Wednesday, March 2, 2011

From Russia...With Love?

Last March, President Barack Obama and his crack diplomatic team "announced a major new U.S.-Russia nuclear arms treaty, gaining a critical victory as U.S. diplomats head into an intense period of international meetings aimed at keeping the devastating weapons out of the hands of rogue states and terrorists."

At the time, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, called the treaty, “vital to US national interests” and said it “has the full support of your uniformed military [who] all support its ratification.” He added, “The Joint Chiefs and I are confident that the treaty does not in any way constrain our ability to pursue robust missile defenses.”

Foreign policy experts, Democratic leaders and administration officials said "defeat of the treaty would have been a debacle for US foreign policy. 'Champions of the measure believe approval will avoid a ‘devastating’ blow to US prestige on the world stage and end Mr. Obama’s year on a victorious note,' the Financial Times noted. According to the Washington Post, 'Defeat would have severely damaged Obama’s global standing, hampering his ability to negotiate other treaties.'”

A significant majority of Senate Republicans voted against the agreement, saying the "the document’s preamble, which refers to the 'interrelationship between offensive and defensive strategic weapons,' could interfere with the creation of a US missile defense shield in Europe, which is opposed by Moscow."

In the end, the treaty was ratified/signed by both sides and everything is just hunky-dory, right?

This just in - "With Russia's $650 billion rearmament plan, the bear sharpens its teeth." So while we’re saying goodbye to strategic/deterrence tools, the Russians are bulking-up. As the Christian Science Monitor notes, “The graying bear is getting a make-over. Russia's military is launching its biggest rearmament effort since Soviet times, including a $650 billion program to procure 1,000 new helicopters, 600 combat planes, 100 warships, and 8 nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines. The goal now, experts say, is to equip Russia's new lean-and-mean, largely professional armed forces to face 21st-century threats. These are mainly considered to be regional conflicts such as the brief 2008 Russo-Georgian war, which highlighted military shortcomings.”

Nothing to worry about. Right?

No comments: