Early in Barack Obama’s tenure as president, his secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, presented a symbolic “reset” button to Russian officials to represent a new start in relations between the nations.
However, there was a mistake. The “reset” button, in Russian, said “overcharged,” not “reset.”
Seems things haven’t improved much since, and now one analyst of Russian capabilities is warning that “the entire nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation system” – that system “created over the last half-century by the tireless efforts of state leaders, diplomats, politicians, and the military and civilian experts of the leading world powers” – simply “may collapse,” according to a new report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
The comments come from Alexei Georgievich Arbatov, the chief of the Center for International Security at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, in a commentary in the Russian newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta.
He’s also a member of the Russian Academy of Science and a member of the Presidium of the Council for Foreign and Defense Policy, according to a report from Middle East Media Research Institute, which uncovered and reported on his statements.
MEMRI summarized Arbatov’s warnings: “Arbatov writes that despite statements by Russian officials that Russia won’t be dragged into an arms race, the reality is that Russia is engaged in a large-scale military rivalry with the U.S. and NATO countries. According to Arbatov, the new arms race will be more costly and more dangerous than the Cold War version. Arbatov argues that the difference between the current arms race and the Cold War’s competition is that hitherto, the race was limited by a series of treaties, whereas in the future all ‘limitations may be cast aside.’ He also suggests that nuclear disarmamen5t and non-proliferations systems may collapse and the ‘probability of military, accidental or terrorist use of nuclear arms’ is high.”
The consequences of failure, he suggested, might be severe, writing, “All the existing world problems, including migration, climate, economic crises, ethnic and religious conflicts, can be solved sooner or later, one way or another, if we manage to prevent a nuclear catastrophe. If not – there will be nobody to deal with those problems.”
Arbatov pointed out the latest nuclear arms treaty expires in 2020, leaving little time for another agreement.
“But this is not the entire story,” he wrote. “Even now, long before 2020, the second channel of the arms race has been opened: Russian offensive nuclear arms vs. the American missile defense system. This channel did not exist in the Cold War, because nobody had such defense systems before 1972, and they were strictly regulated after 1972 by the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABMT) that the U.S. withdrew from in 2002. New Russian offensive nuclear arms and dual purpose systems (including operational-tactical systems) have been created not only to renovate Russia’s strike potential; they have the additional goal of serving as a means for overcoming the missile defense systems of the U.S. and its allies.”
He described how Russian is expecting to deploy 400 new intercontinental ballistic missiles by 2020, a move that will mean the U.S. will respond by spending $350 billion to create a “standoff.”
“It is quite possible that Russia, in its turn, will be compelled to react to this,” he wrote.