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Russian military leaders have expressed concern about US plans
for a national missile defense system. Will defense technology be
limited by possibilities for a strategic imbalance? Is this just SDI
all over again?
(7979 previous messages)
- 10:45pm Aug 21, 2001 EST (#7980
" The Russians will never agree to jointly
withdrawal from the treaty," he said. "They will force us to
violate it. And we are doing that by manufacturing tests in which
we intentionally violate the treaty."
" Mr. Rhinelander had suggested earlier that
the Russians may be willing to amend the treaty to allow
deployment of a small system in Alaska.
" Mr. Putin warned in June that a unilateral
American withdrawal from the treaty, which he describes as "the
cornerstone of strategic stability," would negate 30 years of arms
control accords, set off a new arms race among aspiring nuclear
powers and force Russia to build a new generation of missiles with
multiple warheads, something that Moscow had pledged not to
" Mr. Bolton was in Moscow to follow up on
strategic discussions that have intensified since Mr. Bush and Mr.
Putin held their first summit meeting in Slovenia in June.
" He was also preparing for a September meeting
between Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Russia's foreign
minister, Igor S. Ivanov.
" Mr. Bolton also said other administration
officials would be visiting European capitals this week and NATO
headquarters in Brussels to inform European leaders about the
administration's plans to develop missile defenses, military
budget expenditures and planned reductions in strategic
" Excerpts of Mr. Bolton's remarks were
released by the radio station Echo Moscow tonight. Mr. Bolton, who
did not return a telephone call to his hotel room, has scheduled a
news conference on Wednesday evening.
" In the radio interview, he said the Bush
administration "doesn't regard" the November deadline "as any kind
of any official deadline — we will try to achieve as much as we
can" by the time Presidents Bush and Putin meet.
" "If, though we don't want it, we don't manage
to come to an agreement with Russia, in this case we will have to
use our right envisaged by the treaty not to violate it, but
withdraw from it," he was quoted in the interview as saying.
" Making light of the unofficial deadline
Washington was imposing, Mr. Bolton said the "by November" time
frame had been set because, "I think the presidents will be
disappointed if by this time we don't reach significant progress
and they won't have anything to talk about at the meeting in
" Mr. Bush has invited the Russian leader to
visit his ranch in Crawford, Tex., in November.
" But there were other developments today in
Washington suggesting that the November deadline is closely
connected with Bush administration plans to move forward with
missile silo construction in Alaska and more elaborate antimissile
tests that might otherwise violate the ABM Treaty.
- 10:46pm Aug 21, 2001 EST (#7981
" Mr. Bolton also elaborated on the Bush
administration strategy to withdraw from the 1972 accord without
bringing down a torrent of criticism from European allies and
other countries who fear that Mr. Bush's approach to missile
defense is needlessly destabilizing.
" "We explicitly stated that we were not going
to violate the ABM Treaty," Mr. Bolton said in the interview. "We
also don't want to attract criticism for such a violation while we
are in the process of development and testing of possible
antimissile systems," he said.
" He stressed that the United States "wants,
together with the government of Russia, to find a way out — either
by some way of withdrawing from the treaty together or some way,
also together — to go beyond the framework of limitations imposed
" In talks with Russian officials this week,
Mr. Bolton suggested that he had been promoting the idea of
reaching a "gentleman's agreement" that would be considered "a no
less serious thing than a documented treaty" to allow the United
States to escape the current limitations against testing missile
" But most signs were that Russian officials
have held firm. Russian Foreign Ministry officials have made a
series of statements in recent weeks that they do not expect
substantive talks with Washington on further strategic arms
reductions and missile defense to begin before the end of the
" On Friday, Marshal Igor D. Sergeyev, former
minister of defense and now a special adviser to Mr. Putin,
criticized Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld for televised
remarks in which the American defense chief said Russia was still
a captive of the "cold war mentality and fear and apprehension and
concern about the West."
" "I think it was a poor joke by the chief of
the Pentagon," Marshal Sergeyev said, adding that Russia has no
veto over Washington's right to withdraw from the treaty. He
added, "the role of the deterrence factor of nuclear missile
weapons" will have to be redefined in such a world.
" And, he added, for America, "There is a very
long road that has not been properly studied yet from the
declarations about deploying a national missile defense to its
" A number of European leaders, including Mr.
Putin, have recognized the potential threat of ballistic missile
attack from rogue nations — though most do not see an imminent
" Many leaders have urged Mr. Bush to proceed
more cautiously to ensure that neither Russia nor China feel
threatened or isolated by missile defenses. Russia and China
signed a friendship and military cooperation treaty in July.
" Mr. Putin has urged Mr. Bush not to abandon
three decades of arms control accords without first negotiating
some new strategic framework that would replace them."
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