Reset: Russia Says It Wants Out of Nuclear Security Deal
October 12, 2012 - 2:45 pm
Here’s the story. I’ll add some thoughts after the block quote:
When the Soviet Union splintered two decades ago, one of the biggest U.S. worries was how to ensure that the vast Soviet arsenal of nuclear weapons was kept secure.
The American response was the Cooperative Threat Reduction program of 1992. The U.S. provided money and expertise to lock down and track weapons of mass destruction and make sure they stayed out of the hands of rogue regimes or terrorists.
The program has been hailed as a great success, with thousands of Soviet nuclear weapons dismantled over the years.
But Russia said this week that it’s not planning to extend the program, a move that appears to be part of a broader effort by Moscow to block U.S. aid programs that operate on Russian soil.
Russian officials say they no longer need U.S. help to secure their nuclear stockpile. But Americans say the two countries should keep working together, not just in the former Soviet Union but around the world.
The program is credited with deactivating more than 7,500 Soviet nuclear warheads and destroying more than 900 intercontinental ballistic missiles.
The program has been extended twice and is due to expire in June of next year.
Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia has become less and less willing to be seen as accepting outside aid — especially from the United States.
Wolfsthal says he thinks the balky stance of the Russian officials is mostly traditional Russian negotiating behavior.
Or maybe they have sized Obama up and don’t consider him a serious leader. Kruschev made that mistake with JFK. In this case, Putin wouldn’t be making a mistake.
The Obama administration came in promising a “reset” in Russian relations, but in what became a portent of the future, the “Reset” button that Secretary of State Clinton handed the Russians actually said “overcharge.” They got the word wrong and they read the Russians wrong, but they did overcharge the American people for four years of extremely poor service. Personally, I’d like my money back.
Here’s our “reset” — the Russians are playing hardball on nuclear weapons security while we may elect a new president. Will the Russians get the flexibility that Obama personally promised them on a hot mic, or will they get something different from Mitt Romney? While the uncertainty lingers, they might as well twist our thumbs. It’s not like Barack Obama will get off the campaign trail and do anything about it.