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Nuclear News - 05/17/00
RANSAC Nuclear News, 17 May 2000


A. START

  1. Moscow Arms Pact Seems Difficult, Tom Raum, AssociatedPress (05/10/00)
  2. U.S. Unofficially Probes Terms On Which Russia Could AgreeTo ABM Change, Interfax (05/16/00)
B. Russian Nuclear Forces
  1. Is Nuclear Briefcase in Legitimate Hands?  AlexanderKornilov, Gazeta.ru (05/15/00)
  2. FBI Nets Russian E-Jokers, Giles Whittell, London Times(05/17/00)
C. Nuclear Power Industry
  1. Violations Of Nuclear Safety Regulations Totaled 840 LastYear, RFE/RL (05/11/00)
D. Russian Elections
  1. Russia's New Prime Minister: A Technocratic Choice, AgenceFrance Presse (05/17/00)
E.  Nonproliferation Policy and Implementation
  1. Proliferation Ahead Of Remidiation, Thomas Jandl, Bellona(05/09/00)
F.  U.S. – Russia General
  1. Mission to Moscow:  Clinton must lay the groundwork fora new relationship with Russia, Henry Kissinger, Los Angeles Times(05/15/00)



A. START

1.
Moscow Arms Pact Seems Difficult
        Tom Raum
        Associated Press
        May 10, 2000
        (for personal use only)

WASHINGTON (AP) - American election politics and Vladimir Putin's uncertainagenda make progress this year on arms control doubtful, even though thesubject likely will dominate President Clinton's June summit with the newRussian president.

In his final months in office, Clinton is looking for an arms deal toadd to his legacy; the incoming Putin is seeking to establish his credentialson the world stage as the leader of a nuclear power.

Trying to keep Clinton from grabbing the spotlight, Sen. Jesse Helms,R-N.C., pledged last month to single-handedly block any late-term arms-controlpact that Clinton and Putin might negotiate.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said any suchtreaty would be ``dead on arrival.''

But even before Helms' attention-grabbing statement on the Senate floor,there seemed little likelihood senators would be in a position to dealwith any major new treaties this year.

There is a strong feeling among both congressional Democrats and Republicansthat such weighty issues best be left to the next president. And time isrunning short, anyway.

``Helms was stating the obvious,'' said John Isaacs, president of theCouncil for a Livable World, a group that supports arms-control measures.There is not enough time for such a treaty to be concluded and sent tothe Senate in 2000, he said.

Isaacs contends ``the odds are very slim'' that Clinton and Putin willreach such an agreement - or even the framework for one - at their Moscowmeeting.

Still, both Clinton and Putin appear eager for a possible breakthroughon arms control.

Particularly, Clinton would like to win Russian blessings for an amendmentto the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to authorize the building ofa limited missile defense shield against attacks from hostile states suchas North Korea.

But Russia continues to oppose ABM changes and Putin has echoed thatopposition, so far at least, suggesting any changes could undermine allarms control measures now in place.

But the one-time KGB agent remains something of a mystery to U.S. policy-makers,at least in terms of his negotiating skills.

Russian leaders ``usually don't show what they're going to do untilthey get the power to do it,'' said Jack Matlock, a U.S. ambassador tothe Soviet Union under both Presidents Reagan and Bush.

Putin, inaugurated last Sunday, is almost ``an accidental president,''suggested Thomas Graham, a former U.S. diplomat now with the Carnegie Endowmentfor International Peace. ``He's a man of limited horizons (and) ... thereare real limits to what Putin or any other president of Russia can do.''

The Russian parliament recently ratified the START II arms control treaty-which would reduce each side's arsenal from 6,000 warheads to between3,000 and 3,500 - after seven years of delay. And it also ratified theComprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which the U.S. Senate rejected last fall.

And Russia has expressed an eagerness to move on to even deeper cutsin nuclear arms - a START III treaty. Its nuclear arsenal is rusting, increasinglyexpensive to maintain.

Both votes put pressure on the United States to move forward on armsreduction.

On the presidential campaign trail, the summit will be closely watched.

Texas Gov. George W. Bush favors rewriting the ABM Treaty and developmentof a national anti-missile system as ``part of redefining a post-Cold Warera.''

But even as Bush and other Republicans seek to portray Democrats asweak on defense, Vice President Al Gore has sought to link Bush with Helmsand other right-wingers.

``If Governor Bush were to inherit from us an arms control agreementso clearly in the best interests of the American people, is Senator Helmsthe last word?'' Gore asked recently.

Gore has pledged to make the rejected Comprehensive Test Ban Treatythe first measure he submits to the Senate if elected.

Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the Senate ForeignRelations Committee, said his advice to Clinton is to ignore Helms andother naysayers and to press ahead in his meeting with Putin.

``I think it is appropriate, I think it is useful and I think he shouldattempt to deal with arms control issues,'' Biden said. ``I do not believe,axiomatically, that there is not time to deal with any arms control agreement.

``At the minimum, what he does, if he comes back with a serious armscontrol agreement, it puts the next president in a better position to continueto pursue arms control,'' Biden said.
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2.
U.S. Unofficially Probes Terms On Which Russia Could Agree To ABMChange
        Interfax
        May 16, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW. May  16 (Interfax) - Moscow still insists on preservingthe 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty (ABM) and rejecting U.S. proposalsto revise it.

"The American  side is probing the terms on which Russia couldmake certain concessions  on ABM  at an  unofficial level,"Russian military- diplomatic sources told Interfax on Monday.

"For instance,  it has  been suggested  to link Moscow'sconsent to the revision of the ABM treaty with Washington's approval ofthe Russian initiative to  cut the  number of nuclear warheadsof the sides to 1,500 under a START III treaty," they said.

However, Russian  experts find  the linkage inexpedient becausethe development of START III "is a long and difficult process."

"The  first   Russian-American  consultations on  the  fundamental provisions of  START III  indicatedthat  the sides  have  diametrically opposite objectives. It may happen that the treaty will never appear at all," they said.

Russia would want to limit U.S. chances of building up its nuclear potentialand include  U.S.  sea launched  cruise  missiles in  the negotiating process, the sources said. "Besides, Moscow isinterested in removing the possibility of Washington using  the so-called  return potential -  the 2,000  nuclear warheads  earlier  removed  from  their carriers,"experts say.

Under START III the United States would want to  build  on the advantages given to it in strategic offensive armaments by START II,the experts say.  For instance, the Americans are trying to establishfull control over the production and deployment of Russian missile systems,including mobile ones.

"It is also an open secret that the United States is developing itsstrategic nuclear component to fit with the national missile defense, thedeployment of which Washington is unlikely to give up," the sources said.

At a glance it would seem that the United States is suggesting deployinga limited missile defense in  one area,  as the  ABM treaty requires. However, in reality, a system  is being  developedwith such control and  warning tools,  including  space tools,  that  it  can  be expanded any time to a nationalscale by a simple mechanical rise in the number of anti-missiles, Interfaxsources say.

The system proposed by Washington will allow the United States to covera territory with  a radius  of 1,500 kilometers, or nearly all50 states, the sources said.

The ABM treaty signed in 1972  by the Soviet Union and the UnitedStates bans  the development  of a  missile defense covering the entire territory of  the country and allows for a groundmissile defense system in one strictly limited region. In Russia, as thelegal successor of the Soviet Union, it is  the Moscow  region.In the United States it is the area of the intercontinental ballistic missile base in  Grand  Forks, North Dakota.  Each region is allowedto have  no more than 100 launch pads and no more than 100 anti-missilesystems.
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B. Russian Nuclear Forces

1.
Is Nuclear Briefcase in Legitimate Hands?
        Alexander Kornilov
        Gazeta.ru
        May 15, 2000
        (for personal use only)

The entire military leadership of Russia has resigned en masse withall 64 generals, including the Head of General Staff, submitting lettersof resignation. The official motive is to facilitate the formation of thenew military headquarters and the Defense Ministry’s seniors. However,off the record, generals are talking about other factors.

At presently there is no reliable information as to when exactly theresignation of all 64 generals occurred. Ministry of Defense representativesand the General Staff are refusing to comment, and some of the servingofficers in the Ministry only found about the resignation from the televisionnews reports.

So far it is known that the Minister of Defense Marshal Igor Sergeyevwho, in full compliance with the law, resigned on President Putin’s inaugurationday along with the Cabinet of Ministers, was followed by the Head of GeneralStaff General Kvashnin, the chief commanders of the various branches ofthe armed forces, the heads of the central departments of the Defense Ministry,the General Staff, all commanders of military districts and the Navy. Moreover,all of them stated that they were acting exclusively out of ‘good will’,for, with the exception of the Minister of Defense, there are no enactmentsin Russian law which require senior military staff to resign upon the inaugurationof a new president.

Especially surprising is that Anatoly Kvashnin, Chief of General Staffand one of the three in command of Russia’s nuclear brief case is amongthose who have filed letters of resignation. Hitherto, new Chiefs of GeneralStaff and Defense Ministers were appointed immediately upon the resignationof their predecessors to ensure that the nuclear brief was left withouta legitimate guardian for a couple of hours at most.

The present situation is quite different: Kvashnin has been appointedacting Chief of the General Staff, and nobody knows for how long he willkeep this status. He is in control of the nuclear brief case, but is thislegitimate?

Gazeta.Ru has attempted to shed more light on the motives behind thegenerals’ mass ‘good will’ resignation. In a phone conversation one general,whose identity we shall not reveal for obvious reasons, said the lettersof resignation were filed ‘in compliance with direct orders from Moscow.’The General refused to specify any further details but added, “Considerit as army know-how.”

Still, it remains quite vague to us what, in this case, what to consideredas army know-how. Is it the actual collective resignation, performed inthe best tradition of South-American regimes, or is it the reason behindthe decision, i.e. to help Putin appoint successors.

How the story will develop is also unclear. There is hardly any doubtthat the move was forced upon the generals, all of them fought hard toreach their high posts, therefore one can hardly believe the official version

It is most likely that this is the first step in the replacement ofRussia’s senior military commandment in which case will find out withina few days, if not hours. In the meantime, 64 acting generals are in commandof the Russian Army at war in the Northern Caucuses.
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2.
FBI Nets Russian E-Jokers
        Giles Whittell
        London Times
        May 17, 2000
        (for personal use only)

IT WAS the nightmare warning: "The Kazelsk Division of the StrategicRocket Forces intends to level to the ground a number of cities in Europe."Sent by Internet, it claimed to be from Russian missile troops disgruntledafter going for months without pay.

The FBI contacted the Kremlin and two students from a technical collegein Kaluga, south of Moscow, now face a year in a penal colony. The warningwas meant as a prank, Russia's Federal Security Service said, but the riskof Russian troops resorting to terrorism over their loss of pay and prestigeis seen in the West as very real and is of concern in Russia too.

The British Government and the International Institute for StrategicStudies are sponsoring a conference in Vladivostok this week on redeployingRussian officers into civilian work. The FBI is monitoring nuclear threatson the Internet and the Pentagon has moved a giant radar dish from Californiato Norway, allegedly to monitor test missile launches from Russian ships.
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C. Nuclear Power Industry

1.
Violations Of Nuclear Safety Regulations Totaled 840 Last Year
        RFE/RL
        May 11, 2000
        (for personal use only)

Citing documents due to be released by the Ministry of Atomic Energyand the State Nuclear Monitoring Agency later this year, "Izvestiya" reportedon 11 May that 840 violations of safety regulations were recorded at Russia'snuclear power plants in 1999. Among the reasons cited for these violationswere wear and tear and insufficient reliability of equipment. The monitoringagency recommended that 90 of the violations should be investigated andnoted that "numerous flaws in the metal used in pipes were detected," whichmight result in leaks of radioactive material. Most violations occurredat the nuclear facilities in Kursk (21) and Smolensk (16) as well as theNovyi Voronezh (15) and Kola (10) nuclear facilities.
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D. Russian Elections

1.
Russia's New Prime Minister: A Technocratic Choice
        Agence France Presse
        May 17, 2000
        (for personal use only)

MOSCOW, May 17, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) After two decades ensconcedin the depths of the finance ministry, Mikhail Kasyanov moved to the politicalstage Wednesday, when parliament confirmed him as Russia's second-youngestprime minister.

The 42-year-old, de facto cabinet chief since December 31 when VladimirPutin became acting president, is best known for pulling off a landmarkdeal this year to restructure billions of dollars of Soviet-era debt.

Commentators say the technocrat was chosen for the post under Putin– who officially took office 10 days ago after winning March elections-- because he has few political ambitions of his own.

It is a quality that appealed both to Putin as he seeks to assert hisauthority at the start of his four-year term, and the clique of Kremlinbusiness tycoons who continue to exert influence in the corridors of power.

"He is a very cool, cynical bureaucrat who is devoid of ideology," saidrespected Moscow political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky.

"Kasyanov will not mount any sort of challenge to Putin in his own right.That's one of the reasons why he was picked. But his appointment also signalsthat Putin is very strongly dependent on the people who selected him andput him in power," he added.

Putin, a political nobody nine months ago when he was catapulted toprime minister, has vowed to clip the wings of shadowy but still ascendantoligarchs such as Boris Berezovsky and Roman Abramovich.

And his entourage has told the Russian press he will dictate the government'spolicy, leaving the prime minister little to do except to carry out theKremlin's instructions, in contrast to the chaotic Yeltsin era.

But the premiership under Kasyanov -- who reportedly has close tiesto Russia's business barons -- could turn into a fierce battleground betweenPutin and his erstwhile backers, according to Andrei Ryabov of the CarnegieEndowment think tank.

"There is likely to be a conflict between Putin's efforts to have apurely technocratic government and the Kremlin oligarchs' aim to transformthe government into an instrument of their control," Ryabov said.

A career civil servant turned politician who keeps his cards close tohis chest despite his bluff manner, Kasyanov has been dogged by allegationsof insider graft.

He consolidated his claim on the premiership in February when he strucka deal under which long-suffering foreign commercial creditors wrote offmore than 10 billion dollars (11.2 billion euros) in Soviet-era debt.

But his seven years in the engine room of the Russian finance ministryhave left him with a narrow experience of government.

Born in a Moscow suburb, Kasyanov graduated from the Moscow Instituteof Civil Engineering and completed post-graduate studies at the Soviet-eraplanning body Gosplan, where he worked for nine years.

In 1990 he entered the economics ministry where he spent three years,notably covering foreign relations. In 1993 he switched to the financeministry where he recently established himself as Russia's "Mr. Debt."

Last May, Kasyanov was appointed finance minister.

Within weeks of his promotion to first deputy prime minister after BorisYeltsin's New Year's Eve resignation, the English-speaking Muscovite wasforced to show his mettle as an effective administrator.

With presidential elections fast approaching, he ensured that cash reachedpensioners, cleared civil servants' back wages and made foreign debt paymentswhile funding the deepening war in Chechnya -- all the time keeping inflationunder control.

"He has managed the government reasonably well during the first quarterof this year but is still a rather narrow specialist whose only expertiseis in external debt," said Alexei Zabotkin, an economist with United FinancialGroup.
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E. Nonproliferation Policy and Implementation

1.
Proliferation Ahead Of Remidiation
        Thomas Jandl
        Bellona
        May 9, 2000
        (for personal use only)

(Washington): In a newly released report, former Clinton Administrationadviser Matthew Bunn says that hoever wins the presidential elections thisfall, nuclear proliferation will remain a top U.S. priority. Environmentalremediation of contaminated sites, by contrast, will continue to fall shortof needs.

Washington, May 8, 2000 – Presenting his new report on U.S. policy towardsRussia's nuclear complex at the Woodrow Wilson Center, former Clinton Administrationadviser Matthew Bunn argued that the issues surrounding nuclear materialsmanagement in Russia will remain on top of the U.S. priority list.

He said non-proliferation was a non-partisan issue as far as managementof fissile materials was concerned. On the other hand, he did not see congressionalinterest in addressing the vast environmental cleanup needs in Russia'sCold War nuclear complex, and said alternative funding sources need tobe developed if this task is ever to be addressed.

Bunn, who is now the Assistant Director of the Science, Technology andPublic Policy Program at Harvard University, authored the report, The NextWave: Urgently Needed New Steps to Control Warheads and Fissile Material,for the Carnegie Non-Proliferation Project. The report can be accessedat .

Bunn said that based on conversations with both Democrats and Republicans,he believes non-proliferation projects have a good chance to pass in theCongress. At present, the administration has not given Congress reasonto believe that there is a coherent plan and, above all, leadership withinthe agencies carrying out Russia assistance projects.

Most importantly, Bunn said, the administration lacks a central coordinatorof all Russia proliferation-related programs. A position should be createdsimilar to former Defense Secretary William Perry, who was brought backto coordinate the U.S. North Korea policy. Absent such a central coordinator,Congress is not convinced that appropriating new money would have a lastingimpact. Furthermore, Bunn said, Congress is often left out of the planningstages, and then rejects administration programs thrown at it in the budgetprocess without prior consultation.

Debt-for-security swaps
While Bunn thinks Congress can be brought to commit resources basedon proliferation concerns, he does not see the United States part withsignificant amounts of money to help Russia clean up existing contamination.

To obtain the billions of dollars necessary to even begin cleaning upcontaminated areas, Bunn said innovative approaches outside the federalbudget process are needed. The report describes his suggested approachof debt-for-security swaps. This mechanism has been tried out in debt-for-natureswaps, under which a certain amount of debt is cancelled in return forfunding of prescribed amount of nature preservation. Under Bunn's scheme,the G-8 countries, which hold most of Russia's international debt, couldforgive a part f Russia's debt if Russia pledges to use the money in certainways stipulated by the creditors for nuclear non-proliferation or cleanup.

Given the strong preference for non-proliferation over environmentalcleanup, the scheme would be unlikely to yield significant environmentalbenefits.

International nuclear waste storage gets Helms approval
Bunn also mentioned the idea of building a nuclear waste storage sitein Russia for money as one possible way of creating significant fundingsources for environmental projects in Russia.

Importantly, Bunn said the controversial chairman of the Senate ForeignRelations Committee, Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), who has held up many an internationalproject in his committee, found the waste dump idea terrific. Accordingto Bunn, Helms had written a letter to the administration, with which heis not on friendly terms, pledging his support for any piece of legislationconcerning this idea.

All Russia needs is U.S. consent to shipping U.S. origin fuel to Russia.Several of the potential customers of an international nuclear waste storagesite use U.S. fuel.

A panel chaired by U.S. Energy Department Undersecretary Ernest Monizand Atomic Ministry First Deputy Minister Valentin Ivanov are evaluatingthe idea.
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F. U.S. – Russia General

1.
Mission to Moscow:  Clinton must lay the groundwork for a newrelationship with Russia
        Henry Kissinger
        Los Angeles Times
        May 15, 2000
        (for personal use only)

President Clinton's visit to Moscow next month will take place in anomalouscircumstances. The new Russian president, Vladimir Putin, is developingpolicies intended to shape Russia's future. President Clinton, near theend of his eight-year term, must be careful not to foreclose his successor'soptions.

The difference in perspective is compounded by a gulf between the twoleaders' perceptions of the nature of international politics. Putin hasarticulated a set of principles to enable Russia to resume the role ofa great power and "to uphold its national interests in the internationalarena." The Clinton administration seems to believe that reform of Russia'sdomestic institutions is the major solvent to bring about stable Russo-Americanrelationships. Hence its policy emphasizes constant exhortation regardinginternal developments in Moscow. And its political agenda stresses a viewof arms control that, if implemented, is certain to trigger a politicalexplosion in this country.

This is the real gap that challenges the two leaders when they meetin Moscow. Great powers have interests that they seek to vindicate by theirown efforts or to adjust by diplomacy. But the administration policy towardRussia has focused on Russia's domestic redemption. The Moscow visit canmake progress if it begins the process of treating Russia as a seriouspower. It will fail if it becomes the occasion for disquisitions on Russia'sdomestic structure or for arms-control schemes doomed to failure in America.

Western leaders have pursued a dialogue with the new Russian president.They have showered him with accolades testifying to his intelligence andcommitment to reform, and, somewhat condescendingly, as a "quick learner."In the process, they have abandoned the moral precepts they proclaimedless than a year earlier. Then, they justified their Kosovo policy as anew moral dispensation that would no longer ignore domestic repressionas an internal matter. But when, six months later, Chechnya produced analmost precise replica of Kosovo with even higher civilian casualties,they changed their tune. The "freedom fighters" of Kosovo were transformedinto "rebels" in Chechnya. President Clinton specifically approved Russia'sright "to oppose violent Chechen rebels."

Having deplored excessive self-righteousness over Kosovo, I do not advocateit as a precedent for Chechnya. But the rapid oscillation in the West'sforeign policy between extremes of moralism and expediency leaves a vacuumwith respect to exactly what the new Russian leader is to be engaged about.

Our European allies have made clear their aim. It is to establish Europeas Putin's principal interlocutor during the formative period of the newRussian presidency and our presumed preoccupation with our own presidentialcampaign. Prime Minister Tony Blair claimed a role for Britain as "pivot"and applied it to the contentious issue of missile defense: "Our role isvery much to build understanding of the various points of view, both ofRussia and the United States"--not exactly a ringing endorsement of theAmerican position.

The West has a stake in a peaceful and democratic Russia that wouldcontribute to a more stable international order. And Russia is clearlyin a historic transition. But history, culture and geography have lefta legacy that cannot be removed by "dialogue" for its own sake. ThroughoutBoris Yeltsin's period in office, Western leaders acted as if they werea party to Russian internal politics. Ignoring a corrupt economy and autocraticgovernmental practices, President Clinton, on the occasion of Yeltsin'sresignation, spoke of Russia as having emerged as "a pluralist politicalsystem and civil society competing in the world markets and plugged intothe Internet." He explained Yeltsin's leaving office as "rooted in hiscore belief in the right and ability of the Russian people to choose theirown leader. . . ." Almost every other observer viewed Yeltsin's resignationas a skillful manipulation of the Russian constitution in order to entrenchas his successor a protege practically unknown six months earlier. Andin Russia, the Yeltsin era is widely viewed as a surrender to an Americanstrategy to keep Russia weak.

In these circumstances, Clinton's journey to Moscow is threatened bypremises disproved by experience. "The president," announced his spokesmanJoe Lockhart, "hopes to use his visit to speak to a broad spectrum of Russianleaders who are building new democratic institutions, civil society anda new market economy." But when heads of state meet, their goal shouldbe to mitigate existing differences or indicate a specific direction towardcooperative relations. Lectures on domestic institutions often create,above all, the impression of American presumption and domineering.

Russian domestic reform is not a favor Putin does for America; it isimposed on him by reality, as he himself has pointed out. There are someways we can and should help, but in the end, Russian domestic economicreform is a Russian internal problem that depends largely on Russian decisions.

The deepest foreign policy challenge posed by Russia is how a potentiallypowerful country with a turbulent history can evolve a stable relationshipwith the rest of the world. For four centuries, imperialism has been Russia'sbasic foreign policy as it has expanded from the region around Moscow tothe shores of the Pacific, the gates of the Middle East and the centerof Europe, relentlessly subjugating weaker neighbors and seeking to overawethose not under its direct control. From the Holy Alliance to the BrezhnevDoctrine, Russia often has identified its security with imposing its domesticstructure on its neighbors and beyond. Now reduced to the boundaries ofPeter the Great in Europe, Russia must adjust to the loss of its empireeven as it builds historically unfamiliar domestic institutions. The Westdoes itself no favor by pretending that Russia already has culminated aprocess that is only in its inception or by celebrating Putin for qualitieshe has not been in office long enough to demonstrate.

Paradoxically, Putin may prove an effective interlocutor because hedoes not seem to play the game of appealing to our preconceptions. He emphaticallydoes not share the Western assessment of Russia's internal evolution. Inhis seminal manifesto, published late last year, Putin declared that "itwill not happen, if it ever happens at all, that Russia will become thesecond edition of, say, the United States or Great Britain. . . . For Russians,a strong state is not an anomaly, which should be got rid of. Quite thecontrary, they see it as a guarantor of order and the initiator and themain driving force of any change." Putin explicitly reaffirmed Russia'simperial tradition in his inaugural address: "We must know our history,know it as it really is, draw lessons from it and always remember thosewho created the Russian state, championed its dignity and made it a great,powerful and mighty state."

This attitude was reflected in a Russian national security policy documentadopted on Oct. 3, when Putin was prime minister: " . . . to create a singleeconomic domain with the members of the Commonwealth of Independent States"--thatis, all the former constituent republics of the Soviet Union (with theexception of the Baltics, which are nevertheless facing constant Russianpressure).

The document does not define what is meant by a "single domain." Evenwere it possible to confine such an ambition to the economic field, itsurely would be resisted by almost all the former subject states. But Russianpolicy under Yeltsin and, so far, under Putin has as one of its objectivesto make independence so painful for those states--by the presence of Russiantroops, the encouragement of civil wars or economic pressure--as to causereturn to the Russian womb to appear as the lesser of two evils.

Thus the leader Clinton is about to meet seeks cooperation on economics,but in politics he will attempt to generate countervailing pressures towhat he considers America's quest for domination. Russia is bound to havea special concern for security around its vast periphery, and the Westshould be careful about extending its military system too close to Russia'sborders. But, equally, the West has a right to ensure that Russia willseek security by measures short of domination. If Russia becomes comfortablein its present frontiers--and with 11 time zones there is no obvious reasonfor claustrophobia--its relations with the outside world rapidly will normalize.But if the strengthening of Russia as a result of reform produces gradualencroachment--as, in effect, all its neighbors fear--Russia's quest fordomination sooner or later will evoke Cold War reactions.

Thus for a discussion with Putin to be meaningful, Clinton needs tofocus on two subjects. One is to ensure that Russia's voice is respectfullyheard in the emerging international system. At the same time, PresidentClinton must stress--against all his inclinations--that geopolitics hasnot been  abolished. America cannot remain indifferent to Russia'ssupport of Iran's nuclear program, its systematic attack on American policiesin the Gulf, especially in Iraq, and its eagerness to foster groupingswhose proclaimed aim is to weaken so-called American hegemony. Americashould respect legitimate Russian security interests. But this presupposesa Russian definition of "legitimate" compatible with the independence ofRussia's neighbors and such serious American concerns as proliferationof nuclear and missile technology.

President Clinton has implied another major objective on his visit toMoscow: a breakthrough on arms control, specifically regarding the ABMtreaty, missile defense and reductions of offensive weapons. A word ofcaution is in order. The administration is highly uncomfortable with missiledefense. If unavoidable for domestic reasons, it clearly prefers to squeezeit into a framework where it is confined to threats from so-called roguestates such as North Korea. Yet an ABM system aimed at North Korea alsowill be useful against a threat from China, and a strategic defense againstChina that omits Russia implies a definition of national security prioritiesthat will profoundly affect all other international relationships. A lame-duckpresident should not attempt definitive breakthroughs on so controversiala subject.

As for offensive limitations, the administration is proceeding withthe same avoidance of public and congressional consultations that wreckedthe Comprehensive Test Ban treaty. There has been no public discussionor serious briefing with respect to the implications of a ceiling of 1,500warheads that the administration reportedly seeks. How is this to be distributedamong existing categories of weapons? Does it require different types ofweapons? What is the relationship to missile defense? What would be theimpact on global deterrence and foreign policy commitments? Among the prioritiesof a new administration must be to develop a nuclear strategy to answersuch questions without resorting to stale numbers inherited from the ColdWar.

While Putin is concentrating on the modernization of Russia, which hasits own momentum, our challenge is to deal with its international consequences.And, in what is left of the Clinton administration, the best that can beachieved in this respect is to start, rather than conclude, a dialogue.

The writer, a former secretary of state, is president of Kissinger Associates,an international consulting firm that has clients with business interestsin many countries abroad.
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