Chair: Rodney Jones|
Senior Advisor, Carnegie START II Project
Amb. Yuri Nazarkin
The first panel is devoted primarily to START and issues related to START II ratification in Russia. We have with us this morning a fair chunk of the START Treaty negotiating horsepower from the last couple of administrations, as well as people responsible for the implementation of the START Treaty, and also a member of Parliament from Russia.
Our distinguished speakers on this panel are well known to most of you and their affiliations are listed in the agenda papers. That being the case, and in the interest of conserving time for discussion at the end of each panel, let me abbreviate the formal introductions and move us directly into the substance of this panel. I would like to call on Ambassador Nazarkin to begin.
Yuri Nazarkin: Thank you. After approval of START II by the U.S. Senate, the ball is now in Russia's court. To give you a picture of what is going on in Russia, let me start by summarizing the results of the deliberations and hearings on START II held last year in my country.
During these deliberations, in particular during hearings in the Duma, there were many criticisms which can be summarized into four major points. The major critical remarks were related to the issue of the ABM Treaty and nationwide missile defenses. The concern was expressed that if nationwide ABM systems were allowed, the United States would gain a substantial strategic advantage over Russia, which has no economic means to reciprocate by developing its own ABM system to protect its territory. A large ABM system combined with lower levels of strategic offensive arms, will give the United States a bigger advantage. I am just describing the point of view that was widely expressed in Duma deliberations in Russia.
If Russia decides that it cannot afford an ABM system, it would mean a substantial change to the strategic balance. That is why the views adopted by the U.S. Senate in June, calling for deployment of a nationwide ABM system, caused great concern in Russia. The House-Senate conference bill, passed in December, called for the United States to "develop for deployment" a national missile defense by 2003, but this did not remove Russian concerns. This bill was seen in Russia as aiming for deployment of a national missile defense in the long run, and as a threat to the ABM Treaty.
President Clinton's veto of this bill brought some relief, but did not remove anxiety completely, because there was no guarantee that an effort to create an ABM system to protect the entire United States can't be undertaken again and more successfully. The recent move by Senator Jesse Helms, who introduced legislation calling for the United States to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, revitalized those anxieties and made the situation on ratification even worse. Probably that was his intention.
Part of the ABM problem is the negotiation on demarcation of strategic and non-strategic ABM systems. The main concern here is that such an agreement should prohibit the sides from using certain missile defense systems, which the agreement would allow to be deployed, against strategic missiles. Russian parliamentarians insist on ratifying this agreement before ratifying START II. This discussion is going on in our mass media, and I can refer to two articles that were published just last Saturday in our newspapers, one by Alexei Podberiozkin, who is an expert on strategic and military matters in the Communist Party, and another article addressing Helms' bill.
A second point of criticism is the financial cost of implementing START II reductions. It is widely acknowledged in Russia that START II permits the United States to reduce its strategic forces in the most economic way, while imposing an unacceptably high burden on Russia. Under the treaty, the United States would reduce all three components of its strategic triad in equal proportions. At the same time Russia, which has roughly 300 deployed single-warhead ICBMs, its SS-25s, would be required to reduce many more ICBMs than the United States because ICBMs represent 60 percent of all Russian delivery vehicles, and 95 percent of the warheads on ICBMs are MIRVed and would therefore be eliminated under START II. With the treaty sub-ceiling of 1,750 SLBM warheads, and the practical reality that Russia cannot deploy more than 500 warheads on heavy bombers, Russia would need, if it wants to maintain the 3,500-warhead balance, to deploy about 1,000 single-warhead missiles in addition to its 300 SS-25s. In addition, all SS-18s should be eliminated, but 90 SS-18 silos can be converted. The remaining 64 SS-18 silos would be eliminated. To convert the silos, however, Russia would be required to implement several measures, including pouring five meters of concrete into base of the silo launcher and installing restrictive rings with diameters no more than 2.9 meters. Besides that, the requirement to eliminate all the land-based MIRVed ICBMs, including mobile MIRVed ICBMs, is considered to be unjustified from the point of view of strategic stability, and unfair for Russia, because it would eliminate the modern 10-warhead SS-24s. Russian critics say that if MIRVed sea-based missiles are allowed, because they are mobile, more easily concealed, more survivable and hence unlikely to be used for a first strike, the same logic can be applied to mobile MIRVed ICBMs.
The third point of criticism is the timeframe for implementation. While providing for the completion of all reductions by January 1, 2003, the treaty also sets intermediate ceilings. Specifically, seven years after START I's entry into force, December 2001, Russia will need to have no more than a total of 4,250 deployed warheads, including no more than 2,160 SLBM warheads, 1,200 MIRVed ICBM warheads, and 650 warheads on heavy ICBMs. But this leaves only one year for accomplishing the last stage of implementation, and this period is regarded as unfeasible for Russia.
Fourth, let me say a few words about NATO enlargement, which is also an important factor, though there is no direct relationship between this issue and START II. Nevertheless, some in Russia do combine the issues and say that enlarging NATO aggravates the situation with START II ratification. I understand the next panelist is going to be Mr. Arbatov, so I'll leave this part of the message to him.
To conclude my presentation, I will address prospects for further reductions: START III. The presidential agreement in principle to continue the process of reduction and limitation of strategic offensive armaments is quite helpful, but I think what would help more is some elaboration of this statement, some increased detail of what directions both sides are going to pursue. I think that such an elaboration, perhaps a joint presidential statement, would be very helpful for improving the prospects of Duma ratification, because our deputies could see that some shortcomings of START II would be improved through START III.
The most important point here is no doubt the ceilings of START III. I think that the aggregate ceiling should not be higher than 2,000 or 2,500 warheads, but I don't think it would be enough just to identify this aggregate ceiling. It would be more helpful if such a joint statement mentioned some other details, which would meet some concerns I have just described. I think that also that the United States and Russia should elaborate their views on even deeper nuclear reductions, not only START III, but further cuts, and so on and so forth. I would note a report prepared by the Stimson Center, which I had a chance to look at this morning, in which there are interesting ideas for such further reductions.
I would like to emphasize--I'm sure that Alexei Arbatov will elaborate on this subject more--that the key element of the process now is the position of the Communists in the Duma. The Communists may stick to their previous message--no ratification--but there are possibilities from my point of view to work with them, because they have demonstrated some flexibility, particularly in the article to which I referred earlier, by Alexei Podberiozkin, in which he said that they are waiting for some clarifications and consultations from the administration, and from other factions in the Duma.
Thank you very much.
Jones: Thank you very much, Yuri. A key question on most of our minds has been how the elections in December affected the composition of the Duma, and the possible outcomes for this treaty, and also what impact the presidential elections might have. I turn next to Alexei Arbatov, to share with us what he knows about this situation in Moscow, and the Duma in particular.
Alexei Arbatov: Thank you, chairman. It is a great pleasure to be here, and to see old friends. I would like to make some comments on the present situation; I will not go back in history and analyze the previous Duma and the lost opportunities of the past.
By the constitution, ratification of a treaty requires a simple majority in both chambers of Parliament: the Council of Federations and the State Duma. The Council of Federations is not a problem, because its representatives are quite dependent on President Yeltsin, and will be much more dependent this year. If the President stresses his wishes clearly, I have no doubt that a simple majority would be easy to gather in the "other" chamber. (Some people call it the "upper" chamber, but there is nothing in the Constitution that would call it upper chamber, so it is not more than the other chamber.)
Now, as for the State Duma, the situation, of course, is much more difficult, because the State Duma is a real power. It is much more independent, working on a full-time basis and providing a forum for intricate party games. The political forces are presently distributed as follows: 150 seats out of 450 belong to Communists, and the rest include three real factions that cleared the five percent barrier and are in Parliament as legitimate parties. These parties include: my party, Yabloko; the presidential party, Our House is Russia (we usually call it "Their House is Russia"); and the Zhirinovsky party, which is formally called--excuse me for my language--the Liberal Democratic Party. They each have about 15 percent, about 50 seats, more or less. Then there are three independent groups: Agrarians; a group which calls themselves People's Power, headed by Ryzhkov (it's basically another Communist faction); and the independent deputies who united in a group which is called Russian Regions. Their numbers are 35, 35, and 40, respectively, plus about 40 totally independent deputies. So that's the situation.
Hence, unlike in the previous Duma, the present situation is very easy to understand. With Communists on board, it will be very easy to ratify START II, because even without the presidential party, the Communists and Yabloko could achieve a simple majority. In addition, it's always very easy to gain from independent groups, and the presidential party may be counted on to be on board. On the other hand, without the Communists, there is no chance that the treaty will be ratified. Because even the three other parties together--the Zhirinovsky Party (even if paid enough), our party, which has been always in favor of START II, plus the government's party--are not able to get more than 150 votes. So that's why, as my colleague Yuri Nazarkin has already mentioned, the position of the Communists is not just important, it's decisive as far as the fate of START II is concerned.
Another factor which must be taken into account is the presidential campaign now developing in Russia. In June, we will have presidential elections, and during such a campaign, START II ratification might be a cause the candidates could support. On the other hand, of course, START II is presently accepted in a large part of Russian political elite as a symbol of the times when Russia was saying yes to everything the United States proposed, and following, more or less, in the wake of Western policy. So in this sense clearly, with the change in Russian foreign policy and domestic political shift, it might be quite a vulnerable issue for the president to concentrate on during the election campaign.
Nonetheless, I think that there are some reasons that both the president and the Communists might be interested in ratification. The president certainly might be interested in ratification to prove to the outside world that he has not reneged on the course of reforms and détente with the West. And it's clear that suspicions of this are very prominent. So that might be a good opportunity for him to change this impression, which is now getting almost overwhelming.
For Communists, it might be a very handy pretext to show that they are a sensible and respectable force, and not a destructive force, which is very much the campaign line of the Communist leader, Zyuganov--who apparently made a great impression in Davos and went there with the single desire to prove that he is not quite Communist-Bolshevik, but rather a Menshevik and maybe even a Socialist.
Now, whether those arguments, which might be construed as working in favor of START II, become political reality or not depends on certain other points. From all the amendments and corrections to START II that would be desirable, as far as Russia is concerned--and most of them Amb. Nazarkin listed here quite comprehensively--I would assert that three points might be the most important, at least to give the treaty a chance for ratification even in April, if we work very hard and very intensively during the remaining two months.
The first is something that was always very important with regards to START II, and that is the federal program for START II implementation. This program needs to be introduced into the State Duma to show the funding schedule of treaty implementation activities, year by year, and to describe the technical arrangements, the allocation of responsibilities to various agencies of the government, and the arrangements needed to provide the legal framework to undertake all these steps. Such measures are now lacking in the Russian Legislature.
Last year, when the treaty was introduced for ratification in the Duma, we appealed three times to the federal government to provide the Duma with this program, because otherwise it was very difficult to discuss it and to persuade other groups and parties that this program would not be detrimental to our economy or environment, and will not be counterproductive in this sense. But, in spite of decrees issued at a high level, we did not receive this program. So the first thing which is sine qua non for START II ratification is for the State Duma to receive such a program from the federal government.
As part of this program, the government's long-term plan for funding strategic nuclear forces within the framework of START II would be another essential requirement.
The second major point is negotiations by President Yeltsin and his representatives with the Communist party to discuss normal compromises. There are many things Communists would like in the course of the election campaign: they would like additional subsidies to industry and agriculture as well as increases to pensions and minimum wages. Actually, many of these requests are very sensible, and my party supports them, as well. Unfortunately, our government is not willing to provide that. So, it might be useful, both for START II and for the country, if the government seriously negotiates with Communists, and agrees to take some of these steps. This would, of course, give the Communists some bargaining chips in their campaign, but on the other hand, I don't mind if these steps would help people, the economy, and START II.
And third, something that would be extremely conducive to the approval of the treaty, are certain additional agreements, or protocols (or declarations), between Russia and the United States which could alleviate the critical attitude towards START II. I can suggest at least three major points, which do not require reopening the treaty, but that might add to the treaty and make it more palatable for Russia.
One is to do something about the gross disparity in breakout capabilities. This is a matter of very serious concern, and one of the most potent arguments of START II opponents in Russia. These critics rely on professional staff, on people from defense industries and armed forces who are taken very seriously when they lay out the technical forecasts and projections. So something has to be done with that.
Second point, the ABM Treaty. Clearly, delineation between tactical ballistic missile defense and strategic missile defense would be extremely important to remove the argument that START II reductions would leave Russia with a residual force that would not be able to penetrate the future U.S. national ballistic missile defense, or even an enhanced theater missile defense, if deployed on the continental United States.
And third, a framework agreement on the follow-on treaty would be important because one of the principal difficulties is the gap that is created in Russian strategic forces by the combination of a relatively high ceiling on aggregate warheads, and the ban on MIRVed ICBMs. This is a gap of about 1,000 warhead slots that may have to be filled by deploying single warhead missiles, which are extremely expensive to produce and deploy. In this regard, if Russia deploys single warhead missiles at the rate of their deployment over the last three years and eliminates MIRVed ICBMs at the same time, Russia will not be able to rise above 2,200 or 2,300 warheads by the year 2003. For Russia, this means that we are giving away heavy missiles and other missiles that would give us at least 3,000 warheads, just to please the United States, while we are unable economically and financially to fill the gap by single-warhead missiles. This is a very strong argument against START II.
So, if Russia was assured that in two or three years after the year 2003, both sides would go down to much lower ceilings, to something like 2,000, 2,200, or 2,500 warheads, then Russia would not be so concerned that by the year 2003, instead of 3,000 warheads, it had a much smaller number, because Russians would know that within a short time both Russia and the United States would nevertheless go to much lower ceilings. These are three points that might be conducive to ratification, in addition to the two that I mentioned before.
Finally, let me tell you that, judging by the record of the United States government in the previous several years, and by the record of Russian government, I'm not, to put it mildly, absolutely certain that we can address these concerns before April. Nevertheless, we should try to do that. Even if it's not completed in April, progress on these issues would provide reassurances that we might be able to do more in the autumn, and that would not be too bad. Thank you.
Jones: Thank you very much, Alexei, for a very rich report and series of suggestions that are very important for those here. I turn now to Michael Nacht, from the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.
Michael Nacht: Amb. Nazarkin and Dr. Arbatov have raised a number of important points, and have expanded our own thinking on this subject. Let me offer a perspective from the Clinton administration as to how we see a number of these questions, and I'll offer a couple of personal comments, as well.
The first issue that Rodney suggested that we discuss are the stakes in the treaty. What is at stake in ratifying START II? I think there is a strategic stake and there is a political stake. The strategic stake really is the implementation of enhanced crisis stability at lower levels. And the reason for focusing on removal of MIRVed ICBMs is that they are very valuable and very vulnerable targets in a crisis. If you really analyze a deep U.S.-Russian crisis, there would be enormous pressure on the leadership of both countries to use MIRVed ICBMs, for fear that if they are not used, they'd be destroyed in a first strike. This is part of the strategic calculus. Even mobile MIRVed ICBMs are not completely untargetable, are not completely invulnerable. There would be every effort by targeters in both countries to target as many of them as possible. This is quite different from sea-based systems. So eliminating MIRVed ICBMs, despite all those costs and other issues which Dr. Arbatov and Amb. Nazarkin mentioned, is the key contribution of the START II Treaty, even if we have to build up single-warhead ICBMs.
Ratification of START II also demonstrates politically that a regularized strategic relationship is in place, which is the most important political litmus test that we are still on track in a relatively cooperative relationship with the Russian Federation. In addition to that, both the Russian Federation and the United States have a commitment, under the NPT regime, to continue further reductions. Now, there are many people in this field who don't put much stock in this, but I can tell you, even if you deny that there is any linkage between nuclear proliferation elsewhere and U.S.-Russia force structure, it provides an argument to those who seek to proliferate if we don't reduce, and it removes that argument if we do reduce. So it's very much in Russian interests and in American interests to shore up as much as possible the NPT regime. These are the strategic and political stakes involved in the treaty.
Why should Russia ratify, and ratify now? First of all, in the resolution of ratification just passed by the U.S. Senate, it specifies that the president of the United States cannot order, without consulting the Congress, the reduction of U.S. strategic forces below START I levels, unless START II enters into force. So this is an almost certain guarantee that if Russia does not ratify, the U.S. will stay at START I levels, which are much higher than START II levels, and exacerbate much more Russia's cost problems. In other words, if Russia wants to maintain strategic and political parity, the easiest and cheapest way to do it is to ratify START II.
Furthermore, failure to ratify START II will only fuel further the support in Congress for a national missile defense, and, I would submit, could even produce a parabolic behavior pattern in U.S. force deployments. If the entire business begins to unravel, you will see U.S. forces start to rise in certain areas; 1995 will be the "good old days." So, for all of these reasons, potential breakdown in the reductions process, a stimulus to the defenses unilaterally, and for cost reasons and for political parity reasons, Russia has a lot to gain from ratifying.
Now, what about START III and beyond? The official U.S. position has been an unwillingness to discuss in any detail START III frameworks, until START II enters into force. The reason for that is the concern that once such arguments are put on the table, they will be used by opponents of the treaty in the Duma to thwart ratification, to reopen negotiations, which would lead to the unraveling of the whole process.
There is some thinking going on in the administration, and some very creative thinking elsewhere, by the Stimson Center, and Andrew Goodpaster of the Atlantic Council, and General Lee Butler, and many other good people, on those START III ideas. There is interest in various quarters in warhead elimination. You go to lower numbers, you must develop a chain of custody system to ensure transparency and irreversibility, so that these warheads are not put on a shelf somewhere to be redeployed if political relations deteriorate. There is also interest in entering into a dialogue on constraining tactical systems and warheads, and there are other topics being addressed. But right now, they are in study form. They are not in any way or form an official U.S. position.
Now Rodney has raised in the formulation of this meeting the question of offense-defense interaction, and here I would just like to digress a little bit and speak personally and conceptually, and about the future. I think that we do need to think creatively as a community, about offense-defense packages that could be done cooperatively, and could be done transparently. If we are ever going to move from a mutual deterrence relationship to what Secretary Perry has called a mutual assured safety relationship, it's got to be done in cooperation or we are never going to shift from an offense-dominated world. Now, some of us don't want to shift from an offense-dominated world, but some do.
What happens if START II is not ratified, and indeed what happens if the ABM Treaty even collapses? I would submit this would be a negative sum result. Everybody would lose. It would produce a strenuous strategic competition. Irrespective of the budgetary constraints, the funds would be found in both countries to build up strategic forces. Would American foreign policy interests be served? Would it be easier for the U.S. to transparently enlarge NATO and to promote a NATO-Russian partnership if START collapsed? Would it be easier to promote the Middle East peace process if U.S.-Russian relations were tense? Would it be easier to promote Persian Gulf security if U.S.-Russian relations were adversarial? Would Northeast Asian stability be promoted if U.S.-Russian relations went into the deep freeze? If U.S.-China relations are to have any hope of being stabilized, would it be to our advantage to see U.S.-Russian relations deteriorate? I would submit on the face of it, it's preposterous to believe that any of the major elements of U.S. foreign policy, or, I would submit, of Russian foreign policy, would be served by deterioration and collapse of the strategic framework.
We are trying hard to work out with the Russian Federation a demarcation agreement on theater missile defenses. We have spent a lot of time with some people in this room, andhave worked hyper hard to get this deal. It's tough work. It has been done in the SCC, it has been done in the political channels at the undersecretary level, the deputy secretary level, the secretarial level, the vice presidential level, and at the presidential level. It has been done in Hyde Park, it has been done in Washington, it has been done in Moscow, it has been done in London, it has been done in Geneva. We have some prospect of reaching at least a partial agreement soon. There was a useful meeting between Foreign Minister Primakov and Secretary Christopher just last weekend in Helsinki. There will almost certainly be a follow up meeting, a ministerial meeting, in Moscow toward the end of March. That still leaves a little time before the April Nuclear Security Summit, beginning on April 19. We recognize very well the need to reach a demarcation agreement that will permit both sides to deploy the kind of effective theater defenses that are needed against potential threats, to defend against small numbers of warheads, tens of warheads, not against hundreds or thousands of warheads, not a strategic defense. But I'm still hopeful that we can do that. So I think we need to make sure that we stay on this path, and not derail ourselves, which will, as I said earlier, lead to negative consequences for both the United States and the Russian Federation.
Jones: Thank you very much, Michael, for that thoughtful presentation of administration views. Regarding your points on a cooperative approach to the missile defense issue, I gather you were speaking in your personal capacity. If I might now turn to Ambassador Streltsov.
Mikhail Streltsov: I understand the START II Treaty is continuously in the limelight of the political discussions here in Washington as well as in Moscow. This fact reflects the great, even historic, significance of the treaty, not only for security of the Russian Federation and the United States, but for the whole world.
Its provisions are well-known. In accordance with the treaty each of our two countries should reduce its strategic offensive arsenal to 3,500 warheads--that is about half of what START I allows. It provides for the elimination of ICBMs with multiple warheads, for limits on the number of warheads that can be on submarines, for new counting rules on heavy bombers, etc. The mechanism of implementation of the START II is mostly built on the one of the START I. As with any treaty, START II has been worked out with compromises, representing a balance of interests. In my view the principles of equality and equal security are observed in the treaty.
The U.S. Senate ratified START II recently by an overwhelming majority. As to the Russian side, START II has been going through the ratification process in the State Duma since June 20, 1995 when it was presented to the Duma by the president of the Russian Federation. The previous Duma could not complete its study of the treaty. The Duma that was elected on December 17, 1995, has to a great degree a new composition. Only one-third of its deputies were re-elected and the Duma's composition has considerably changed in a political sense.
Our president had a meeting with the new speaker of the State Duma, Mr. Selesnev, several days ago and emphasized the necessity to ratify the treaty without delay. The Council of the Duma--its leading body--has made a decision that four Duma committees--on international affairs, on defense, on security, and on geopolitics--will bear the responsibility for working out a bill on the ratification of the START II Treaty. As we were informed, it is the intention of the committees to arrange a presentation of the treaty to the deputies and to hold special hearings in the near future. They intend to give the treaty a careful study that is very reasonable.
There are different opinions in the State Duma as to the contents of the treaty and to the timetable of the ratification process. The political campaign related to the presidential elections on June 16, 1996, is, of course, gaining momentum and is having an influence upon the considerations of the deputies. The representatives of the executive branch have provided the deputies with explanations to remove the Duma's concerns over, for example, the elimination of heavy ICBMs (the SS-18s), down-loading, and other provisions of the treaty. Everybody understands of course that the money needed to implement the treaty should be found before it is ratified.
I believe that the most important and justified concern of the deputies is the renewed discussion on a national ballistic missile defense system in the United States, in the context of the ABM Treaty. The president of the United States has agreed with our president that the ABM Treaty is a cornerstone of the strategic stability between our two countries. Moreover he vetoed the legislation that was aimed at deploying such a system. All this is of great value. Nevertheless, U.S. legislators continuously support the idea of a national ballistic missile defense. Such support has been recently reflected in a bill on "the Strategic Anti-Missile Revitalization." I would like to remind you of the fact that the ABM Treaty says in its preamble that "... effective measures to limit anti-ballistic missile systems would be a substantial factor in curbing the race in strategic offensive arms and would lead to decrease in the risk of outbreak of war involving nuclear weapons." This consideration, no doubt, is in force continuously.
Some experts in our country express their concern about the timetable for implementing START II. The situation is really not easy because all reductions provided by START I should be carried out by the end of 2002 and the limitations under START II should be completed only one year later--by the end of 2003. This point deserves a very careful study.
So, there are some problems to be discussed and solved in connection with the ratification of START II. But they do not look insuperable. We hope that the State Duma in cooperation with our Government will be in a position to ratify the treaty in the near future.
Jones: Thank you very much, Ambassador Streltsov, for updating our understanding of the START II ratification steps in Moscow. It's a great pleasure to now turn the floor over to Ambassador Linton Brooks.
Linton Brooks: Thanks. I want to do two things. I want to talk about the recent action of the U.S. Senate, and then I want to take advantage of being the last panelist to make some comments on what you have already heard.
First, what did the Senate actually do? Well, the Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of START II, and the Senate, as it always does, put a number of so-called conditions and declarations, all of which are matters of internal U.S. discussion and don't require any action by the Russian Federation. Now, the first thing to note about those is that none of them violate the ABM Treaty, call for withdrawing from the ABM Treaty, or are in any way inconsistent with the primacy of the ABM Treaty that President Clinton and President Yeltsin have discussed. The second thing to note is that the resolution explicitly calls for further reductions consistent with national security.
So, on two of the points that we have heard, there is reason for optimism. But, it is also very clear that the Senate action reflects a very real interest in some form of missile defenses. I share Michael Nacht's view that there can be stabilizing, theater-oriented defenses worked cooperatively with the Russian Federation, and the way you get there is to ratify START II. The alternative is for defenses to be part of a new confrontation.
Further, and most important for the comments I want to make, as Michael Nacht mentioned, the Senate was very explicit that the United States will not go below START I levels, if START II is not ratified. And in the discussion it was made clear what the Senate means by START I levels. It means 18 Trident submarines. It means 500 Minuteman III ICBMs. It means 50 Peacekeeper ICBMs, and it means 66 B-52 bombers. So the effect of not ratifying START II is that we will not eliminate the Peacekeeper, we will not eliminate four submarines, we will not reduce warheads on other submarines, and we will not modify B-52Hs to carry several hundred fewer cruise missiles. When you add up those numbers, you will see that it is very easy--cheaper than START II, in fact--for the United States to maintain the 4,900 ballistic missile warheads allowed under START I.
This goes back to a theme that I have made with some of you before. The Russian Federation, as I understand it, can maintain START I levels only with very great difficulty. Dr. Arbatov and Amb. Nazarkin both mentioned interest in maintaining existing systems, but Russian military officials have testified that those systems, specifically the SS-18s and the SS-19s, are reaching the end of their useful life. And so almost certainly, if START II does not come into force, economics will drive the Russian Federation to a low level, and Congress will drive the United States to a START I level.
I also agree with Michael Nacht that inequality between the United States and the Russian Federation will not help us work together, and there is no important U.S. foreign policy objective or Russian foreign policy objective which will be enhanced by our not working together.
So, in the discussions that we have had, it is important to keep fundamentals in mind. And what is fundamental is that the path to equality lies through START II ratification. Now, when can ratification come? Dr. Arbatov has suggested three things that might be useful. Let me comment on them to give you a sense of timing. A demarcation agreement between the United States and Russia on theater ballistic missiles versus strategic ballistic missiles will take about two weeks. Those two weeks may start tomorrow, or they may start five years from now. Getting the political conditions ripe is the hard part, but that can be done. And there is, as I read the Senate ratification record, no objection, and some enthusiasm for such an agreement.
Countering of the breakout potential of the United States can be dealt with in a couple of ways, none of them very easy. First, it can be dealt with, in some sense, by the way the Russian Federation structures its own strategic forces. Another thing that can be done is to change the START II Treaty. Dr. Arbatov has made it clear that's not what he's thinking about. If you look at a system under which you destroy warheads so that you can eliminate the breakout, you are, as Dr. Nacht made clear, facing an interesting but very difficult problem, because it is not yet clear how one verifies all that.
Furthermore, it is not yet clear that there is any particular advantage to doing something new because you don't trust one side to reintroduce warheads, but then having to depend on trust to know that they have done this new thing. And so it seems to me that the chances of solving the breakout issue as Dr. Arbatov suggests in the near future, let alone by April, are very, very small.
Finally, on the point of START III reductions, here we have a serious conceptual difficulty. As Dr. Nacht made clear, the United States has always been reluctant to talk about what happens next, until we get START II nailed down. If Dr. Arbatov spoke for the entire Duma and the entire government of the Russian Federation, we could probably call him, down the street a little way, and get the right people in a room, and come to some conclusion about what happens next. But there is the sneaking suspicion that democracy in Russia, like democracy in the United States, means that nobody speaks for everybody, and that therefore all of these things become a part of a complex negotiation. And the question is, how long do you want to wait to solve them.
Now timing, it seems to me, is important. Ambassador Nazarkin, Dr. Arbatov, and Ambassador Streltsov have spoken about the difficulties of completing START II reductions on schedule. At least in the United States, the sooner you start, the easier it's going to be to finish on time. Because until the military knows what its plans are to be, it will naturally need to keep all options open. And so the longer you wait, the more difficult that is. So it seems to me, both from the U.S. perspective and from the Russian perspective, that if we are worried about being able to finish on time, that's an argument for getting started sooner, not for waiting.
Is April magic? No. Of course April's not magic. If we can't find a way to do ratification by April, then we will work on finding a way to do ratification after the Russian presidential elections. If we can't find a way to do ratification right after the Russian presidential elections, we will work out a way to do ratification right after the American presidential election. But all the facts are going to be the same, and the problems are not likely to get easier, which is why I think many of us in the United States think that now would be a good time to act, and why many of us were pleased that the Senate here finally did act.
Questions and Answers
Kathleen Bailey (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory): Russia has asked the United States to consider financing Russia's implementation of Chemical Weapons Convention if it ever comes to pass. My question for Dr. Arbatov is, is there an assumption by, or a request from the Duma, that the United States become involved in paying for Russian implementation of START? And Michael Nacht, do you want to comment on whether that issue has been raised formally?
William Potter (Monterey Institute of International Studies): Thank you, I have several questions. I wondered if somebody could comment briefly on how uniform support has been from Russian armed forces, and whether there's been a change in that. Secondly, I've been particularly interested in hearing from Dr. Arbatov the explanation for the delay in submitting a federal program for START II implementation, given that the treaty is publicly supported by the Russian government. And finally, I'd be interested if Dr. Arbatov could comment on possible conditions that are likely to be attached by the Duma, if in fact ratification proceeds.
Arbatov: In general, our armed forces are supportive of START II. The Strategic Rocket Forces are supportive. The Navy is supportive because the Navy sees the ceiling of 1,700 warheads on SLBMs not as a ceiling, but rather a floor. They are determined, and they absolutely believe that is the number which is required for the Russian Navy to deploy. So they like this treaty very much. The Air Force is more or less indifferent. The High Command of the Russian Armed Forces is as supportive as President Yeltsin indicates that this is a priority. When President Yeltsin is distracted by something else, their support, so to say, is looser.
As for the delay in submitting the treaty to the Duma, the simplest, and the most probable, explanation is that the government just did not organize itself to do that. And there was one argument that suggested that there was no need for introducing it again because START II had been already introduced to the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation in 1993. This argument fails to take into account what happened to the Supreme Soviet, and to the Constitution, and to everything else.
Nazarkin: What is important for ratification of START II is the position of our General Staff, and I perceived a change in its position after summer 1995. Some members of the General Staff expressed their concerns about the ABM issue after they knew about the bill voted by the U.S. Senate last June. And I think that was one of the major reasons why the General Staff has not pushed strongly for ratification.
Andrei Zobov (Carnegie Moscow Center): President Yeltsin, in responding to the ratification of START II by the U.S. Senate, promised to take measures to accelerate ratification process in the Duma. And, as Alexei Arbatov so explicitly explained to us, what the Duma needs now is a federal program of START II verification. Has the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation or the Ministry of Defense been asked to prepare such program early enough for the Duma to consider it before the April summit?
Streltsov: I can inform you that ministries of the government are working together on a such a program. But as I have stressed in my speech, our economic situation is very difficult, and the most difficult aspect of this program is to get money to finance adequately all the expenses of implementing the treaty, including the program of development of strategic arms to ensure that our strategic forces will be maintained properly. All the appropriate ministries have instructions from the president to complete this program in the very near future.
Robert Norris (Natural Resources Defense Council): A question for Dr. Arbatov, and maybe a comment by Michael Nacht about this gross disparity in breakout capabilities that Arbatov referred to. On the United States side, this is rather formalized in what has become known as "the hedge" that came out of the Nuclear Posture Review. There are a sizable number of warheads that can be put on the shelf and retained for eventual uploading and redeployment on bombers. My question is, how well known is this in the Duma? Might it have a corrosive effect? And if it would, is the Russian military planning a similar thing? Has it become formalized yet?
Arbatov: The Duma is aware of this issue because last year we had three series of hearings, and at each one of them, this question was raised. So members of that Duma know it, and many of them were reelected. So in principle, this disparity is very well known.
Naturally, it's one of the issues raised by opponents of START II. They argue that because of START II, Russia would be deprived of the comparable ability to upload, due to the number of technical and economic pressures.
As to whether the Russian military is planning such a strategy, no, it's not a question of planning. According to the treaty, heavy missiles, such as the SS-18, are to be dismantled, so their warheads would have no place to be uploaded. One hundred downloaded SS-19s will reach the end of their lifetimes soon after 2003, so there is no plan on that front. Now, the SLBMs from Delta IV submarines have platforms designed to carry four warheads, but were twice tested with 10, so uploading them might be possible, but would require producing new platforms, even if warheads were available, which is not the case. So finally, our uploading capabilities will consist of the downloaded warheads from Typhoon missiles.
Sidney Graybeal (SAIC): More of a comment than a question... I'm sure this will be discussed in more detail later, but I want to make a point. ABM Treaty consideration should not stand in the way of the ratification of START II. Agreed, the ABM Treaty is a cornerstone of strategic stability. A comment was made: national missile defense is a threat to the ABM Treaty. It depends on what type of national missile defense you're dealing with. As has been pointed out by Michael Nacht and others, we're talking about a potential national missile defense for a very limited threat, say up to 10 missiles. That type of national missile defense does not interfere with the rationale for the ABM Treaty.
The comment was also made that the ABM Treaty must be maintained in force as it was negotiated. It was modified in 1974, different from the way it was negotiated, and there was an agreed statement in 1978 which further clarified the treaty with a legally binding statement. The treaty was intended to be a living document, to be updated when technology improved and threats changed. So I maintain that you can and should maintain the ABM Treaty, you can and should have effective ballistic missile defenses, both in a theater context and in limited national missile defense, and the arguments that the ABM Treaty is going to undermine the START ratification are what I call arguments that tend to go to extremes. One extreme is the treaty keeps us from defending anything. The other extreme is you can't touch that treaty at all. It's holy and you can't change it. And neither extreme is in either the Russian or U.S. interest.