The first month of this year is expected to outline the efficiency of Russia’s foreign policy. Russia is taking active steps in all directions, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Iran’s nuclear program, the G8, the situation in Kosovo, conflicts in the Caucasus and the relations with Ukraine. In addition to these long-lasting problems, Russia is set to take up the new international role – the chairmanship at the UN Disarmament Committee. This department was set up for expert consultations and discussions, but it may become a good tribune for the Russian diplomacy too.
Russian officials, including the president, have been making quite a number of statements on the issue of disarmament lately. Vladimir Putin paid attention to the problem in his annual speech to the Federal Assembly. “Against the background of such a serious threat as international terrorism, the key issues of disarmament policy have been forgotten in terms of the international agenda, although it is too early to talk about the end of the arms race. Moreover, the arms race has been gathering pace recently. It enters a new technological level as the whole new arsenal of destabilization weapons appears,” Putin said.
The disarmament problem is a global and symbolic issue. This problem is handled by world’s leading superpowers. It is worthy of note that international media outlets, especially the European ones, mention the USA, China and Russia when speaking about the superpowers of today’s world. Russia has been awarded with such a respectable status in advance, so to speak. Russia is definitely out of competition with the USA for the time being, especially when it comes to economy. The disarmament problem comes in handy at this point: it is quite honorable to urge the world to disarm.
China shares the same point of view and supports Moscow’s efforts. Russian and Chinese diplomats believe that defense programs could be practiced not only on Earth but also in space. Space surveillance systems to observe international disarmament treaties, systems to detect missile launches, communication and arms control systems can be used in space successfully. On the other hand, Russia and China are determined to prohibit the deployment of offensive weapons in space. There is only one country in the world that has money and wish to launch missiles from space – the USA. It is an open secret that the USA will find ways to ignore all international agreements once the US administration has a goal that needs to be achieved.
Many experts say that the George W. Bush’s administration prepares to launch defense programs in space. President Ronald Reagan tried to get the USSR involved in the super-expensive arms race in space pretending that the USA had given a start to the program. Nowadays Washington does not have any rival: it can place the space program burden on itself on its own initiative only. The initiative is not going to be a success in the near future taking into consideration USA’s poor achievements in the air defense program, though.
Russian diplomats need to be more active with Russia's disarmament initiatives. Who knows, maybe American tax-payers will think about the way their government is spending their money.
Translated by Dmitry Sudakov
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