- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 23, 2011


The Obama administration’s arms-control-centered security policies appear to be on the ropes.

The latest blow was the threat announced Wednesday by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to deploy new missiles targeting U.S. facilities and allies in Europe, including plans for placing advanced Iskander short-range missiles in the Russian Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad.

The Russian president announced a series of military countermeasures to the ongoing deployment of the Obama administration’s European phased missile defense.

That threat came a day after the State Department announced that Russian violations of the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty had led the U.S. government to end data sharing - but not pull out of the failed treaty.

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The Russian saber-rattling also followed the administration’s recent concession in missile defense talks that was aimed at concluding an agreement with Moscow by offering to share highly sensitive velocity data on the crown jewel of U.S. missile defense - the SM-3 high-speed anti-missile interceptor.

The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) with Moscow also is in jeopardy because of Russian insistence, repeated in the Medvedev statement, that offensive arms cuts and missile defenses are “intrinsically linked,” something the U.S. government has rejected. U.S. officials have insisted instead that the treaty will not constrain U.S. anti-missile defenses.

U.S. officials closely involved in arms control policies said Mr. Medvedev’s statement signals that Moscow is preparing to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, that banned short-range ballistic and cruise missiles beginning in the late 1980s.

“Their countermeasures to [European Phased Adaptive Approach missile defense] clearly envision the need to do that, as they have publicly threatened to do in the past,” said one official.

Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby said in response to the Russian statement that U.S. missile defenses pose no threat to Russia or its forces. The missile defense plan is aimed at “addressing the growing missile threat from Iran,” he said.

“We have been addressing Russia’s concerns through an intensive dialogue and detailed briefings at senior levels. The U.S. and NATO have welcomed Russia to participate in missile defense cooperation. This is the best way for Russia to receive transparency and assurances that missile defense is not a threat,” he said.

Apparently, the administration has failed to see that Russia is not interested in arms control, only constraining U.S. and allied defenses.

Said the U.S. official: “Just days after the administration’s effort to further answer Muscovite concerns through the provision of our crown jewels - the velocity of our interceptors - was made public, we see Russia threaten NATO allies. These are the same Kremlin autocrats to whom the data would be given.”

“This administration’s disarmament diplomacy has gotten us nothing in Syria or in Iran, where Russia is blocking crippling sanctions on behalf of proliferators and state sponsors of terrorism,” the official said. “If these people can find the reset button, maybe they can also find the pause button. Most of us would press eject.”


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