Though the new START is a constructive Treaty between Moscow and Washington, it is not disarmament treaty. The treaty does not apply to whole categories of weapons, including thousands of strategic warheads held in reserve and tactical warheads, some of which are still stationed in Europe. Moreover, neither party would have to actually eliminate large numbers of weapons to meet the new limits.
The new START would not cap the research and development intended to develop more sophisticated nuclear weapons in the future. Recently, both countries have authorized massive amounts for nuclear weapons and their delivery systems modernization. For example, Obama Administration has approached the Congress for nearly $85 billion budget for the modernization of its existing nuclear arsenals. The Obama Administration’s robust, $85 billion, 10-year plan for upgrading the nuclear weapons are one of the largest increases in nuclear warhead spending in US history.
The Russians had expressed their desire to expand the scope of bilateral arms control agreements. Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov stated that coordinated efforts were needed in missile defense. He also articulated that Moscow was willing to talk about tactical nuclear weapon reductions. He said: “We are ready to discuss this very complex topic in the framework of a comprehensive approach to strategic stability.” Nevertheless, the Americans’ response to the Russians comprehensive approach to strategic stability is awaited.
In reality, the United States is not inclined to cap its Ballistic Missile Defense program. It has been immensely investing in the research and development of the missile shield. Washington’s firm approach to deploy Ballistic Missile Defense systems generates anxiety in the Russian ruling elite. On January 26, 2011, Valery Loshchinin, the Russian Federation representative in the Conference on Disarmament, stated: “Both the United States and Russian legislatures had entered conditions in their ratifications, but it was a compromise. Russia could leave the treaty [START] if the United States were to unilaterally deploy anti-missile systems which infringed the defensibility of Russia.” This highlights Russians’ serious reservations on development and deployment of anti-missile systems.
To conclude, the New START is a constructive development in the realm of nuclear weapons arms control. However, the United States Ballistic Missiles Defense and nuclear modernization programs remain stumbling blocks for further progress in the realm of nuclear arms control and disarmament.
Timeline for New START Treaty Implementation
• April 8, 2010: New START Treaty signed by the United States and Russia
• May 2010: Parties exchanged lists of facilities subject to inspection and provided inspection site diagrams
• December 22, 2010: United States Senate gives its advice and consent to the ratification of the New START Treaty
• January 26, 2011: Russia completes its domestic ratification process and approves the New START Treat
• February 5, 2011: Instruments of ratification are exchanged and the New START Treaty enters into force.