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April 16, 2010
One sided START treaty
Kim Holmes writing at the Heritage Foundry blog:
The biggest problem with the new treaty is how lopsided it is in Russia's favor. Because of financial constraints and outdated nuclear systems, Russias nuclear arsenal was already going down, especially its aging launchers and delivery systems. It would have likely been forced to make the reductions codified in this treaty whether or not the U.S. reduced its weapons.
And yet if the treaty is ratified, we will have locked ourselves into reductions that cannot be changed. Were we ever to want to increase our nuclear arsenal - say, because China or some other country threatens us - doing so would put ourselves in violation of international law.
The new START also will give better protection to Russians than Americans. Once it is fully in force, we have to cut 151 of our delivery vehicles and launchers, while Russia could actually add 134 and still be under the limit of 700. The only side that's disarming on this score, then, will be the U.S.
Yes, the Russians may have to cut 190 nuclear warheads; but even there, we are disadvantaged; we could have to cut 265 to get to the treaty's limit of 1,550 (though warhead accounting rules for bombers make the actual numbers uncertain). This is not only unfair. It actually lessens Russia's exposure to America's nuclear weapons more than it reduces America's exposure to Russia's weapons.
The problem isn't so much the number of weapons as it is the delivery systems. We have a large superiority in bombers and subs. But that advantage is being taken away because the Russian's aging deterrent would only widen the gap in capability as they retire 1970's era systems.
Why we feel it necessary to give up a clear military advantage because the Russians can't keep up is a mystery.