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George W. Bush administration coming to power had a notable affect on the US NMD deployment plans. Unlike Democrats, Republicans appeared to give the antimissile shield development a nearly principal political priority. NMD deployment became a hot topic in the media. However, by Fall 2001 Bush administration had not yet decided on the shape of the prospective missile defense system. It is only clear that the system will include not only land-based interceptors that Clinton administration planned to deploy on continental US, but also sea- and air-based antimissiles, and possibly space-based ones. The Pentagon plans to conduct an intensive test program, the results to be used to finalize the shape of the system.
US attitude towards the 1972 ABM treaty changed as well. Clinton administration tried to convince Russia that the ABM treaty had to be modified so that to allow deployment of limited NMD. The new administration denies any limitation on the prospective missile defense system, and fails to see any need to preserve the ABM treaty in general.
The dialogue with Russia on the future of the ABM treaty that Clinton administration started, was in fact cut off before May 2001, when the parties began intensive consultations. Speeches of the US and Russia's presidents in Ljubljana in June and in Genoa in July, 2001. During Genoa Summit the parties signed Joint Statement On Upcoming Consultations On Strategic Issues that was drafted in order to promote constructive dialogue between the two countries on nuclear arms reductions and ABM treaty issues between two countries.
The US position at the consultations called for "move beyond the constraints of the ABM treaty -- a relic of the Cold War" and to approach the issues of strategic stability within the framework of a new partnership relations. Russian official attitude remained unchanged. Moscow considered the 1972 ABM Treaty as a cornerstone of strategic stability and a centerpiece of the whole system of arms control treaties. As an alternative to the US NMD, Russia put forward a proposal on development of a joint European missile defenses and a global missile technology control regime. However, recognizing the Russian initiatives as expedient, US at the same time considered them as a potential addition only to NMD, not the substitution.
Tragic events of September 11, 2001 had a crucial impact on U.S.-Russian dialog on ballistic missile defenses. Though Bush administration became even more devoted to NMD deployment, an efficient cooperation of two countries in a campaign against terrorism and a prospect of getting some economic benefits for Russia objectively contributed to achieving a compromise. As a result, on December 14, 2001 President Bush announced, that the U.S. gave a formal notice on unilateral withdrawal from the 1972 Anti Ballistic Missile treaty. Moscow's reaction was very quiet. The Russian President did call it a mistaken move, however he ruled out any agressive reaction in response. According to some comments in the Russian press, a "soft" variant of withdrawal from the Treaty was fixed between two sides well beforehand. The United States promised that they would negotiate a new arms reductions agreement including inspection and verification measures, as the Russian side insisted.
Russian experts are divided on the issue of U.S. withdrawal from the Treaty and how Russia should respond. Many of them suggest that Russia should use the existing dialogue in order to secure certain concessions over other issues in exchange for Russia's modest response. Others stay conservative. They believe that Russia should reconsider its attitude towards nuclear arms control treaties and nuclear reduction plans.
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The discussion retrospective can be found in the section: ABM Treaty Modification: Should Russia Agree?
News and events | Official documents on the 1972 ABM Treaty at the ACDA Archive | "Vardo Radar: Unfriendly Gesture Or A Violation Of the ABM Treaty?"
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Official Russian position
- Alexander Yakovenko, the Official Spokesman of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Answers a Question from RosBiznesConsulting News Agency Concerning the US Administration's Statements on Its Wish to Step Up Cooperation with Russia in the Field of Missile Defense, January 9, 2003
- Alexander Yakovenko, the Official Spokesman of Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Answers Russian Media Question Regarding Drawing Other Countries into US Efforts for the Establishment of a Global Missile Defense System, December 24, 2002
- Statement By The Ministry Of Foreign Affairs Of The Russian Federation Regarding Step-up of US Attempts to Create a "Global Missile Defense", December 18, 2002
- American Missile Interceptors May Have Nuclear Warheads, - in Russian, (by Vladimir Georgiyev, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 5, 2002) - an interview with Major-General Victor Koltunov (Ret.), Consultant of the International Treaties Department of the Russian Ministry of Defense
- Balance of Strategic Offensive and Defensive Weapons at New Conditions. Future of Arms Control in the Process of Arms Reductions, - in Russian, (by Nikolay Lysenko, Director of the Department of Security and Disarmament of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a lecture presented on February 28, 2002 at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology for the course "Strategic Arms and Problems of Security"
- Transcript of an interview given by Russia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Ivanov to A.K.Pushkov's "Postscriptum" (TVTs channel), December 22, 2001 (in Russian)
- Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Ivanov joint press availability in Brussels, Belgium, Monday, December 17, 2001
- Transcript: Interview with Vladimir Putin, Financial Times, December 15, 2001
- A Statement Made by Russian President Vladimir Putin regarding the decision of the administration of the United States of America to withdraw from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty of 1972; Moscow, Kremlin, December 13, 2001
- Umbrella Will Not Save Us From Nuclear Winter, - in Russian, (by Olga Ruban, Expert, N 20, May 27, 2002) - comments of Pavel Podvig and Eugene Miasnikov
- The End of Strategic Arms Control?, (by Pavel Podvig, PONARS Policy Memo No. 217, December 2001)
- Missile Defense: For Russia, little loss, little gain, (by Pavel Podvig, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, November-December, 2001)
- We Can't Jump Through The Ceiling, - in Russian, by Oleg Denisov, Wek, October 26, 2001) - an interview with Anatoli Diakov, director of our Center
- Rumsfeld Strengthens The ABM Treaty In Order To Abandon It, - in Russian, by Pavel Podvig, SMI.RU, October 26, 2001)
- Previous publications at the special section Further Nuclear Reductions: Our Center's Vision
Comments by other Russian experts
- Opinion: On Strategic Offence - Strategic Defense Problem, - in Russian, (by Emid Ashratov, January 29, 2003)
- Opinion: Probability That Deters, - in Russian, (by Valery E. Yarynich, January 9, 2003)
- Calculated Surprise, - in Russian, (by Vladimir Frolov, Vremya MN, December 19, 2002), the author is Deputy Director of State Duma's International Affairs Committee Staff
- Opinion: There Is No Strategic Offence - Strategic Defense Problem, (by Valery E. Yarynich, November 24, 2002)
- Anti-Missile Fallacies, - in Russian, (by Sergei Kreidin, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, July 26, 2002)
- Washington's Win over Moscow, - in Russian, (by Sergey Sokut, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, June 21, 2002)
- Vladimir Dvorkin: "US NMD Not a Threat for Russia", - in Russian, (Strana.ru, June 13, 2002)
- Meeting Of Presidents On The Background Of Requiem On ABM Treaty, - in Russian, (by Vladimir Belous, Problemy Mira i GloBal'noi Bezopasnosti, N5, May-June 2002)
- How Does The National Missile Defense Threaten to Russia?, - in Russian, (by Yuri Maslyukov, Vremya MN, April 4, 2002) - the author is a Chair of the Committee On Industry, Construction and High-End Technology of the State Duma
- Nuclear Arms Reductions. Negotiations on Ballistic Missile Defenses, (in Russian) - Oleg Odnokolenko, Military Observer of "Itogi" magazine, Colonel Pyotr Romashkin, (Ret.), Assistant to the Deputy Chair of the State Duma Defense Committee, and Major-General Vladimir Dvorkin (Ret.) in Yevgeni Kirichenko's "Forgotten Regiment" Program at "Ekho Moskvy" Radio Station, March 19, 2002
- Limits of Solidarity. Russia, National Missile Defense and China: An Honest Conversation, - in Russian, (by Sergei Trush, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, March 6, 2002)
- ABM Treaty and Strategic Stability, - in Russian, (by Major-General Victor Koltunov (Ret.), Consultant of the International Treaties Department of the Russian Ministry of Defense, a lecture presented on February 28, 2002 at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology for the course "Strategic Arms and Problems of Security")
- Stability Or The Way To Unknown? On The ABM Treaty of 1972, - in Russian, (by Colonel-General Nikolay Chervov, Ret. Obozrevatel'-Observer, February 2002) - the author is former negotiator of U.S-Soviet arms control treaties
- Russia and the US to Make a Choice, - in Russian, (by Sergey Rogov, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, January 19, 2002)
© This page is maintained by Eugene Miasnikov.
© Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies, MIPT, 2001-2002.