Rus­sia’s arms con­trol trap When­ever Moscow talks about pre­serv­ing peace through arms con­trol, we should know they’re ly­ing

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Peter Vin­cent Pry

Psy­chi­a­trists de­tect liars by cer­tain “tells” — eye move­ment, phys­i­cal pos­ture, re­peat­ing ques­tions to buy time to think of lies. When­ever Moscow starts talk­ing about pre­serv­ing world peace through arms con­trol, we should know from long ex­pe­ri­ence — they are ly­ing. In­deed, Rus­sia’s arms con­trol pro­pos­als are a per­fect “tell” about which U.S. weapons should not be lim­ited or elim­i­nated. Arms con­trol for Rus­sia is an in­stru­ment of ag­gres­sion, used by Moscow to dis­arm the United States — while Moscow cheats on treaties for strate­gic ad­van­tage.

On July 17, Rus­sia’s deputy for­eign min­is­ter, Sergey Ryabkov, told the U.S. del­e­ga­tion meet­ing in Geneva, Switzer­land, to discuss ex­tend­ing the New Strate­gic Arms Re­duc­tion Treaty (New START) that “any hy­po­thet­i­cally pos­si­ble new agree­ment or treaty with the United States in the area of arms con­trol must nec­es­sar­ily” limit U.S. missile de­fense ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Or as Rus­sia’s Sput­nik news ser­vice head­lined: “New START Treaty Must Link Con­trol Over Of­fen­sive, De­fen­sive Strate­gic Threats” (July 17, 2019).

In other words, if the United States wants New START (that sup­pos­edly lim­its Rus­sian long-range nu­clear mis­siles and bombers) to con­tinue, the United States must lower or elim­i­nate Amer­ica’s and NATO’s missile de­fenses.

What Moscow wants es­pe­cially is a guar­an­tee that Pres­i­dent Trump’s U.S. Space Force will not res­ur­rect Pres­i­dent Ron­ald Rea­gan’s Strate­gic De­fense Ini­tia­tive and space-based missile de­fenses to shield Amer­ica and NATO from Rus­sian nu­clear ag­gres­sion.

So what Rus­sia is telling us in Geneva, with­out mean­ing to, is that the best way for the United States and NATO to de­ter and de­feat Rus­sian nu­clear ag­gres­sion is to build space-based missile de­fenses as soon as pos­si­ble.

Pollyan­nas in the State Depart­ment and the Arms Con­trol As­so­ci­a­tion fool­ishly be­lieve Rus­sia really feels “threat­ened” by U.S. space-based and other missile de­fenses be­cause pro­tect­ing the peoples of Amer­ica and Eu­ro­pean NATO be­trays Mu­tual As­sured De­struc­tion (MAD).

But Moscow never be­lieved in the prin­ci­ple of MAD.

Moscow used the Anti-Bal­lis­tic Missile (ABM) Treaty to en­sure Mu­tual As­sured De­struc­tion would not be “mu­tual.” The ABM Treaty left Amer­i­cans un­pro­tected from nu­clear

an­ni­hi­la­tion — while Moscow’s ABM sys­tem today pro­tects Eu­ro­pean Rus­sia, where most of its pop­u­la­tion is lo­cated.

Sub­se­quently, Moscow cheated on the ABM Treaty by de­ploy­ing na­tion­wide de­fenses com­pris­ing thou­sands of sur­face-to-air-mis­siles (SAMs) ca­pa­ble of in­ter­cept­ing ev­ery­thing — mis­siles, cruise mis­siles and bombers.

The United States dis­man­tled its ABM sys­tem in 1975, res­ur­rect­ing in 2002 an in­ad­e­quate “dumbed down” Na­tional Missile De­fense that is chal­lenged to de­fend Amer­i­cans even from North Korea.

Moscow fears Mr. Trump will de­ploy space­based missile de­fenses that would be highly ef­fec­tive and de­feat Rus­sian plans to win a nu­clear war.

For ex­am­ple, Ambassador Henry Cooper, former direc­tor of SDI, pro­poses de­ploy­ing Bril­liant Peb­bles, a space-based missile de­fense can­celed by Pres­i­dent Clin­ton. Bril­liant Peb­bles would cost $20 bil­lion, could be­gin de­ploy­ment in Mr. Trump’s sec­ond term and could shield Amer­ica from hun­dreds of nu­clear mis­siles launched by Rus­sia, China, North Korea or Iran.

A Rus­sian dis­arm­ing nu­clear first strike against U.S. mis­siles and bombers has very high dam­age goals — seek­ing to de­stroy 90 per­cent of U.S. strate­gic forces. Even if U.S. space-based missile de­fenses are only par­tially suc­cess­ful — de­grad­ing a first strike from Rus­sia or China by 10 per­cent to 20 per­cent — this would very sig­nif­i­cantly erode first strike ef­fec­tive­ness and greatly strengthen de­ter­rence.

In Geneva, Rus­sia’s high­est diplo­matic pri­or­ity is to prevent the U.S. Space Force from be­com­ing a space-based missile shield against Moscow’s nu­clear first strike ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Why are we in Geneva beg­ging Rus­sia to ex­tend New START any­way? Have we learned noth­ing from Moscow’s long his­tory of cheat­ing on arms con­trol agree­ments? (See “The Case Against Arms Con­trol” RealClearD­e­fense.com, June 24, 2019.)

The State Depart­ment as­serts Rus­sia is in com­pli­ance with New START. But how do they know?

The Her­itage Foundation Re­port “New START: Potemkin Vil­lage Ver­i­fi­ca­tion” (June 24, 2010) got it ab­so­lutely right: “The New START ver­i­fi­ca­tion regime is not suf­fi­cient to de­tect largescale cheat­ing by the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion. As past ex­pe­ri­ence has shown, in­ad­e­quate ver­i­fi­ca­tion mea­sures are likely to be ex­ploited … Rus­sia … can de­ploy many more war­heads and mis­siles than al­lowed by

The United States dis­man­tled its ABM sys­tem in 1975, res­ur­rect­ing in 2002 an in­ad­e­quate “dumbed down” Na­tional Missile De­fense that is chal­lenged to de­fend Amer­i­cans even from North Korea.

the treaty with little risk of de­tec­tion.” For ex­am­ple: • New START in­spec­tions (18 an­nu­ally) are lim­ited to de­clared missile and bomber sites.

• “Short-no­tice ver­i­fi­ca­tion in­spec­tions have es­sen­tially been abol­ished, pro­vid­ing more time to hide or re­move items from the in­spec­tion site.”

• Un­der New START “there is no limit on the size of [Rus­sian] missile bases … The en­tire coun­try can now be a [mo­bile] missile base.”

• “The ver­i­fi­ca­tion of ac­tual … de­ployed bal­lis­tic missile war­heads is made much more dif­fi­cult by the elim­i­na­tion of START lim­its on the size and power … of bal­lis­tic mis­siles, and the re­moval of all con­straints on the num­ber of war­heads that can be tested on bal­lis­tic mis­siles and de­ployed bombers.”

• Un­der New START “it is clearly le­gal to en­crypt teleme­try for ev­ery flight test.”

• New START “al­lows the in­spected party to place cov­ers over the reen­try ve­hi­cles” which Rus­sia has used to im­pede “the vis­ual count­ing of the num­ber of reen­try ve­hi­cles ac­tu­ally de­ployed” on mis­siles.

Pres­i­dent Trump, Amer­ica doesn’t need an­other worth­less arms con­trol treaty with Rus­sia, China, North Korea or Iran. We need space­based missile de­fenses, like Bril­liant Peb­bles. Peter Vin­cent Pry served as chief of staff of the con­gres­sional EMP Com­mis­sion and in the CIA.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY

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