Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev sign the treaty cutting their nations' nuclear arsenals Photo: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

The new START Treaty was signed in Prague today and the text for both the Treaty (17 pages) and the Protocols (165 pages) are available.

On reading the text of the Treaty (still wading through the Protocols) am finding nothing untoward or diverging from what has been said here and elsewhere these past few days. Overall, it is a modest effort at reduction — nothing on the order of the original START reductions. It does re-establish an atmosphere of verification and compliance, though not as intrusive as the previous Treaty and includes use of “national technical means,” on-site visits and exchanges of telemetry data. 

In the final months of negotiation there was a lot said on the Russian side about missile defense and linkages to the new Treaty – much more than reported in the Western press, by the way. Of relevance to this part of the discussion is Article III 7(a) which states:

“A missile of a type developed and tested solely to intercept and counter objects not located on the surface of the Earth shall not be considered to be a ballistic missile to which the provisions of this Treaty apply.”

In other words, ABM and ASAT missiles that have been exclusively developed and tested for those purposes (e.g., SM-3 family) are exempt from the Treaty.

Note also that there is a withdrawal clause for “extraordinary circumstances” (Article XIV Section 3) which is a common clause for treaties of this nature and is not extraordinary for this treaty. In light of the Russian’s unilateral statement on missile defense, it may be highlighted in subsequent discussions. The text of the declaration follow:

“April 8, 2010

Statement by the Russian Federation on Missile Defence

The Treaty between the Russian Federation and the United States of America on the Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms signed in Prague on April 8, 2010, can operate and be viable only if the United States of America refrains from developing its missile defence capabilities quantitatively or qualitatively.

Consequently, the exceptional circumstances referred to in Article 14 of the Treaty include increasing the capabilities of the United States of America’s missile defence system in such a way that threatens the potential of the strategic nuclear forces of the Russian Federation.”

(reference: http://eng.kremlin.ru/text/docs/2010/04/225214.shtml)

Worth keeping an eye on as we move down the pike on the European PAA is the “qualitatively” part of the first sentence. Earlier (March 18) statements by Foreign Minister Lavrov singled out improved capabilities of the EPAA “by 2020″ which coincides with introduction of the SM-3 BlkIIB.

Finally, at the signing ceremony, the President stated:

“President Medvedev and I have also agreed to expand our discussions on missile defense. This will include regular exchanges of information about our threat assessments, as well as the completion of a joint assessment of emerging ballistic missiles. And as these assessments are completed, I look forward to launching a serious dialogue about Russian-American cooperation on missile defense.”

How much this was intended to allay or soften the Russian unilateral statement and the substance of those future talks 9as well as the direction they will take the European PAA and other bi- and multi-lateral missile defense initiatives in various theaters and regions, remains to be seen.

(crossposted at steeljawscribe.com)




Posted by SteelJaw in Foreign Policy
Tags: , ,

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  • Stan R

    Why do I get the feeling that we’re going to see growth/maturation of our missile defense capability stunted until the Russians can play catchup and then compete for what could amount to some very lucrative programs as the rogue nation ballistic missile bogeyman message gets up a full head of steam?

    I see this whole treaty donnybrook as nothing but a stunt to generate cash for Russian defense firms and prestige for the Russian gov’t.

  • Gary Hartzheim

    I am concerned that article V, item 3 will prevent expansion
    of the U.S. missile defense capabilty which will undoubtedly
    be necessary to counter future ICBM threats from countries such
    as North Korea, Iran and other non-friendly countries which
    are known to support Terrorist activities. Has any progress
    being made on the Strategic Defense Initiative? I believe that
    It is necessary to ensure our country and allies have adequate
    means to defend ourselves from threats likely to become reality
    in the future. World Terrorism is not going away and eventually
    such groups will acquire Nuclear Weapons with missiles adequate to strike targets worldwide. Will we be prepared to counter these threats?

2014 Information Domination Essay Contest