The system of nuclear arms control might collapse at any moment

Russian academician, political analyst Alexei Arbatov in an interview with El Pais said that the Russian political and military leadership rejected “under the idiotic pretext of” proposals for disarmament made by U.S. President Barack Obama, and glad that came to power trump, who “is not interested in any nuclear disarmament and does not intend to give anything to Russia.”

The last seven years, the United States and Russia do not negotiate on disarmament, despite efforts of experts from both countries who, like Arbatov, trying to convince leaders that we need to maintain the system of nuclear arms control, which was painstakingly constructed since 1960-ies.


According to Arbatov, “the most urgent” task in the field of security today — “to save the system of nuclear arms control, which could collapse at any moment” if the Americans would withdraw from the Treaty on the reduction of intermediate-range and shorter-range nuclear forces (INF) signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.

The critical situation can also arise if Russian will want to repeat their sad experience of withdrawal from the Treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe and out of the INF Treaty. In this case, the Americans would withdraw from the Treaty on measures for the further reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms (start -3), signed in 2010 by Obama and Medvedev, without waiting for its expiry in 2021.


“After the collapse of the agreement banning nuclear tests, and we find ourselves in a state of chaos,” says Arbatov.

The start-3 Treaty provides for the reduction of nuclear warheads to 1,550, Intercontinental ballistic missiles, ballistic missile submarines and heavy bombers to 700 units.

“Ukraine and Syria are important topics, given the danger of collisions, but the most urgent is the salvation of the agreement on medium-range weapons””, — considers Arbatov. In his view, “today it can be done quickly and without much effort.”

Currently, the United States and Russia accuse each other of violating the Treaty on the reduction of intermediate-range and shorter-range.

Since late 1960-ies in the United States, when the President was elected Richard Nixon, the country has developed two different approaches on the question of disarmament. Democrats believe that the United States surpass Moscow in the sphere of nuclear weapons. According to them, the lower the role of nuclear weapons in relations with Russia, the more benefits the United States.

Republicans agree with Democrats that in the field of nuclear weapons forces of the United States and Russia are equal, but I think, unlike the Democrats that the United States needs in this area to have the upper hand, and strive to make their superiority was recognized.

If the Democrats tried to minimize the event of a nuclear conflict, the Republicans advocate an increase in nuclear capacity, so as to achieve superiority over Russia. In the reign of the US Democrats tried to keep relations with Russia parity, as it was in Soviet times, so as to avoid confrontation while maintaining security conditions for both sides.

Arbatov says that if Obama offered all the time to enter into new contracts with Russia, with the arrival in the White house trump the situation has changed. Now, within the framework of the classical model Republicans in relations with the Soviet Union began an ambitious plan of modernization of strategic and tactical weapons and missile defense. The Russian authorities do not understand. They believe that nuclear weapons — the main element of prestige, a symbol of Russia’s status in the world.

Arbatov believes that Russia is already involved in an arms race with the United States that may be “more difficult, costly, and dangerous than the arms race during the cold war.”

Currently we are seeing several trends that attempts to involve Russia in a new arms race. First, this concerns the modernization of strategic offensive arms within the framework of signed start -3 in 2010.

Second, Russia seeks to increase its offensive nuclear capability in response to the deployment of US missile defense systems in Eastern Europe.

Third, Russia and the United States begin the race for the creation of supersonic cruise missiles with non-nuclear long — range means of prompt global strike.

Also there is a competition between missile defense system of Russia and of space vehicles of a US attack.

“Such a sharp competition in the creation of new types of offensive and defensive weapons — both nuclear and non-nuclear — did not exist during the cold war,” Arbatov says.

“Putin thought that trump criticized Obama, will visit him in Moscow and admit the mistakes of the US, they will embrace and become friends, and the sanctions will be lifted. Need to know the American political system to understand that it is impossible, — continues Arbatov. President Putin wants to stop the escalation of the cold war, but makes no serious concessions, because the most afraid of appearing weak. In the end, the results will not be”.

According to Arbatov, the Obama administration is for the development of Russian-American relations were the best since the tenure of Frank Roosevelt (1933-1945). Good relations with the United States when a Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (2008 – 2012). However, in recent years of the Obama administration, bilateral relations were full of illusions and disappointments.

“After returning to the presidential post Vladimir Putin’s relationship with the United States was paralyzed, and Obama has become the worst enemy of Russia. Putin does not want a normalization of relations with the United States, he wanted to take revenge on the Americans for all the humiliation and resentment that Russia experienced in the early 90-ies, and especially during his first two terms. It was then that Russia sought to improve relations with the United States. George W. Bush hugged Putin and firmly shook his hand, and then did what he likes. In the end, it’s tired of Putin, and he in February 2007, made his famous speech at the security conference in Munich, which became the beginning of a new “cold war”, — said Russian academician.

The American administration has developed a program of modernization of the entire nuclear triad: strategic bombers, Intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear submarines. For many years instead of producing new models of nuclear weapons, the Americans extended the lifetime of existing warheads manufactured in the 80-ies.
The program of modernization of nuclear weapons and infrastructure for the next 30 years, and it is planned to spend about a trillion dollars.

Arbatov also noted that the new administration does not want to renew the Contract on strategic offensive arms even up to 2026. He recalled that at the end of his term, Obama has offered Russia to extend the Treaty, but the Kremlin does not want to negotiate about nuclear weapons, especially with Obama. “They believed that nuclear weapons is our main attribute, the symbol of our status,” — said Arbatov.

“When the period of validity of contract SNV-3 will expire, and everyone will do whatever they want, and not be able to get a clear idea of the forces and plans of the other, so that tensions and the risk will increase. It will be the worse period of the cold war as the competition not only in the sphere of nuclear weapons, but in the sphere of defensive and precision-guided weapons”, — says the Russian expert.

Arbatov believes that the blame for a new arms race is on Russia and the United States. If we are talking about high-precision cruise missiles filled with conventional warheads, Russia has developed a rocket “Caliber” land and sea-based, which was tested in Syria. Earlier, the Russian army did not have such precision weapons. Americans for the past 30 years the use of cruise missiles “Tomahawk” with nuclear warheads on submarines and ships.