The U.S.- Russia arms control talks are needed – at least to hammer out some initial arragements

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Presentation by Vladimir P. Kozin, the lead expert of the MGIMO’s Center for military and political studies, at the Second MGIMO-Fletcher Conference on Russian-American Relations. Moscow, MGIMO University, May the 24th.


The USA and Russia are facing the most dangerous security crisis in recent years for their nations and the world at large. The global implications of such crisis are also alarming. While the last century was labelled as the nuclear age, the current one has been characterized as ballistic missile defense age and as a potential space-based arms age.

Its evident implications have produced very strong negative impact, especially upon the arms control process.

In has nearly stalled. There no any new talks in this domain. Such talks are somewhere over the skyline.

There are 15 unresolved issues between the two nations in this area though during the first stage of the Cold War Washington and Moscow have managed to reach accords on strategic nuclear arms limitations and subsequently in their substantial reductions, on the ballistic missiles’ defense limitations, two classes of nuclear-tipped medium-range and shorter-range land-based ballistic and cruise missiles have been scrapped, several confidence-building measures in the military domain have been elaborated.

Currently there are 12 arms control arrangements that are either denounced unilaterally (ABM Treaty, Iran nuclear deal), or non-ratified (CTBT, adapted CFE) or partially violated New START, INF Treaty, Open Skies Treaty, CWC, BWC) or completely disregarded by the USA (European Security Treaty, Treaty preventing arms race in outer space). The INF Treaty that has been widely welcomed all over the world has been violated by the Pentagon 93 times while testing the effectiveness of the U.S.BMDS with the use of medium-range and shorter-range missiles as mock missiles prohibited by the INF Treaty.

The Security Summit between Presidents Trump and Putin exclusively devoted to arms control is needed.

The proposed Summit has to be prepared with the utmost accuracy and dedication displayed by the two sides. It should be oriented to practical, mutually acceptable solutions to be clearly understood and shared by the American and Russian citizens, and by the entire world community.

Certainly, it is difficult to imagine that the leaders of two superpowers could reach a comprehensive accord on all sixteen unresolved issues in the arms control area during their first Summit. But, in order to make a considerable step forward to greater bilateral and global security they have to make at least a number of initial steps, for example:

1. To sign the legally-binding Treaty on no-first-use of any kind of nuclear weapons with any nuclear yield against each other. If such agreement is not reached to reach agreements on the rest proposals listed below will be useless.

2. To reach an agreement on limiting the total number of strategic BMD interceptors to a certain limit, e.g. 2.000 for each side, excluding PAC-3 Patriot-type AAD/BMD for each side; and on limiting their geographic deployment closer than 1.000 km to each territory.

3. To reach an accord not to field for more than 24 hours any kind of nuclear weapons, both strategic and tactical, outside national territory of the two sides. The USA has to pull back all its tactical nuclear weapons from Europe and the Asian part of Turkey, thus making a geographic parity in their deployments limited to their respective territories.

4. To sign a bilateral treaty banning space-based striking weapons, including ASAT assets and BMDS interceptors.

5. To sign a new CFE Treaty applied to Europe covering the same five types of heavy weapons specified in the earlier CFE-1 and CFE-1A accords.

All these measures are the most urgent.

They require concrete solutions to be made at the level of the Presidents of the USA and the Russian Federation. Only they can, if they wish, to restore the profitable arms control process that has been implemented in the past.

That is why the appeal of all rational personalities in the USA and the Russian Federation should be addressed to them, to their wisdom and to their dedication to make our world safer, more stable and more predictable.

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