SORT-Ing out START: Options for U.S.-Russian Strategic Arms Reductions

By Cimbala, Stephen J. | Joint Force Quarterly, October 2009 | Go to article overview

SORT-Ing out START: Options for U.S.-Russian Strategic Arms Reductions


Cimbala, Stephen J., Joint Force Quarterly


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

American and Russian presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev have committed their administrations to progress on strategic nuclear arms limitation. A new agreement to replace the existing Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty I (START I) was drafted in July 2009 and may be ready for U.S. Senate ratification prior to the expiration of the treaty in December. (1) The favorable political winds on nuclear arms control between Washington and Moscow might open the door to further accomplishments in their agenda of shared security concerns. These possible areas of convergent interests include Afghanistan, Iran, and nonproliferation.

But nuclear arms control is more than a technical exercise. Embedded in the construction and negotiation of arms pacts are issues related to post--Cold War geopolitics, including North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) enlargement, U.S. missile defenses deployed in Europe, and Russian military doctrine and reform. This article considers various options for U.S.-Soviet strategic nuclear arms reductions within this larger politico-military context and offers provisional but timely assessment of prospects for success.

Reset

START and Other Issues. The Obama administration has indicated that it wants to "reset" the button on U.S. relations with Russia, in contrast with the upsurge of political disputes that characterized the latter years of the George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin presidencies. (2) The U.S. intention to move forward on Russia is a positive note for international relations. But the disagreements that characterized U.S. relations with Russia under Bush and Putin are not merely matters of tone. Instead, those areas of disagreement will carry forward into the Medvedev and Obama presidencies because they involve serious and substantive political and geostrategic differences. (3)

One area of possible and urgent security cooperation between Russia and the United States is the decision to either continue or replace the START I nuclear arms treaty, signed in 1991 and set to expire in December 2009. In part, START has been superseded by the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT) of May 2002, an agreement between the Bush and Putin administrations. SORT requires each state to reduce its operationally deployed strategic nuclear weapons to 2,200 to 1,700 warheads by the end of 2012. (4) However, SORT provides for none of the monitoring and verification protocols so characteristic of Cold War--era U.S.-Soviet arms control agreements. In fact, SORT has piggybacked on the START protocols in this regard, but the expiration of START would leave SORT a verification-free radical. The table summarizes the START-accountable launchers and weapons for both the United States and Russia as of January 1, 2009.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Agreement on a post-START and postSORT bilateral arms agreement is related to other important U.S. and Russian foreign policy objectives. Success or failure in nuclear arms control is also connected to broader issues that mark diplomatic and military fault lines, as between America and Russia. These issues include:

* NATO relations with Russia

* Russian cooperation with the United States and NATO over Afghanistan and Iraq

* U.S.-Russian leadership as an essential constituent of a viable global nuclear nonproliferation regime

* U.S. plans under Bush, now apparently under review by Obama, to deploy elements of the American global missile defense system in Poland and in the Czech Republic.

It would be impossible to do justice to each of these issues in a single article, but their connection to the progress or lack thereof in nuclear arms control is important to appreciate. Russia's objectives in restarting START are both political and military. The military objective of stable deterrence is also a political objective: to create a U.S.-Russian security space in which Russia is recognized as a coequal nuclear partner and, with the United States, as occupying a singular tier in the hierarchy of nuclear weapons states. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

SORT-Ing out START: Options for U.S.-Russian Strategic Arms Reductions
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.