Putin Wants U.S. Missile Defense Data
The U.S. and Russia recently agreed to honor the spirit of the expired Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), while they continue to negotiate a replacement treaty. Under the treaty, signed by Russia and the U.S. in 1991, both countries agreed to reduce nuclear warheads to roughly 6,000 and delivery vehicles to 1,600. Eleven years later, the Moscow Treaty, a follow-up to START, required warhead reductions to between 1,700 and 2,200.
Vladimir Putin, Russia’s prime minister, said the two countries are still trying to replace START and blames America’s plans to continue developing a comprehensive missile defense system for the delay. (Source)
“If we don’t develop a missile defense system, a danger arises for us that with an umbrella protecting our partners from offensive weapons, they will feel completely safe,” he said. “The balance will be disrupted and then they will do whatever they want, and aggressiveness will immediately arise both in real politics and economics.”
Putin adds that to counter our missile shield Russia would make new offensive weapons. As a result, he is demanding that the U.S. provide Russia detailed data on its missile defense plans and capabilities. Logic dictates that Putin wants Russia to receive this information in order to permit it to modernize its offensive nuclear force in ways to defeat the missile defense system.
Will Barack Obama allow Russia to make START’s replacement contingent on whether the U.S. changes its missile defense policy? Obama already dropped plans to deploy missile defense shields in Poland and the Czech Republic, although he claimed Iran’s missile capabilities were the reason, not Russia’s negative reaction. President Obama’s explanation is not convincing and suggests that he is bowing to Prime Minister Putin’s demands that the U.S. terminate its missile defense program in order to get the START follow-on treaty.