Partnership for Global Security: Leading the World to a Safer Future
Home Projects Publications Issues Official Documents About RANSAC Nuclear News 4/15/13
Location: Home / Projects & Publications / News
Sitemap Contact
Google www PGS
Nuclear News 01/21/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, 21 January 2000


    1. Russia And Start-II Treaty In 2000, Georgy Arbatov, RIANovosti - Moscow Diary (01/18/00)
    2. Progress on START II, ABM Sought, Alexander G. Higgins,Associated Press (01/20/00)
    3. No Immediate Ratification Of START II, Vows Russian Speaker,Agence France Presse (01/20/00)
B. Russian Nuclear Forces
    1. Sen. Kerrey Informs U. Nebraska Students About Nuclear Weapons,Cara Pesek, Daily Nebraskan (01/19/00)
C.U.S. – Russia General
    1. Russia-U.S. Missile Team Will Share Secret Data, EricRosenberg, San Francisco Examiner (01/19/00)
    2. Mark Medish Heads Russian, Ukrainian, Eurasian Affairs atNSC, The White House (01/20/00)


Russia And Start-II Treaty In 2000
        Georgy Arbatov
        RIA Novosti - Moscow Diary
        January 18, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Georgy ARBATOV, full-time member of the Russian Academy ofSciences,honorary director, RussianAcademy of Sciences'Institute of US and CanadianStudies

Planet Earth can't enter the 21-st century, unless it resolves thearms-limitationissue. This places special responsibility on the world's two mightiestnuclear powers, e.g. Russia and the United States. They must step up theirefforts in order to attain specific accords making it possible to impedethe nuclear-arms build-up and to scale down nuclear arsenals. Unfortunately,one still has every reason to say that Russian-US dialogue in the givenfield has virtually ground to a halt.
The START-II Treaty, which stipulates the limitation of strategic offensivearms, and which has been signed by the Presidents of Russia and the UnitedStates, still remains to be ratified by the State Duma, e.g. the RussianParliament's lower house. The START-II treaty sets equal strategic-weaponsceilings, which are seen as something acceptable by Russia.This countryhas the right to maintain 3,500 nuclear warheads in line with that document'sprovisions. Nevertheless, quite a few State-Duma members have a negativeopinion of the START-II treaty, noting that Russia won't apparently benefitfrom it, and that the United States merely wants to get rid of Russia'sheavy-duty MIRV-ed ICBM-s. Incidentally, the US side claims that it wouldapparently be unable to cope with such ICBM-s in case of war. The negativeattitude of State-Duma members toward the treaty's ratification becameespecially pronounced in connection with NATO's war against Yugoslavia,NATO's eastward expansion and the approval of that bloc's new aggressiveconcept. The West's current anti-Russian campaign, which denounces Moscow'santi-terrorist operation in Chechnya also tends to affect the deputies'mood. (Chechnya is one of the Russian Federation's North Caucasian republics-- Ed.) However, politicians should not guide themselves by emotions alone.One should keep in mind that Moscow regards the START-II treaty as increasinglyimportant in the context of its deteriorating relations with NATO. However,that document should be modified to some extent; well, such an opportunitydoes exist. The Russian side can ratify the treaty, provided that it entersinto force after the coordination of contentious issues. Both Russia andthe United States should move to elaborate the START-III treaty right afterthe START-II treaty's ratification. The new treaty would be expected tobring strategic-arms ceilings down to 2,500 warheads.
As I see it, the third State Duma, whose line-up has already changed,will ratify the START-II treaty over the entire 2000 period. The Duma'sdifferent line-up favors such a forecast. The leftist opposition doesn'tboast the majority of seats inside the third State Duma, which has alreadystarted working. It ought to be mentioned in this connection that the leftistopposition opposed the START-II treaty more actively than the rest. Thethird State Duma mostly comprises moderate centrist deputies, who, by alllooks, will support the Government that consistently advocates the START-IItreaty's fastest possible ratification. At any rate acting president VladimirPutin, who is quite optimistic on this score, thinks that the START-IItreaty's ratification process will, at long last, become completed beforethe year is out. Incidentally, the Russian military leadership also advocatesthe document's ratification, with the Russian Federation's Defense MinisterIgor Sergeyev noting this more than once.
I'd like to note that Russia, which sincerely strives to attain concreteresults within the framework of the disarmament process, is worried aboutthe US side's attitude toward the 1972-vintage Soviet-US ABM (Anti-BallisticMissile) Treaty. The United States has been lately noting the need forrevising this highly important document on many occasions.
This doesn't boil down to conversations alone. For example, the Washingtonadministration intends to decide on the deployment of a national ABM systemalready in the summer of 2000. It goes without saying that such a decisionwould deviate from the ABM Treaty's provisions, also creating a more pronounceddisbalance between Russian and US arsenals.Doubtless, this would entailyet another spiral of the arms race.
The Russian Federation's Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has already saidthat the creation of a national ABM system and the violation of the 1972ABM Treaty would automatically induce any other country, and not just Russia,to develop new-generation weapons systems, which would render similar ABMsystems ineffective. Ivanov implies that Russia, China and other countrieswould begin to actively develop powerful offensive weaponry, also swellingtheir respective ICBM arsenals, which were being reduced for quite a whilein line with the START-I treaty. Well, this doesn't meet Russian and USinterests alike.
As one analyzes the results of that 50-year-long nuclear era at theturn of the century, one arrives at a rather paradoxical conclusion. Strangeas it may seem, but arms-limitation talks have virtually stopped afterthe end of the Cold-War period. We have even got used to thissituation.Evidently,that dangerous confrontation between the two super-powers, namely the SovietUnion and the United States, had compelled them to search for compromises.By all looks, the United States, which believes that it has now been deprivedof a worthy rival after the USSR's disintegration, no longer deems it necessaryto conduct a constructive and equitable dialogue, which, nonetheless, isneeded by the entire planet and all nations, which have been nurturingthe idea of general and complete disarmament for a long time now. US Senate'srecent refusal to ratify the comprehensive test-ban treaty shows that westill have a long way to go, before completely banning and destroying allnuclear weapons.
In 1986 the then USSR president Mikhail Gorbachev had suggested eliminatingall types of nuclear weapons. However, Gorbachev had stipulated an excessivelyshort deadline, that is, until the year 2001. By all looks, Gorbachev'sproposal was deliberately aimed at expediting bilateral talks, which havenow ground to a halt. Such negotiations must be resumed and intensified.This constitutes the duty of two great powers, i.e. Russia and the UnitedStates, which are responsible for the world's destinies. Both countriespossess tremendous potentialities, which must be used in the interestsof all mankind.

return to menu

Progress on START II, ABM Sought
        Alexander G. Higgins
        Associated Press
        January 20, 2000
        (for personal use only)

GENEVA –– Top U.S. and Russian officials pressed ahead Thursday withattempts to revive progress on nuclear arms cuts and resolve Kremlin misgivingsover Washington's anti-missile defense plans, U.S. officials said.

Thursday was the second day of talks between John Holum, the Clintonadministration's top disarmament specialist, and his Russian counterpart.

Neither side was willing to say whether progress was made in the roundexpected to conclude Friday, but U.S. officials said the talks were beingconducted in "an open, businesslike" atmosphere. The officials, who areclose to the talks, spoke on condition of anonymity.

Even as Holum met with Yuri Kapralov, acting head of the Russian ForeignMinistry's arms control department, the world's major disarmament forumconvened elsewhere in Geneva. Ambassadors at the 66-nation Conference onDisarmament said they expected Holum to make his usual year-opening addressto the forum, but he remained closeted with Kapralov.

Both the U.S. and Russian governments hope the Russian parliament, afteryears of foot-dragging, will ratify the START II accord halving each side'snuclear arsenal to 3,000-3,500 warheads. Then the two nations could beginnegotiating START III.

The Holum-Kapralov session is the latest high-level U.S.-Russian meetingto follow up on former president Boris Yeltsin's agreement with PresidentClinton last June to at least discuss modifications to the 1972 Anti-BallisticMissile Treaty.

The United States wants to change the treaty so it can develop a limiteddefense system that would shoot down missiles fired at it by rogue states.U.S. officials say such a system poses no threat to Russia. But Russia,China and other countries strongly oppose the plan, and Moscow says itwould upset the strategic balance and launch a new arms race.

At the disarmament conference, delegates expressed concerns Thursdaythat global disarmament efforts – including their own talks – remain deadlockedafter three years. The conference has yet to agree on a new class of weaponsto tackle.

Several diplomats at the conference said they were concerned that theU.S. missile plan is part of the unraveling of world disarmament efforts.And U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan called the START logjam "part ofa wider and disturbing stagnation in the overall disarmament andnonproliferationagenda."

Annan also noted that the Conference on Disarmament's last majoraccomplishment– the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty – appears nowhere near ready totake effect. The U.S. Senate rejected the test ban in October, and it stillneeds ratification from such declared or "threshold" nuclear countriesas China, Russia, India, Pakistan and Israel.

return to menu

No Immediate Ratification Of START II, Vows Russian Speaker
        Agence France Presse
        January 20, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW, Jan 20, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) Russia's State Duma hasno immediate plans to ratify the START II nuclear disarmament treaty, signedin 1993 by Russia and the United States, speaker Gennady Seleznev toldMoscow's Echo Radio.

"At the moment no-one brings this issue up, or discusses it," he said.

The Duma postponed all discussion of the treaty during its last sessionbefore the December 19 legislative elections despite an appeal from DefenseMinister Igor Sergeyev for the matter to be tied up as soon as possible.

Under the provisions of the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (STARTII), the United States would cut its total number of nuclear warheads to3,500 and Russia to 3,000. The Kremlin would also be required to destroyits most powerful weapon -- the heavy multiple-warhead intercontinentalmissile.

The agreement was ratified in 1996 by the US Senate, but has never reachedthe Duma floor for a vote.

Seleznev, a Communist who was returned to the speaker's chair by Dumamembers following the election, said that under a parliamentary modificationto the Kremlin's ratification bill, deputies wanted to wait until the latestgeneration of Russian missiles was in service before ratifying START IIand beginning work on START III, the next round of strategic disarmamentnegotiations.

The Topol-M missile, tested last month by the Russians, is intendedto replace the multiple-warhead missiles which would be taken out of serviceunder START II. ((c) 2000 Agence France Presse)

return to menu

B. Russian Nuclear Forces

Sen. Kerrey Informs U. Nebraska Students About Nuclear Weapons
        Cara Pesek
        Daily Nebraskan
        January 19, 2000
        (for personal use only)

(U-WIRE) LINCOLN, Neb. -- U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey, along with three membersof the Committee on Nuclear Policy, spoke to University of Nebraska studentsTuesday at the Nebraska Union.

Their mission: to inform students about the dangers of nuclear weapons.

A new program called Jumpstart brought the panelists to the university,said Patrice McMahon, assistant professor of political science.

The discussion was a test case for the program, which aims to informU.S. citizens about nuclear danger and to motivate them to do somethingabout it, McMahon said.

In front of a nearly full auditorium, panel members told students nuclearweapons are the greatest danger facing the United States.

"The biggest threat continues to be Russian nuclear forces," said JesseJames, executive director of the U.S. Committee on Nuclear Policy. Jamessaid the sooner the United States and Russia can work out problems regardingnuclear weapons, the better.

Another problem facing the United States, James said, is that few Americansrealize nuclear weapons are a threat at all.

According to the panel members, the threat is not of a deliberate missilelaunch but rather of an accidental or terrorist attack.

John Steinbruner, director of the Center for International SecurityStudies, explained how an accidental launch is possible.

"The (Russian) government doesn't have enough financial base to do muchof anything," Steinbruner said. Still, it feels obligated to keep between2,000 and 2,500 nuclear missiles
ready to fire at all times.

Russia doesn't have the finances to keep its nuclear weapons properlyfunctioning, Steinbruner said. But it keeps the missiles on Rapid ReactionAlert for one reason – to keep up with the United States.

A rocket launch was once interpreted by Russia's inadequate missiledetection equipment as a nuclear attack on Russia, James said, so it iseasy to see how an accidental missile launch could take place.

Furthermore, Kerrey said, feelings of anger because of the poor economyand political problems could trigger a terrorist attack.

Talks between U.S. and Russian diplomats regarding nuclear dangers aren'tgoing well, panelists said.

So, they encouraged students to get involved at a grassroots level,writing letters to their senators and representatives for example, to voicetheir feelings on nuclear policy.

"It is in your interest to be interested," Steinbruner said. "It isa massive accident waiting to happen, and I think it is fair to say thatif it isn't turned around during your lifetimes, it will happen."

McMahon said students who attended the discussion interested in nuclearweapons issues can check out the Web site where informationabout Tuesday's discussion will be posted.

return to menu

C. U.S. – Russia General

Russia-U.S. Missile Team Will Share Secret Data
        Eric Rosenberg
        San Francisco Examiner
        January 19, 2000
        (for personal use only)

To head off doomsday scenarios, former foes linking command centers

WASHINGTON - The United States and Russia plan to open a joint militarycenter near Moscow this year to reduce the chances of war between the world'stwo largest nuclear powers.

An outgrowth of a 1998 agreement between President Clinton and formerRussian President Boris Yeltsin, the center will provide an unprecedentedlevel of military cooperation between the former Cold War adversaries.

According to Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, head of the U.S. Space Command,Russian officials this month selected a site to house the center, whichwill give U.S. and Russian military personnel access to each other's classifiedmissile warning information.

Before the center is opened, U.S. communications specialists must designa way to transmit U.S. missile warning data to the Russian center fromColorado Springs, headquarters of NORAD, the North American Aerospace DefenseCommand.

While the center is emblematic of improved U.S.-Russian relations, itis also a tacit acknowledgement that Russia's network of ground-based radarand satellites is deteriorating and could, in a worst case, provide thespark for a nuclear conflict.

Doomsday scenario

The center is designed to thwart this doomsday scenario: Russian radarand satellites mistakenly perceive that Moscow is under a nuclear attackfrom the West, and military commanders advise the Kremlin to launch aretaliatorystrike, based on the erroneous information that they are unable to checkout because of their unreliable equipment.

Once the early warning center is operating, Russian officers would beable to check U.S. radar information displayed on computer consoles. TheRussians would confer with U.S. officers seated next to them and reportback to their commanders that no such attack is under way, thus defusinga potentially deadly situation.

The concept of an early warning center received a dry run last monthwhen some 20 Russian officers joined their U.S. counterparts at a specialsite in Colorado Springs during the Y2K rollover period. The Russians wereallowed to view U.S. radar information in case the Russian early warningsystem malfunctioned because of  computer glitches.

The condition of Russia's early warning network has become a debatetopic between U.S. and NATO officials on the one side and outside militaryexperts on the other. But both camps agree that, at a minimum, the Russiansystem linked to some 5,500 nuclear warheads is becoming less reliable.

Outside military experts

Two outside military experts worry that the situation is dangerous.

Bruce Blair, a Brookings Institution fellow and a leading U.S. experton Russian nuclear systems, said Russia's strategic forces and early warningnetwork had "already passed the threshold of becoming unsafe."

"If our secretary of Defense applied our own standards of safety inpersonnel reliability to the Russian force, he would de-certify that force,"Blair said.

Lani Kass, director of Russian military studies at the Pentagon's NationalWar College and a former analyst for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said therisk of a nuclear disaster "without a shadow of a doubt" iwa greater nowthan during the Cold War.

"This is a more dangerous period," Kass said. "A nuclear system youwant centralized, you want it tightly controlled and with a clear senseof who is in charge. All these commodities are absent in Russia today."

Both Kass and Blair base their assessments on deteriorating conditionsof Russia's strategic rocket forces, composed of about 150,000 troops dispersedover 11 time zones with responsibility over some 5,500 nuclear weapons,2,300 of which are on a so-called "high-alert" trigger, ready for launchon only a few moments' notice.

Once the elite of the Russian military, the strategic rocket forcesnow face the economic perils that have decimated the remnants of the SovietRed Army: Pay shortages are commonplace, morale is spotty, and some officersresponsible for nuclear weapons need second jobs to make ends meet.

Moonlighting officers

"I've never met anyone in the strategic rocket forces in Moscow on activeduty who isn't moonlighting, usually driving a taxi, to put food on thetable," said Blair.

The Kass-Blair concern also is based on an ailing Russian radar systemthat hasn't been able to provide commanders with a complete picture ofthe skies ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, when Moscow lostcontrol of republics that had housed ground-based radar stations. For example,a key Russian radar station at Skrunde, Latvia, was closed, leaving a largegap in radar coverage over the Baltics.

"If they have an incomplete radar picture and feel vulnerable, they'reliable to make mistakes," Kass said.

Another worrisome problem is the deteriorating communications linksbetween commanders in Moscow and rocket forces dispersed across the country.

Kass said Russia's strategic forces had been functioning remarkablywell under trying conditions. "The very fact that nothing that we knowof has happened is a testimony to the professionalism of the strategicforces, but I am not sure how long I am willing to count on that," shesaid.

The official government view is less alarmist. George Robertson, NATO'ssecretary general, said recently that the status of Russia's strategicmissile system "should not be a matter of mutual concern at the moment."

"The general situation in the Russian forces is pretty obvious," hesaid, referring to the problems afflicting the the military, "but theinformationthat we have is that their nuclear forces are maintained at pretty highstates."

John Hamre, the retiring deputy Defense secretary, said the Russianearly warning system had "decayed in its capability over the last severalyears."

"It is obviously less robust than it was four and five years ago," Hamresaid, "but it is still functional, and they place good confidence in it."

return to menu

Mark Medish Heads Russian, Ukrainian, Eurasian Affairs at NSC
        The White House
        January 20, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Statement By The Press Secretary

National Security Advisor Samuel Berger announced today the appointmentof Mark C. Medish as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Directorfor Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian Affairs, effective January 18, 2000.

Mark Medish has been Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Treasury forEurasia and the Middle East since 1997. Prior to that, he served as a senioradvisor at the U.S. Agency for International Development and at the U.N.Development Programme. He was an attorney in private practice with Covington& Burling, after clerking for an appellate court. He has held facultyappointments at Georgetown, Johns Hopkins and Harvard and was a fellowat Georgetown's Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Harvard's RussianResearch Center, and The Japan Institute of International Affairs in Tokyo.He has published widely on Russian and post-Soviet affairs and on internationaleconomics.

A native of Washington, D.C., Mr. Medish graduated from Georgetown witha B.S. in economics, and received an A.M. in Soviet Studies and a J.D.from Harvard. He also studied political theory and moral philosophy atOxford. He and his wife, Sue Edwards, have three young children.

return to menu

Section Menu:

© 2007 Partnership for Global Security. All rights reserved. Privacy Statement.