Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Biden Seeks to Build on New START During Russia Trip
U.S. Vice President Joesph Biden traveled to Russia on Tuesday in a bid to further advance a two-year strengthening in bilateral relations that culminated most recently in a strategic nuclear arms control treaty's entry into force, Reuters reported (see GSN, Feb. 17).
Biden is expected to hold discussions with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday and to meet with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin the following day. Observers expect less chance for major strides in U.S.-Russian collaboration as attention in each nation shifts to domestic politics ahead of their 2012 general elections.
"For Obama, it's important there be no pause in relations which would suggest that the 'reset' is not working ... that the arms treaty was signed and it's over," Moscow-based analyst Viktor Kremenyuk said.
New START went into effect last month. The treaty obligates Washington and Moscow to each limit their deployed strategic nuclear weapons at 1,550, down from a limit of 2,200 required by 2012 under an earlier treaty. It also sets a ceiling of 700 deployed warhead delivery systems, with another 100 allowed in reserve.
That pact -- along with Obama's 2009 move to alter a Bush-era European missile defense proposal resisted by the Kremlin -- were key to securing and maintaining Moscow's support for various U.S. priorities, including international sanctions targeting Iran's nuclear program, according to Reuters.
The Obama administration has called for U.S.-Russian negotiations on a short-range nuclear arms control treaty to begin by early 2012, but Moscow has shown less enthusiasm for the proposal, calling for any tactical weapons talks to also address NATO missile defense plans and the alliance's conventional weapons edge on the European continent, according to earlier reports (see GSN, Feb. 8).
Russia and NATO are exploring areas for potential missile defense collaboration, but the two military powers have displayed markedly different notions of what that cooperation should entail. The alliance favors the establishment of two separate but coordinated antimissile entities, while Moscow has advocated a "sectoral" approach in which each side would assume responsibility for eliminating missiles traveling across a specific geographic area (see GSN, March 4).
Failure to reach agreement on missile defense collaboration could prompt a new Russian arms buildup, Moscow warned previously (Steve Gutterman, Reuters, March 8).
"We can see the practical and important results" of the U.S.-Russian "reset" two years into the effort to improve ties, ITAR-Tass quoted Biden's national security adviser Tony Blinken as saying last week. "This trip, for the vice president, is an opportunity to take stock of the reset, what we've achieved and where we hope to go next."
Antimissile collaboration was one of "our two top priority issues for 2011," along with completing Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization, said Michael McFaul, the U.S. National Security Council's senior director for Russia (ITAR-Tass, March 5).
Feb. 14, 2013
A new brochure describes the origins and the work of the Nuclear Security Project.
Feb. 14, 2013
George Shultz, William Perry, Henry Kissinger and Sam Nunn laid out their vision of a world without nuclear weapons and the urgent, practical steps to get there in a groundbreaking series of co-authored Wall Street Journal op-eds.
This article provides an overview of Russia’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.