According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the White House has finally decided not to extend the Start-3 strategic arms reduction treaty. This is the last document limiting the military power of the two nuclear powers. What threatens the world with the collapse of the international security system?
To include China
In an interview with journalists, the Foreign Minister stressed that there is no need to give in to panic over the non-renewal of Start-3 — Russia can guarantee its security even without it. Nevertheless, this agreement was essential. Russian and US presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama signed Start-3 on April 8, 2010. The document entered into force in February 2011 and expires in 2021.
The Treaty provided for the reduction of nuclear warheads in the arsenals of Russia and the United States to 1,550 units, Intercontinental ballistic missiles, ballistic missiles of submarines and heavy bombers — up to 700 units. Start-3 was signed exactly one year after the end of Start-1. And if in the first half of the tenth few people doubted its extension, then with the arrival of Donald Trump in the White House, the situation changed dramatically.
One of the main conditions for the continued existence of Start-3, the American leader called China’s participation in it. Fu Tsong, Director of the Department of arms control of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, explained that this is possible only in two cases: if China increases its nuclear arsenals to the level of the United States, or if Washington reduces its own. Other options are unacceptable for Beijing, as they do not take into account the vast difference in strategic capabilities.
Another condition put forward by Washington does not suit Moscow. In early July, the US President’s special representative for arms control, Marshal Billingslea, called the Petrel and Poseidon missile projects “terrible” and called for their closure, since they do not fall under the Start-3 restrictions. The Americans have previously insisted on limiting the latest Russian weapons, including non-nuclear hypersonic anti-ship missiles “Zircon.”
“This only shows that the US has no leverage left to maintain world leadership, except for nuclear blackmail,” Konstantin Sivkov, a doctor of military science, explains. — Economically, they are already lagging behind China in some areas and in some military technologies ‘(for example, hypersonic) — behind Russia. That is why they are trying to persuade us to abandon advanced developments. We should not fall for this trick.”
The uncompromising position
Sergey Lavrov stressed that Russia would not ask the United States to extend the Treaty. However, Moscow has always been ready to make certain concessions. The Minister said that the Americans discussed the possibility of limiting the number of the two newest Russian strategic systems in the framework of Start-3 when they will be fully deployed. We are talking about hypersonic gliding combat units “Avangard” and heavy Intercontinental ballistic missiles “Sarmat.”
“As for the other three systems (the Petrel cruise missile, the Poseidon underwater drone, and the hypersonic Zircons), they are new, they do not fit into the categories covered by the Start-3 Treaty, — said Lavrov. — But we are ready to start talking about weapons that are not classic from the current agreement, becoming the subject of discussion.”
However, it is unlikely that the states will make reciprocal concessions. Washington has repeatedly expressed uncompromising views: “Either you unconditionally agree to our terms, or we withdraw from the contract.” Neither Russia nor China is going to agree with the claims of the Americans, without taking into account their national interests. According to experts, the Start-3 Treaty has little chance of being extended. This means that the entire international security system will change completely.
Quality instead of quantity
“If we talk about the system of international security in the military sphere, we must admit that it no longer exists,” says Viktor Murakhovsky, editor-in-chief of the magazine Arsenal of the Fatherland. — This system was based on agreements between the USSR and the United States, later — Russia and the United States. These are the ABM treaties, the INF, and the universal ban on nuclear testing, which the Americans have not ratified. The agreement on security and cooperation in Europe, as well as part of it — the Treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe, which also died thanks to the United States. The entire system, which was carefully built up in the acute conflict situations of the cold war, was destroyed at the initiative of Washington.”
The expert stressed that, in addition to the current Start-3, only The Treaty on the missile technology control regime remained. However, the Americans are trying to push this document under them. In June, Reuters, citing sources in the military-industrial complex and the country’s leadership, reported that the White House is going to review the provisions of the Treaty to sell more combat drones to different countries. It is unlikely that this will suit the other parties to the agreement.
“We can say with regret that now everything will have to be designed again,” Murakhovsky notes. — Our President has already initiated a meeting of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to discuss this issue. Perhaps we should move on to an international Treaty, if not on limitation, and then at least on nuclear arms control. But judging by the policy and position of Washington and London, the prospects for this initiative are minimal.”
The expert stressed that he does not believe that a new “quantitative” arms race is likely when Russia and the United States will again increase the number of nuclear warheads and their means of delivery. However, the battle for technological superiority in the field of strategic weapons promises to be hot.