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Moscow Treaty Reflects New Relationship

Moscow Treaty Reflects New Relationship

By Linda D. Kozaryn, American Forces Press Service.

Washington D.C. -- (AFPS) July 25, 2002 -- The United States and Russia are moving toward dramatically reducing their nuclear arsenals and clearing the way for a new relationship, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Capitol Hill today.

The two countries are basing relations on cooperation rather than fear of mutual annihilation, the secretary told the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning. He discussed the national security implications of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty that President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed May 24 in Moscow. Bush is seeking Senate ratification of the treaty.

Bush and Putin announced their intentions to reduce their operationally deployed strategic nuclear warheads by some two-thirds, to between 1,700 and 2,200 weapons. The reductions reflect the new relationship between the two nations, Rumsfeld said.

"Russia and the U.S. entered into this new century saddled with two legacies from the Cold War -- the adversarial relationship to which we had both grown accustomed and the physical manifestation of that adversarial relationship, the massive arsenals that we had built up," he said. "In the past year, we've made progress in dealing with both."

Rumsfeld pointed out that the treaty was reached without the prolonged negotiations of previous arms control agreements.

"This is the START treaty," the secretary said, holding up a thick notebook. "It is enormous. It was signed in 1991 by the first President Bush and the Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. It is 700 pages long, and it took nine years to negotiate.

"This is the Moscow Treaty that was concluded by President Bush and President Putin," he said, holding up a document. "It's three pages long, and it took five or six months to negotiate."

The Moscow Treaty is just one element of the growing relationship between the two countries that involves "not just security, but also increasing political, economic, diplomatic, cultural and other forms of cooperation," the secretary said.

The United States now approaches Russia as a friendly power, not an adversary, he noted. "With the recently completed Nuclear Posture Review, the United States is no longer interested in preserving a balance of terror with Russia," he said.

U.S. officials are now working to transform the nation's nuclear posture from one aimed at deterring the Soviet Union to one designed to deter adversaries that may not be discouraged by the threat of nuclear retaliation. "We would have made these cuts regardless of what Russia did with its arsenal," Rumsfeld said.

"We're making them not because we signed the treaty," he explained, "but because the transformation in our relationship with Russia means that we do not need as many deployed weapons as we once needed. Russia has made a similar calculation, and the agreement we reached in Moscow is the result of those determinations, not the cause of them."

America's means of deterrence must change as the nation's adversaries change, Rumsfeld stressed. The terrorists who struck the American homeland Sept. 11, he noted as an example, were not deterred by the massive U.S. nuclear arsenal.

U.S. officials decided to proceed with the cuts in order to invest in other critical areas that defense officials included in the 2003 budget request. They include investments in improved U.S. intelligence collection, analysis, processing and dissemination; a refocused, revitalized missile defense research and testing program; and capabilities to detect and respond to biological attack.

U.S. officials also aim to speed development of unmanned aerial vehicles; produce fast, precision-strike capabilities; and convert four Trident nuclear ballistic missile submarines into stealthy cruise missile and special operations platforms. The budget also includes programs to leverage information technology to seamlessly connect U.S. forces in the air, at sea and on land; protect information networks; improve the survivability of U.S. space systems; and develop a space infrastructure that assures persistent surveillance and access.

Rumsfeld said investments in these and other transformational capabilities in the 2003 budget should allow the United States over time to reduce its reliance on nuclear weapons and to enact the deep nuclear reductions contained in the Moscow Treaty.

AFRTS TV Reports:


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).