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Question of the Day
Russia has been demanding that the United States include missile defenses and conventional prompt-global-strike systems in the new agreement, something the administration so far has refused.
Paula A. DeSutter, the former assistant secretary of state for verification and compliance, who stepped down in January, told Inside the Ring that Russian noncompliance with START continued after 2005.
“The more recent compliance report, when it does go to the Senate and House, will be disturbing in a lot of ways because Russia continues to be in violation of the START treaty,” said Ms. DeSutter, who helped write post-2005 reports.
Between 2005 and 2009, the Russians have “become more cooperative with regard to re-entry vehicle on-site inspection,” she said. However, “they remain in noncompliance on a whole range of START treaty issues.”
On the new missile, Ms. DeSutter said the Russian military has conducted tests of the RS-24 that demonstrated the capability of carrying three multiple-independently targetable (MIRV) warheads, but without actually putting dummy warheads on the test missile.
A Senate Republican aide said the Russians have been developing the new missile in secret for years. “Essentially what’s happening is they’ve got a missile ready to field as soon as START expires,” said the aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak publicly.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the complex START treaty has been in force for 15 years and “some questions about implementation have arisen on both sides.”
“The United States and Russia have been working hard to clear up START compliance questions before the treaty goes out of force,” he said.
Overall, however, general implementation of the treaty was “a success” and contributed to U.S. national security, while assisting in understanding Russian forces.
“This administration is working hard to complete the 2009 compliance report, incorporating information from 2006, 2007 and 2008, when the report was not produced,” he said. “We will certainly be briefing the Senate on it when it is completed.”
Mr. Crowley said the administration is working on options for dealing with the interim between treaties. “But our focus is on getting the new treaty finished.” He did not elaborate.
“Clearly, neither we nor Russia would undertake any activities to increase our strategic forces or undermine strategic stability during any short gap there might be in transparency provisions,” he said.
Kurt Campbell, the assistant secretary of state for East Asia, said in a speech this week that U.S. officials are frustrated by the failure to develop a dialogue with China on nuclear weapons.
“I will tell you that I think one of the frustrations that the U.S. side has had for several years now, not simply in this administration, is that we have had a desire to have a deeper dialogue between American and Chinese friends exactly about the purposes of their force modernization and the direction that modernization has taken.”
About the Author
Bill Gertz is geopolitics editor and a national security and investigative reporter for The Washington Times. He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
Mr. Gertz also writes a weekly column ...
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