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    Missile Defense

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?

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rshowalter - 10:45pm Aug 21, 2001 EST (#7980 of 7989) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

" 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 do.

" 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 forces.

" 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 Texas."

" 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.


rshowalter - 10:46pm Aug 21, 2001 EST (#7981 of 7989) Delete Message
Robert Showalter

" 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 by it."

" 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 defenses.

" 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 year.

" 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 actual deployment."

" 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 threat.

" 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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