from a very fragile NPT.

The legal bulwarks against the spread of chemical and biological weaponsalso are at risk. Just over two years ago, on April 29, 1997, theChemical Weapons Convention entered into force, and it has been ratifiedto date by more than 120 countries. Today, however, the United Statesremains in technical violation because of congressional foot-dragging inpassing implementing legislation, followed by interagency conflicts thathave delayed approval of the regulations needed for internationalinspections of chemical industry sites.

Close allies such as Germany and Japan, fearing that U.S. chemical firmswill obtain an unfair competitive advantage by remaining free ofinspections, are balking at further verification of their ownindustries. The growing dissension between the United States and itsallies could provide cover for would-be cheaters and proliferators,seriously weakening the treaty.

Similarly, the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) banning thedevelopment, production and stockpiling of disease agents and naturaltoxins as weapons of war is at a crossroads from which it could emergeeither strengthened or reduced to an irrelevancy. Because the conventionlacks provisions for verification, it has been unable to addresscorrosive allegations of noncompliance by countries such as Russia andIraq. To rectify this situation, an ad hoc group of member countries inGeneva is currently negotiating a protocol to the BWC that will providefor on-site inspections of biodefense labs, vaccine plants and otherdual-use facilities. Because of a lack of high-level politicalattention, however, the talks have languished in recent months.

Failure to reach agreement on the protocol before the start of the U.S.and Russian presidential election cycles in early 2000 could deal asevere setback to BWC, possibly accelerating the spread of biologicalweapons to states and terrorist organizations.

Finally, at a time when the global nonproliferation system needscoordinated leadership from the world's two leading nuclear powers,historically partners in combating the diffusion of nuclear weapons,Russian-American relations have deteriorated over Moscow's nuclear andmissile sales to Iran, NATO enlargement, U.S. plans to accelerate thedevelopment of ballistic missile defenses and the bombing campaign inYugoslavia. The August 1998 Russian economic meltdown also hasseriously impaired Moscow's ability to safeguard its vast arsenals ofnuclear and chemical weapons and related materials, technology andknow-how. Current U.S. nonproliferation assistance to Russia does notadequately address this challenge.

The United States must reduce the gap between its pronouncements aboutthe dangers of the spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weaponsand its investment of political capital in strengtheningnonproliferation treaties, institutions and relationships. Washingtonshould revive biannual nuclear nonproliferation consultations withRussia at the working level, ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty,bring the U.S. chemical industry into compliance with the ChemicalWeapons Convention and show constructive leadership in negotiating thecompliance protocol for the Biological Weapons Convention. Such stepswould be in the enlightened self-interest of the United States, which ofall nations has the most to lose from a breakdown of thenonproliferation system.

William C. Potter is director of the Monterey Institute's Center forNonproliferation Studies. Jonathan B. Tucker directs the center'schemical and biological weapons nonproliferation project.

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