In today's issue SOVETSKAYA ROSSIYA publishes analytical material by leading Russian experts in the nuclear arms sphere--S. Voronin, chief designer of the All-Russia Experimental Physics Research Institute Federal Nuclear Center, V. Voronov, chief of the Nuclear Arms Problems Analysis Department, scientific associate S. Breskun [as published], and L. Denisov, senior scientific associate of the Nuclear Arms Problems Analysis Department of the All-Russia Experimental Physics Research Institute--scientists from the city of Kremlev (Arzamas-16).
We would like to begin this critical discussion, which is addressed to the legislators and society, with the statement that our own nuclear forces are today in such a condition that without due public attention to them we simply run the risk in the future of being deprived of them without the need for any treaties. With all the ensuing consequences. It has to be said that the very definition of strategic arms as "offensive" is highly imprecise. The modern nuclear weapons of the great nuclear powers are by their very meaning a unique and effective military-political means of ensuring global stability. They are not intended (if we remain within the framework of political reason, not paranoia) for conducting combat operations, and, therefore, an offensive involving their use is in reality impossible. Only a strategic defense based on the actual presence (but not use) of nuclear weapons as a deterrent mechanism is possible and judicious. It is useful to begin any analysis with the history of the issue.
Without going into it in detail, we will, however, highlight the main point: military-political, military-engineering, and geopolitical realities made for the asymmetrical development of the strategic arms of the USSR and the United States. For a long time the United States made successful use of both the inaccessibility of its own territory for the delivery systems of those years and the vulnerability of our territory from numerous military bases, the number of which around the Soviet Union was at one time computed in the hundreds.
The geopolitical position of Russia and the United States differs fundamentally: We are a continental power, the latter, oceanic. And for this reason the sides' strategic nuclear forces (SNF) have, perfectly justifiably, a different structure. Only after the creation of our own intercontinental ballistic missiles did we really rid ourselves of the threat of effective nuclear blackmail. What has been said is not an invention and is not propaganda.
There is a serious study by the American physicists Mikio Kaku and Daniel Axelrod "United States: Gamble on Victory in a Nuclear War. The Pentagon's Secret War Plans," which even says in the preface: "This book reveals what American (our emphasis--authors) leaders and nuclear strategists were contemplating...in these fateful 40 years. Truth to tell, this is a terrifying story."
It is hard not to agree with this assessment, it being sufficient to glance at the summary of the plans for a nuclear attack on the USSR adduced by these authorities.
Pincher, adopted 1946: use of 50 nuclear aerial bombs against 20 cities of the USSR
Broiler, adopted March 1948: use of 34 nuclear aerial bombs against 24 cities of the USSR
Sizzle, adopted December 1948: use of 133 nuclear aerial bombs against 70 cities of the USSR
Trojan, adopted January 1949: --
Shakedown, adopted October 1949: use of 220 nuclear aerial bombs against 104 cities of the USSR
Dropshot, adopted 1949*: use of 300 nuclear aerial bombs against 200 cities of the USSR
USAF SAC military plan, adopted 1956: nuclear strike against 2,997 targets on the territory of the USSR
SIOP-62, adopted December 1960: nuclear strike against 3,423 targets in the USSR
SIOP-5, adopted 1974: nuclear strike against several thousand targets in the USSR
SIOP-6, adopted 1982: nuclear strike against several thousands targets *We would note that even by this time the USSR still did not have a single nuclear weapon, and there was no threat to the United States' national security on the part of the USSR.
Eighteen plans are included in the table altogether (from December 1945 (!) through 1982). Knowing this, it is not hard to understand how pressing the problem of the creation of our own nuclear weapons was for our country.
For the first time the Caribbean crisis revealed vividly the role of nuclear weapons in the prevention of war. And it showed one further thing also: It took just one nuclear weapons base on the borders of the United States for "the world to be at the danger line." But there were several dozen nuclear bases of the United States in the vicinity of our borders at that time! And we lived without making a tragedy out of the fact that U.S. policy had always been aimed (in the ample and precise definition of the Rand Corporation) at an "escalation of superiority." The sides' entire nuclear armament activity was pursued, therefore, under the sign of destabilizing initiatives of the United States. This needs to be said plainly--not from a desire to censure, but for the sake of objectivity and true historical evaluations.
The United States was the first to create nuclear weapons themselves, strategic aviation, and a nuclear navy, dispatching to the oceans the Nautilus--the first nuclear-powered submarine. Multiple reentry vehicles, MIRV's, also appeared in the United States in 1970. And with us, only in 1974.
We sometimes forget such things, but this is a fact: The tune was called by the United States. We merely "picked up the trail" (sometimes, it is true, in accordance with the Russian custom of taking a long time to harness up and then riding fast, we would even overtake the "leader"). Thus the USSR overtook the United States in the development of the first hydrogen bomb and launched the first ICBM. Although all this was only a short time lead over work being performed in the United States.
The overall backdrop to the development of strategic arms was as follows. It was our own intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM's) which made for the emergence of parity relations with the United States. And although we had developed other types of nuclear weapons also--strategic aviation and a navy with missile-firing submarines (SSBN's), the emphasis was always put on ICBM's deployed on national territory. Incidentally, this was the most well-grounded option politically.
Aviation.... The production of heavy bombers (HB) had traditionally been well developed in the United States, and they could be based on Europe. We, however, relied only on our own territory, and the ill-considered decisions of the Khrushchev government in the 1960's and the winding down of work on strategic aviation threw us back drastically.
The submarine fleet.... As we have said, the Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine, appeared in the United States. And from this moment the SSBN's of the United States were upgraded increasingly swiftly. For the latter, the world's most ocean-going power, such a military-engineering decision (at that time, we emphasize) was natural and logical. It did not have to rush the development of ICBM's.
The construction of our own nuclear fleet began (as a retaliatory response) almost simultaneously. But even its rapid development in the 1970's--both qualitative and quantitative--could not have made our SSBN's the fulcrum of the strategic forces. A simple glance at the map of the world explains immediately why for us the sea part of the SNF "triad" could not be their natural basis.
It was essentially primarily thanks to our successes in the sphere of intercontinental missile manufacturing that genuine parity with the United States--both military-engineering and geopolitical-- was achieved. And what is most important for us (in the current situation particularly!) is not so much what the structure of others' SNF is as what we ourselves have. It is our structure that is important!
And our arms systems which are the most "inconvenient," for the United States are for us, on the contrary, the best merely in that they secure the effect of restraint (NOT deterrence!) best. And these are our silo'd MIRV'd ICBM's.
Systemically, ICBM's are less "aggressive" than the mobile components of the SNF. They are easily located and monitored, and their "geography" is confined to the framework of the position area. The "attack" focus is higher for strategic aviation, but this evaluation is particularly fair for the nuclear submarine fleet of the United States--highly mobile, geographically unlimited, and high-speed and, what is most important, with the minimum approach time of the SLBM's. But what is important for us is, as we have said, not so much the focus of others' SNF as what, first and foremost, we ourselves possess.
But what do we and our strategic partner possess today?
The United States breathed new life into strategic arms in the 1980's, successfully combining the advantages of heavy aviation delivery systems with the possibilities of average-speed, but low-flying and hard-to-detect strategic cruise missiles.
Things are not much better with the SSBN's either. Our craft are obsolescent and physically worn--increasingly few of them (less than one-third) are on operational duty. In the United States, 80 percent! Our fleet is locked in inland seas and inadequately furnished with land bases. Even more menacing is the fact that our SSBN's are clustered at their coastal bases and are becoming a tempting target for a first strike: It is far simpler to destroy them in base than to seek them out one by one in the ocean.
Our boats are not only old physically, they are, in addition, insufficiently sophisticated and are located by ASW facilities, as a rule. Building new ones is possible, of course, but...this is now an even more dubious and ruinous task than the building of new strategic aviation.
What has already been said convinces us that the plans for some nuclear "diad" of our own based on SSBN's that are being propagandized do not correspond to the tasks of military-political assurance of Russia's national security.
The United States not only has a powerful SSBN fleet, it also has most powerful anti-submarine defenses. This is what M. Kaku and D. Axelrod have to say about the United States' ASW defenses: "The system of ASW facilities is one of the most important expenditure items of the U.S. Navy's budget. Detection...at a great distance is performed...with a wide net of eavesdropping posts--the SOSUS fixed long-range hydro-acoustic observation system."
Deployed in many areas of the continental shelf and in the vicinity of "narrows" (narrow straits such as off the Kamchatka peninsula and Greenland-Iceland-Britain and also the strait between Medvezhiy Island and Norway), the SOSUS system could determine the location of Soviet submarines to within 10 to 50 nautical miles (this in the mid-1980's--authors' note) or even less in the open seas.
The global system of 211 Orion aircraft united in 24 squadrons could cover practically all the areas in which Soviet submarines patrol, including the coastal "refuges" in the Barents Sea which the Soviet Union needed to maintain the possibilities for a retaliatory (our emphasis--authors) strike. In the opinion of the U.S. Naval Command, the "Orion-3 aircraft remain unsurpassed in their ASW qualities and their capacity for conducting observation (more than 300 containers of equipment: automated electronic systems for the detection of submarines, the plotting of their precise location, etc.)."
There remain the strategic missile forces. But it is they that have become the main target that is being "attacked" by the START II treaty.... The ideology of the START II treaty (accepted not only by the American but, however strange, by our side also) was established, essentially, in U.S. President George Bush's speech in Atlanta on 28 September 1991. He then said, in part: "As of the 1970's, the most vulnerable and unstable part of the American and Soviet nuclear forces were the ICBM's fitted with a multiple reentry vehicle. Both sides deployed these ICBM's in launch silos, where they are more vulnerable than ICBM's deployed on SSBN's (we highlight the last words in order to return to them later--authors). I propose that the USSR and the United States work out a common agreement on decommissioning all ICBM's with a multiple reentry vehicle (...). This step would eliminate the most unstable (in, we emphasize, George Bush's opinion--authors) part of our nuclear arsenals...."
This assertion was received uncritically, although it contains much that is arguable, and its validity can and should be called in question. But the place of analysis was taken by the hasty START II treaty, whose outward essence may be formulated as follows: a reduction in the quantitative ceiling on warheads on strategic delivery systems to 3,000...3,500 and the destruction of MIRV'd ICBM's with the preservation of SLBM's, the ballistic missiles of submarines (with MIRV's included, which we note particularly).
The nuclear submarine fleet of the United States is the truly strike and invulnerable basis of its strategic forces.
We will speak later about the summary prospect arising as a result of realization of START II, but some assessments may be made immediately. Thus the START II treaty destroys heavy MIRV'd ICBM's (with the most powerful operational equipment) completely. A justification for the haste here on the part of our own authors of START II is that they will need to be decommissioned after the year 2000 in any case. These ICBM's cannot be manufactured in the Russian Federation since they were developed at the Dnepropetrovsk Yuzhnoye Design Bureau and manufactured there (at the Yuzhmash). That is, our ICBM's will be "dying out" in terms of service life, and so, in exchange for their rapid reduction, we will obtain a corresponding reduction in ICBM's in the United States also.
But not everything is this obvious--starting with the fact that the "swap" here is made in "figures" which have for their owners a fundamentally different meaning.
First, we would note: We have to get through to the year 2000. Second, the United States is insisting, for some reason or other, on the elimination of all ground -based MIRV'd ICBM's. Although even with a mutual reduction merely of the obsolete ICBM's and SLBM's the sides would even in this case be seriously reducing the level of confrontation. This would be to the benefit of both us and the United States. There would simultaneously be an increase in the organizational and technical safety of the sides' SNF--thanks to the reduction in the number of aging weapons that were being serviced.
That is, were START II to prescriptively fix new (considerably lower) quantitative thresholds formed as a result of the rundown of the service life of a number of nuclear arms, this would in itself be an important step en route to the optimum mutual minimization of the SNF. In actual fact, START II does point in the direction of quantitative reductions also, but it is simply us here who are dragged into quantitative reductions that fundamentally alter the qualitative structure of our SNF. In a way that discriminates against us. Yet a fair version is obvious: It is necessary to lower the quantitative ceiling on warheads without touching the structures of the SNF. Or, to be even more precise: While preserving the historically evolved qualitative parity at all stages of the reduction of the SNF. Other scenarios are possible also, but necessarily taking account of the current national structures.
If the purpose of START II is an increase in the security of both states, it is necessary to proceed from what has been said. But it would seem that this treaty realizes the goals only of one side--the United States. And such "accords" may be defined only as unequal.
In the event of the conclusive realization of the START II treaty, the structure of our strategic forces (if their composition includes the systems on which we can really rely, for which there is sufficient S&T and industrial groundwork and for whose reproduction we can provide with the powers of the Russian Federation) and also the structure of the SNF of the United States will appear (in terms of warheads) as represented in the following figures showing the structural composition of the SNF in terms of combat equipment (warheads) of the Russian Federation and the United States.
Russian Federation: 18-22 percent ICBM's (no MIRV's); 60-72 percent SLBM's (all in MIRV's); 6-22 percent HB
United States: 14 percent ICBM's (no MIRV's); 50 percent SLBM's (all in MIRV's); 36 percent HB.
Upon a comparative analysis of the data of the warhead tables, the breakup of our structure of the SNF and the inequity of START II and its destabilizing potentialities can be seen perfectly clearly. Yet much is being said about "partner relations" with the United States at this time.... What does the United States want? A lowering of the level of mutual danger (stabilization, that is) or, simply, the maximum weakening of the defense potential of our fatherland? If it is seeking the first, this is a worthy and justified goal. If, however, the goals of the United States are objectively unjustified, if it simply wants to make us weak (having destroyed our strategic missile forces while having preserved the structure of its "triad"), then, first, what kind of partnership are we talking about and, second, how can there be any question of ratification of START II providing for the achievement of the goals of the United States at the expense of our legitimate interests?
Earlier all reductions (SALT I of 1972 and SALT II of 1979 and even the draft 1991 treaty on a "50 percent reduction") were based on the principle of a lowering of quantitative ceilings. Structural transformations were delicately regarded as a national prerogative. The START II treaty proposed for ratification intrudes in unprecedented fashion (for the first time, that is) into the very structure of our strategic arms! And this unparalleled interference is of an exclusively destructive (and, consequently, mutually destabilizing) nature also.
The apologists for the destruction of MIRV'd ICBM's are explaining and justifying it at this time by the fact that the United States has long been worried by their allegedly "destabilizing" properties. Stationary targets are effectively destroyed, they say, in a first strike, and with the emphasis on these ICBM's there will always, therefore, be the temptation (?--authors) to deliver a preemptive strike. Consequently, there will always be doubts and suspicion on this score. This is why, it is said, it is necessary to deprive the ground-based strategic forces of the potential first-strike means--MIRV'd ICBM's.
The logic, in our view, is more than dubious, and the initial premises, contrived and artificial. Indeed, if earlier, in past tumultuous periods, at the time of real political crises, during the "cold" confrontation (not "partnership," as now), with as yet unobsolete, powerful strategic missile forces, with a strong USSR, and, in addition, with many other conditions favoring a "preemptive" strike, Russia never did launch one, it will certainly not be launching one now. Is this not obvious?
But the elimination in accordance with the terms of the START II treaty of MIRV'd ICBM's (as the "destabilizing" part of the SNF of the two nuclear powers) would engender another "instability" far more discernible than for MIRV'd ICBM's. This is Russia's SSBN's representing (following the planned destruction of our silo'd ICBM's) a very tempting target for an effective first strike.
All this involuntarily induces reflection even on the following.... Why is the total elimination of the ground-based MIRV'd ICBM's necessary? Is it not in order to wholly deprive the SNF of Russia of if only some deterrent capacities even for a hypothetical retaliatory strike?
This supposition is also confirmed by the fact that the United States cut back work on SDI only after START II had been signed. Although, with the S&T groundwork that has been achieved, it could be accelerated rapidly and brought to the state of effective actual results. And then even limited systems within the SDI framework plus our "SNF" (in quotation marks) would create an excellent base for diktat.
No, START II in its present form has too many dubious properties for it to be ratified recklessly! After all, how does this treaty treat not us but the United States? The fact that it will eliminate the MX modern MIRV'd ICBM's is touted as the biggest concession on its part. It is sufficient to take a look at the full-page material in IZVESTIYA of 10 April 1993 "START II Treaty Strengthens Russia's Security" by military experts V. Litovkin and V. Dvorkin, G. Berdennikov, deputy minister of foreign affairs of the Russian Federation, and A. Arbatov, director of the Center for Geopolitical and Military Forecasts, which discusses the MX also. But is the price of this concession that great for the United States?
In accordance with START II, it can refit (and intends to do so!) 500 Minuteman III-class ICBM's (which permit the deployment on them of MIRV's, but which are operated in accordance with START II in a single-warhead version) with new warheads. And in place of the aging Mk62 and Mk78 warheads on 500 Minutemen it is planned to install the new Mk87 warheads, which in a number of exactly 500 will be removed from 50 MX which are to be dismantled, each of which has 10 Mk87's. It would seem that the United States is better acquainted than us with Lomonosov's famous postulate: "If somewhere something is diminished, somewhere something is increased"! The chain of examples from START II could be multiplied, and they would all be of the same category as the previous example.
The independent expert P. Belov observes perfectly properly that even an unratified START II treaty undermines the defense potentialities of the state and that we should determine our position on it as soon as possible, therefore. A true statement; this conceptually unequal treaty should be either denounced or subjected to operational innovation (revision, that is).
And it cannot be said that time does not wait--it has long been let slip.
To conclude this section we would recall that we can still up to the year 2000 somehow ensure national security and systemic parity based on the remaining strategic missile forces. The situation after the year 2000 will be more complicated. What kind of outlook does the START II treaty prepare for us?
The missile-firing nuclear submarine fleet of the United States will appear at the start of the new century very impressive: high-speed Trident-2 SLBM's with multiple reentry vehicles are deployed on the modern Ohio-class SSBN's. And these submarines should with any turn of events be regarded as invulnerable.
In addition, START II does not limit the deployment of Tomahawk sea-launched cruise missiles, whose numbers may be raised to several thousand. Tomahawk cruise missiles are deployed both on surface ships and on submarines, having a range of 300 km. This enables them to "reach" our territory from the majority of areas of the oceans convenient for the navigation of U.S. submarines. These are essentially strategic weapons.
And for some reason or other no one regards them as a most serious destabilizing fact. They should be....
Both sides' ground-based ICBM's will by this time (if START II is realized) have been deprived totally of multiple reentry vehicles. Although the technical possibility of the United States' ICBM's being retrofitted with MIRV's is preserved.
A very distinctive situation fraught with not in the least bit less destability (to adopt G. Bush's terminology and logic) than in the case of the availability to the sides of MIRV'd ICBM's is taking shape: The United States will still have highly efficient MIRV'd missiles (on submarines), we, will not. Our "boat" missiles are worse than the American missiles. Their upgrading will require big outlays. Plus the virtual absence of a fleet, for whose modernization sums which are already astronomical are required.
Of our strategic missile forces, there remains essentially, only the single-warhead Topol mobile missiles. Their survivability is so problematical that even the apologists for START II are talking continually about "the need for the increased survivability of our SNF." Although the most judicious option here would be the cancellation of the breakup of the current strategic missile forces that is being prepared.
We should not deceive ourselves with the term "mobile"--the mobility is confined to the position area and its transport infrastructure. These ICBM's are being devalued even more by the increasingly efficient space-based tracking systems being developed in the United States.
We would recall also that the United States itself has abandoned mobile ICBM's proper, although there was sufficient talk on this score. They have very many systemic shortcomings (environmental included). Does not all this indicate how well considered START II has been on the part of the United States and how "well considered" (in quotation marks!) it has been with us? It is appropriate to mention the following detail here also. Nuclear arms manufacturers were not represented at the START II negotiations on the side of the Russian Federation, although a representative of the Energy Department was present from the American side.
So we should inquire primarily as to the extent to which the current structure of our SNF is natural and suitable. And it is clear that today it is natural. It is based on silo'd MIRV'd ICBM's capable of deterring the possibility of a hypothetical first strike thanks to the fact that a retaliatory strike even by several MIRV'd ICBM's with high "breakthrough" capabilities would be effective. Our submarines here do not so much "threaten" as draw onto themselves a part (considerable) of the forces of a hypothetical first strike. And primarily because of this (not by the high possibilities of a retaliatory strike) lower the probability of a power development of the situation.
Earlier (including the SALT I negotiations) the high contracting parties themselves selected the structure of the SNF that was suitable for them, merely lowering the quantitative ceilings of the nuclear arms. Now, however, the United States is choosing both for itself and for us SNF structures suitable for it! This is, in fact, the whole meaning of START II set forth in a few words.
The strategic forces of the United States do not change their appearance: They remain the same, but more dynamic and select. Their naval component not only is not weakened, but it preserves its predominant position. It is supplied not simply with MIRV'd SLBM's (formally, we will have them also) but with precision strategic missiles (superior to the accuracy of our SLBM's) which are well-concealed, unmonitorable, and invulnerable and have truly mobile basing. We would add to this the Tomahawk cruise missiles.
The U.S. SSBN fleet is fully supported by a fleet of HB with air-launched cruise missiles, and single-warhead (but highly accurate) Minuteman-class ICBM's confront our single-warhead ICBM's. But here also there is a difference: The U.S. ICBM's preserve the technical and design possibility of the rapid conversion of the ICBM equipment to MIRV's, and the number of warheads could more than double overnight here. But we do not have this possibility because the operational equipment of the Topol ICBM is a single-warhead front section (this was how this ICBM was developed).
That is: START II truly intrudes fundamentally and in destabilizing fashion into the structure only of our strategic arms and breaks it up in a destabilizing manner. And all this to the accompaniment of talk about the "destabilizing" nature of our MIRV'd ICBM's!
It is maintained that silo'd ICBM's are very vulnerable to a U.S. first strike (but it is the United States itself that says this!) and that the Russian Federation could for this reason, for example, be tempted to deliver a first strike.... We would simply like to observe apropos such an "explanation": "Physician, heal thyself."
But if we accept this "logic," why, in accordance with this, cannot the powerful submarine fleet of the United States equipped with SLBM's with those same MIRV's or the Tomahawk cruise missiles be regarded as a destabilizing factor?
Our SSBN's are "stopped up" and "shut in" in "narrows"; the SSBN's of the United States, on the other hand, move out immediately from the piers of their bases into the free open seas. Ours make more "noise" and are therefore more easily detected. And we have nothing closely resembling the tracking system of that same SOSUS.
That is, the practically invulnerable (and what is even more dangerous, undetectable and unmonitorable) submarines of the United States "wander" freely at will in the ocean depths. So do they not create (to accept the American criterion of an evaluation of the destabilizing capabilities of this component of the SNF or the other), at a minimum, no less of an unstable situation than MIRV'd ICBM's?
And, perhaps, it would then be more logical to mutually draft a treaty, for example, in accordance with which both we and the United States eliminate MIRV'd ICBM's and, simultaneously, both (!) nuclear fleets with SLBM's fitted with MIRV's and sea-launched cruise missiles?
Remaining within the framework of a genuinely systemic approach, it has to be acknowledged that the line of argument adduced above converts the allegedly axiomatic assertion concerning the "destabilizing nature of MIRV'd ICBM's" not even to a theorem (to be proved) but simply a groundless statement put into circulation to secure unwarranted unilateral advantages. More precisely, the overwhelming superiority of the United States (which cannot fail to be destabilizing).
An understanding of and agreement with what has been said above automatically signifies the rejection of START II in its present systemic form. But what should the fate of this treaty be in this case? We would recall that there is a precedent. In the mutual relations of our two countries, what is more. The SALT II treaty, which the U.S. Congress never ratified, was signed in 1979. It was, in fact, observed, but this did not impose any mutual limitations on the parties. In May 1986, President Reagan even proclaimed its renunciation.
This is why Russia has every right to renounce START II, undertaking, nonetheless, even unilateral reductions in nuclear arms. We would by such resolve to proceed primarily from our own interests strengthen our reputation, rather.
It would be expedient to simultaneously propose that the United States either undertake the novation of START II or conclude a new treaty on large-scale reductions in strategic arms with the provisional name of, for example, SALT-95 (the preferability of the term "strategic," not "offensive," is explained at the start of the article).
Incidentally, the justification of such a policy of Russia is understood even in the United States. In the fall of 1994, Ambassador J. Dean, who was a long-time active participant in the mutual negotiating process, acknowledged in THE WASHINGTON QUARTERLY: "The question of ratification of the START II treaty appears moot. The process of ratification will be difficult at best, and could require negotiations on the revision (our emphasis-- authors) of certain provisions of the treaty, specifically, those that provide for the elimination of the Russian SS-18 missiles and at the same time leave the United States with a preponderance (our emphasis--authors) in submarine-fired missiles."
So actions disavowing START II are necessary in themselves, but will they in and of themselves, even if they are completely successful, be sufficient for the military-political assurance of Russia's national security? Alas, no.
We made our critical assessments of START II two years ago, and the situation was not as threatening at that time. Today the situation is changing fundamentally and for the worse.
This article has been devoted primarily to problems of START II directly, but the threat of a real degradation of Russia's strategic nuclear forces is directly connected with them also. Missile silos are being destroyed and falling into neglect, the submarine fleet is becoming decrepit, and the strategic munitions delivery systems are becoming worn and obsolete. As a consequence of the unilateral moratoriums on nuclear testing, national programs of work on the nuclear munitions themselves have been stymied. It is in principle perfectly possible to determine rapidly, collectively, and publicly an economical long-term policy for Russia in the sphere of its strategic nuclear forces, but.... But such a policy is possible only with its adequate funding.
It would be sufficient for the coming years, for that matter, to put a stop to the unwarranted and inexplicable massive destruction of what has already been done. Pretty good military-political guarantees of national security could be secured also thanks to optimization, but it is even more important to simultaneously win society's understanding of the entire scale of the problem.