The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty will be the most important issues that are going to be discussed during Barack Obama’s visit to Moscow. The US president was on the phone with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on July 1 to discuss the opportunity of further reductions of nuclear arsenals.
The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1) expires in December of this year. The US president is to visit Moscow to discuss the prolongation of the document. In accordance with the document, signed in 1991, the USSR and the USA were supposed to cut the number of their nukes to 6,000 for each of the two countries.
Experts believe that Obama will try to sign the START-2 Treaty of 1993, which stipulated the reduction of nuclear warheads to 3,500 both with Russia and the United States. The agreement did not come into effect, because Washington pulled out from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 (the treaty restricted the deployment of the anti-missile defense systems). Russia responded adequately and pulled out from the START-2 Treaty.
The above-mentioned events resulted in serious friction between the two countries. The friction intensified nearly three years ago, when George Bush’s administration resolved to deploy elements of the US missile defense system near Russia’s borders – in Poland and the Czech Republic, which raised serious concerns with Russia. The Americans claimed that the system would be created as defense against Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missiles, but Russia founded those arguments worthless. The United States, in its turn, was dissatisfied with Russia’s cooperation with Iran – in the nuclear and in the defense industries, first and foremost.
Now the leaders of the two countries will be ready to discuss the issues in Moscow. Russia believes that the questions related to the two treaties must be solved as one complex of problems, whereas the USA prefers to think that the two problems are not connected with each other.
Pavel Zolotarev, an expert with the Institute for the USA and Canada, told Pravda.Ru that the prolongation of the START-1 Treaty had been solved.
“Now it is a very good time for each of the parties to achieve mutual understanding and not cause damage to each other’s interests. The Americans are serious about the reduction of nuclear arsenals. President Medvedev set forth his own suggestions to solve the problems related to the two treaties together,” the expert said.
“The United States has virtually refused from the strategic missile defense system and currently concentrates its attention on the regional missile defense which would defend the most important objects and territories for Washington. As a result, many of US international missile defense programs were frozen.
“Now the USA does not intend to launch anti-missile troops into space because it would trigger arms race in space and endanger Washington’s functioning space satellites. Therefore, there is no danger for Russia to exchange the START Treaty with the ABM Treaty.
“Russia will be safe even if the nation keeps not more than 1,500 nukes. Russia should not put pressure on the United States in terms of the missile defense system in Eastern Europe. Even if the missile defense system were installed in Poland and the Czech Republic, it would not be a catastrophe. The USA wanted to deploy only ten interceptor missiles there. How could they be dangerous to Russia’s strategic power?”