In March 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented a toy “reset button” replica to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov symbolizing a cooperative “New START” era of mutual nuclear arms reduction.
As Russia grows their nuclear arsenal while we shrink ours, it isn’t working out quite as advertised.
Enacted in 2011, the treaty sets a maximum number of nuclear warheads at 1,550 and deployed delivery systems at 700 by February, 2018. Recent State Department figures reported by Bill Gertz in the Washington Free Beacon aren’t encouraging.
Russia actually added 153 more warheads over the past year in what appears to be a large-scale buildup, while the U.S. cut back its total by 57.
Russia is playing fast and loose with numbers by eliminated 34 mostly older SS-25 road-mobile missile launcher and bomber delivery systems over the past year — adding only six new ones — and then doubling their inventory of multiple, independently-targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs).
Included are those on recently-deployed road-mobile SS-27 Yar missiles and SS-N-32 Bulava ballistic missiles to be launched on their new Borei-class submarines. Both types of missiles can be equipped with up to 10 nuclear warheads each.
Moscow is also building a new heavy intercontinental ballistic missile ICBM called “Sarmat” to be equipped with between 10 and 15 warheads per missile, a new rail-based ICBM capable of carrying multiple warheads, and is developing another long-range missile called the SS-X-31 that can carry 12 warheads.
Also reported in the Washington Free Beacon, former Pentagon nuclear forces policymaker Mark Schneider believes that these estimates of near-term Russian warheads are still far too low.
Schneider, now with the National Institute for Public Policy, predicts that Moscow’s plans for at least 50 new Tu-160 nuclear bombers will “push the number to over 3,000 when this program is completed.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. has eliminated 20 missile launchers or bombers, along with 44 nuclear warhead systems on surface-launched ICBMs, sub-launched missiles and bombers.
Expressing concern about Russia’s ongoing nuclear warfare advancements, Adm. Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command in charge of nuclear forces, told Congress last month that “When you look at what they’ve been modernizing, it didn’t just start.”
He said, “They’ve been doing this quite frankly for some time, with lots of crescendo activity over the last decade and a half.”
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford agrees. He told Congress earlier this month, “The one that has the greatest capability and poses the greatest threat to the United States is Russia because of its capabilities — its nuclear capability, its cyber capability, and clearly because of the things we have seen in its leadership behavior over the last couple of decades.”
Mark Schneider doubts that Russia has any intention to comply with nuclear arms limitations set for 2018. Noting that “The Russians have not claimed to have made any reductions for five years," and that “Russia is now at 198 more deployed warheads than at entry into force [of the New START treaty]," he said: “I believe the odds are that Russia will terminate the treaty in 2017.”
Blake Narendra, a spokesman for the State Department’s Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, essentially dismisses such pessimism, claiming that Russian modernization of nuclear forces simply reflects “fluctuations.”
As for Russia adding multiple warhead capabilities, he said, “the United States itself maintains an upload capability on its Minuteman III ICBMs.”
Schneider charges that the Obama administration’s public affairs talking points on U.S. treaty benefits “border on outright lies”. He observed, “The only reductions that have been made since New START entry into force have been by the United States.”
Former Defense Secretary William Perry isn’t optimistic either. He stated in remarks at the Atlantic Council that while New START was once “very helpful” in promoting strategic stability, recent nuclear weapons trends are “very, very bad.”
Attributing a lack of progress to Russian hostility towards the U.S., Perry observed that with other nuclear powers including China and Pakistan now also expanding their arsenals, “Everything came to a grinding halt and we’re moving in reverse.”
Yes, and let’s also include North Korea in that nuclear camp, a rogue nation that recently conducted its fourth nuclear test which they purported to be a hydrogen bomb . . . plus also launched a three-stage rocket into space . . . all in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
They used the occasion of last month’s Nuclear Security Summit chaired by President Obama to fire still another long-range ballistic missile.
Vladimir Putin didn’t find the showcased Washington photo-op meeting sufficiently relevant to attend. As Russian Foreign Ministry official Mikhail Ulyanov explained to Russia’s RIA Novosti state news agency, “There is no need for it . . . to be honest, the political agenda of the summits has long been exhausted.”
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) and the graduate program in space architecture. He is the author of “Scared Witless: Prophets and Profits of Climate Doom”(2015) and “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax” (2012). Read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.