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Trump might abandon NEW START arms treaty, U.S. allies fear

U.S. Allies Worry Trump Administration Might Let Key Nuclear Treaty With Russia Die  

Internal documents acknowledge concern among allies about the expiration of the Obama-era New START accord, but U.S. negotiators are still playing hardball. Foreign Policy,  BY JACK DETSCHROBBIE GRAMER    SEPTEMBER 24, 2020, S. ALLIES ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE REPERCUSSIONS OF THE LOOMING EXPIRATION OF THE OBAMA-ERA NEW START ARMS CONTROL TREATY BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND RUSSIA, ACCORDING TO AN INTERNAL ADMINISTRATION REPORT OBTAINED BY FOREIGN POLICY. MEANWHILE, FORMER OFFICIALS AND ARMS CONTROL EXPERTS WORRY THE ADMINISTRATION MAY BE SEEKING TO SLOW-WALK THE ACCORD TO DEATH BY MAKING IMPOSSIBLE DEMANDS OF RUSSIA JUST MONTHS BEFORE THE TREATY IS SLATED TO END.

The Trump administration faces a tight deadline to renew the 2010 New START Treaty, which slaps limits on the number of strategic launchers, such as intercontinental and submarine-launched ballistic missiles and heavy bombers that both nations can deploy. Unless both sides reach an agreement on an extension, it will end in February 2021, leaving no meaningful treaty to stave off the threat of an arms race. Top U.S. arms negotiator Marshall Billingslea appears to have temporarily set aside one condition already broadly dismissed as a nonstarter—adding China to the bilateral accord.

Still, he has insisted Beijing will have to be part of any agreement that would replace New START. “The next treaty will have to be multilateral, it will have to include China, and the framework that we are articulating together as two great powers, us and the Russians, will be the framework going forward that China will be expected to join,” Billingslea told reporters in a briefing last month.

In the meantime, U.S. officials have added other conditions: predicating a short-term extension of New START on expanded restrictions on Russia’s growing arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons.

So far, Russia hasn’t shown any inclination to go along with such preconditions for negotiating an extension of the treaty. As the clock winds down, U.S. allies in Europe and arms control experts fear New START might not be renewed.

In an internal State Department report for Congress, the Trump administration acknowledged that the United States’ closest allies are hoping to constrain Russia’s and China’s weapons programs. But the report also notes that allies are growing unnerved by the prospect of talks falling apart as Washington is distracted by a contested presidential election. ……..

Though Billingslea has tried to push the Russians to accept more weapons inspections, there is concern among experts that the United States would also lose vital intelligence into Russian nuclear modernization if the deal lapses. …….  https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/09/24/trump-putin-russia-new-start-nuclear-arms-control-u-s-allies-worry-trump-administration-might-let-key-nuclear-treaty-with-russia-die/

 

September 28, 2020 - Posted by | politics international, USA

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