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Nuclear News - 08/20/99
RANSAC Nuclear News, 20 August 1999


A. U.S. – Russia General

  1. Should US aid ex-cold warriors?, Christian Science Monitor(08/20/99)
B. START
  1. U.S., Russia Wrap Up Arms Talks, Associated Press(08/19/99)
  2. Lukin Says Start-2 Ratification Depends On Compromise OverABM, RFE/RL (08/19/99)
  3. Moscow Proposes Extensive Arms Cuts U.S., Russia Confer OverStalled Pacts, Washington Post (08/20/99)
  4. Russian Official Says U.S. Arms Talks Failed, Reuters(08/20/99)

A. U.S. – Russia General

1.
Should US aid ex-cold warriors?
        Jonathan S. Landay
        Christian Science Monitor
        August 20, 1999
        (for personal use only)

As US foreign aid shrinks, a battle erupts over funds for ex-Sovietweapons experts.

They were once a pampered elite, scientists and technicians who designedand built the weapons of the Soviet Union's nuclear arsenal.

But like millions of Russians, they have fallen on hard times, earningon average under $100 a month. Some of these former cold warriors may beselling their deadly skills to foes like Iraq, North Korea, or terroristgroups.

To avert this threat, President Clinton wants the United States to underwritepeaceful research that would keep 40,000 Russian weapons experts working.Yet this proposal faces opposition from the GOP-run Congress.

This new political and ideological tussle over foreign aid comes amida 15-year decline in the assistance the world's richest country providesthe poorest. In fact, as a percentage of gross national product, the USgives less foreign aid than any of the world's 20 most developed nations.

"The general trend is that foreign aid is becoming a lower and lowerpriority for US policymakers," says Phyllis Bennis of the Institute ofPolicy Analysis. She believes the gap between wealth and poverty can leadto conflict that threatens American interests.

"Yet there is no effort to do any preemptive spending, which is alwaysless than the cleanup costs or the costs of war," Ms. Bennis says.

As Republican congressional leaders cut Mr. Clinton's proposed fundingto keep former Soviet scientists working, the issue of preemptive spendingis becoming the heart of the ideological battle over foreign aid.

Clinton is threatening to veto the House and Senate versions of hisfiscal 2000 foreign-aid budget because of $1.9 billion in cuts from hisproposed $14.6 billion aid plan. The cuts, he charges, will hurt programsdesigned to bolster international stability and keep the US out of wars.

"Underfunding our arsenal of peace is as risky as underfunding our arsenalof war," Clinton told a Veterans of Foreign Wars group this week in KansasCity.

Foreign aid is less than 1 percent of the US budget, he noted, and lessthan one-fifteenth of Pentagon spending, "If we end up underfunding ourdiplomacy, we end up overusing our military."

Nonsense, conservatives retort. They assert that US assistance has neverhelped avert crises and disasters that threaten American interests. Tothe contrary, they say, US aid has helped keep dictators in power and failedto prevent the collapse into chaos of countries like Somalia and Haiti.

Other priorities closer to home, such as the Congress-approved $792billion tax cut, are more important, they say.

A senior administration official says funding the tax reduction whilekeeping the federal budget balanced is a major reason for the GOP foreignaid cuts. "[Republicans] are in an impossible budget situation right now,and traditionally one of the budgets with the smallest domestic constituencyis the most convenient to take hits from."

Foreign-aid spending hit its zenith in 1947, the height of the MarshallPlan for the post-World War II reconstruction of Europe. It then declinedsteadily until President Reagan boosted it as part of his strategy to undermineSoviet power by advancing American influence through largess to anticommunistregimes.

The decline resumed with the end of the US-Soviet rivalry, tight federalbudgets, and a post-cold-war belief that free trade and private investmentare better ways of reducing global poverty and instability. Aid supporters,however, point out that the expansion in global markets has failed to haltthe gap between rich and poor nations.

Foreign aid is now half of what it was 15 years ago. About 50 percentis military assistance - most of which goes to Israel and Egypt - or aiddesigned to bolster US security, according to the Council for a Livable
World, a Washington-based arms-control group.

While Clinton's proposed fiscal 2000 budget would not increase assistance,the House and Senate both would slash Clinton's requests. He is threateninga veto unless House and Senate negotiators restore the cuts when they meetnext month to reconcile their bills.

The two houses slashed more than $200 million in aid to the former Sovietunion, leaving it up to the administration to decide how to distributethe rest. But Clinton says the total is insufficient to fund
economic-reform projects and expanded arms-control cooperation, includingthe program to fund peaceful research by the Russian weapons experts.

Republican lawmakers also slashed spending on aid to Africa designedto promote development, democratization, and conflict resolution on a continentmired in poverty and strife.

Clinton seeks $500 million in aid to Jordan, Israel, and the Palestiniansunder the Wye River accord he brokered earlier this year. The Senate withheldthe funds for Israel and the Palestinians pending
implementation of the agreement. The House slashed the entire amount.

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B. START

1.
U.S., Russia Wrap Up Arms Talks
        Nick Wadhams
        Associated Press
        August 19, 1999
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW (AP) -- The United States and Russia reaffirmed on Thursday their1972 treaty banning missile defense systems and agreed in principle towork on further reducing their nuclear warhead stockpiles.

The agreements came after three days of high-level discussions betweenthe two nations about their nuclear arsenals.

One of the main points the sides discussed was the United States' desireto modify the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty so it can build a limited missiledefense system.

The system the United States wants to build would be designed to shootdown a single missile or a small number of missiles. It would not be effectiveagainst a massive attack, the kind Russia is capable of launching, theAmericans say.

Moscow strongly opposes changes to the treaty, saying a missile defensesystem in the United States would upset the current strategic balance.But President Boris Yeltsin agreed to discuss ABM modifications when hemet President Clinton in June.

After this week's talks, the two sides said the ABM treaty ``is thecornerstone of strategic stability'' between them. No specific proposalswere discussed and no major decisions reached, but the sides agreed thatABM must remain strong.

The sides also agreed in principle to start work on a START III treatythat would cut nuclear warheads to 2,000 to 2,500 per nation.

But before they can work on such a treaty, they have to finish ratificationof START II. That treaty, which calls for both countries to scale backfrom around 6,000 warheads to 3,000 to 3,500 each, was signed in 1993.But Russia's parliament has yet to ratify it.

A Russian lawmaker involved in the talks said START II's ratificationdepends on a U.S.-Russian agreement on the ABM question.

``The Russian side made it plain that (START II) can be ratified onlyif there is a mutually acceptable stand'' on the ABM treaty, Vladimir Lukin,the chairman of parliament's committee for international affairs, toldthe ITAR-Tass news agency.

The Kremlin has urged the lower house, the State Duma, to make STARTII ratification a priority. But Communists and other hard-liners have balked,saying the treaty endangers Russia's security.

The U.S. Senate ratified START II in 1996.

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2.
Lukin Says Start-2 Ratification Depends On Compromise Over ABM
        RFE/RL
        August 19, 1999
        (for personal use only)

State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Vladimir Lukin told ITAR-TASSon 18 August that the Duma will ratify the START-2 treaty only if a compromiseis reached on modifying the ABM treaty. Lukin, a member of Yabloko, wascommenting on the U.S.-Russian disarmament talks that began in Moscow earlierthis week (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 18 August 1999). He noted that the talksfocused on the "preparation of the START-3 treaty and therefore the chancesfor ratification of the START-2 treaty." "The Russian side made it clearthat ratification will be possible only if a mutually acceptable positionis reached on the adaptation of the 1972 ABM Treaty," he stressed.

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3.
Moscow Proposes Extensive Arms Cuts U.S., Russia Confer Over StalledPacts
        David Hoffman
        Washington Post
        August 20, 1999
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Aug. 19—Russia proposed cutting nearly in half the number ofnuclear warheads that would be allowed under a prospective START III treaty,a Russian official said today, as talks on the stalled arms control agreementsresumed this week in Moscow.

President Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin agreed in Juneto try to reanimate the long-dormant talks, including discussions on theunratified START II accord and the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.The first round of discussions ended with renewed Russian warnings againstmodifying the ABM treaty.

The 1993 START II treaty called for reducing the levels of nuclear warheadsto 3,500 to 3,000 on each side. But Russia's lower house of parliament,the State Duma, has resisted ratifying it.

At a meeting in Helsinki in 1997, Clinton and Yeltsin nevertheless setas a target for the next step, START III, a ceiling of 2,500 to 2,000 warheadsfor each side. However, a Russian official said that Moscow this week proposedslashing the maximum to 1,500 or fewer--a reduction that would reflectthe reality of Russia's strategic forces, which are declining because ofobsolescence and lack of money to build new systems. Many experts herethink Russia's nuclear arsenal will decline to fewer than 1,000 warheadsin the next decade.

Details of the latest Russian proposal were not provided, but it islikely to meet resistance in the Pentagon and among Republicans inCongress. Moreover, the United States has urged Russia to ratify START II beforeformal negotiations can begin on the follow-on treaty.

The ABM treaty also promises to incite a negotiating wrangle. The Clintonadministration is headed toward a decision next year about building a missiledefense system, and Yeltsin agreed to talk about possible changes in theABM treaty at a summit meeting earlier this year. However, Russia has stronglyresisted changes to the treaty, which limits the use of such systems byeach country.

Meanwhile, some Republicans in Congress want to scrap the treaty altogether.

In a statement after this week's talks, the United States and Russiareaffirmed that the ABM treaty is "the cornerstone of strategic stability"and a Russian official openly warned against modifications.

Grigory Berdennikov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's securityand disarmament department, told reporters: "We see no variants which wouldallow the United States to set up a national ABM system and still preservethe ABM treaty and strategic stability in the world."

He said any modifications would undermine the START treaties and expressedfear that "the arms race may spread into space."

If the United States deploys a missile defense system, he added, Russia"will be forced to raise the effectiveness of its strategic nuclear armedforces and carry out several other military and political steps to guaranteeits national security under new strategic conditions."

He was not more specific, but cashapped Russia has barely been ableto afford one missile modernization program in recent years.

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4.
Russian Official Says U.S. Arms Talks Failed
        Reuters
        August 20, 1999
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW — A top Russian military official lashed out at the UnitedStates Friday over what Moscow sees as a failed preliminary round of talks ona new  nuclear weapons reduction treaty.

Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, who heads the Defense Ministry'sinternational cooperation division, said the United States was dooming new arms controltalks  by seeking to change the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM)treaty.

"Perhaps the Foreign Ministry would put it more gently but there wereno results  from these talks,'' Ivashov told reporters after threedays of discussions on a new  START-3 treaty.

Ivashov, one of Russia's most hawkish officials on defense and foreignpolicy,  reiterated Moscow's view that U.S. plans to modify the ABMTreaty would wreck past arms control agreements.

"The ABM treaty is the basis on which all subsequent arms controls agreementshave been built,'' he said.

"To destroy this basis would be to destroy the entire process of nucleararms control.''

U.S. and Russian officials including Ivashov ended three days of Moscowtalks Thursday on a START-3 nuclear weapons reduction treaty and America'swish to change the ABM agreement.

START-3 is aimed at adding to the cuts in nuclear arsenals due to bemade under START-2, signed in 1993 and which foresees a reduction in stockpilesof each country to 3,500 warheads by 2003.

But even that 1993 treaty is still facing troubles as it has languishedfor six years without the approval of Russia's Communist-dominated StateDuma, the lower house of parliament.

A member of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committeecalled Ivashov's comments obstructionist given Russia's failure to approveSTART-2.

"I want to know why they can't ratify the START-2 agreement,'' EllenTauscher, a Democrat from California, told reporters in Moscow after atrip to one of Russia's closed nuclear research cities.

Yet Ivashov said U.S. moves on a new ABM system overshadowed everythingelse in arms control by seeking to present Russia with a fait accompliabout which it could do little.

"All this is done in violation of the obligations of the 1972 ABM treaty,''he said.

The ABM treaty bans full systems designed to shoot down the other side'smissiles. But the United States now plans to build a similar shield againstmissile programs it fears are being developed by countries such as Iranand North Korea.

A U.S. embassy spokesman said Defense Secretary William Cohen wouldmeet his Russian counterpart Igor Sergeyev on September 13 or 14 in Moscow.

The next round of lower level talks on a START-3 deal are to continuein September in Washington.

Ivashov said tensions with NATO over Yugoslavia made it more difficultto reach agreement in arms control as well.

"The United States and NATO are trying to bring about their own order(in Yugoslavia), at the same time shutting the governments of the regionout of the process,'' he said.

Russia strongly opposed NATO's March-June air strikes against its Slavic,Orthodox brethren in Yugoslavia. Its peacekeepers have been working withNATO forces on the ground in Kosovo since the end of the war but strainsremain.

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