Thursday, January 21, 2021


Among many "accomplishments" of Donald Trump in what passes in the United States for foreign policy and national security, one of the major achievements was exiting pretty much most arms control treaties with Russia, among them START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) being most notable. As I pointed out not for once, Russia's being rather nonchalant about Trump effectively demolishing arms control regime has its reasons. The main of those reasons is Russia having a decisive qualitative advantage over the United States in delivery systems, especially in the field of stand-off high precision weapons which changed the nature of modern war and deterrence dramatically. Yet, keeping not just the United States but the world, through keeping nuclear strategic arsenals under control, from ruinous and unnecessary investment into nuclear strategic weapons, which realistically are not the weapons of war. Upgrading them, keeping them in a working order? Sure. As simple logic goes: makes no difference how many times over can the United States and Russia obliterate each-other--5-6-7, makes no difference. So, some news from POTUS, a new one. 

President Joe Biden has decided to accept Russia's offer to extend the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty for the full five years and is proposing that the two sides "explore new verifiable arms control agreements" in the future. The overture could be a bright spot in an otherwise tense relationship in the opening days of the new administration. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which caps Washington and Moscow's deployed nuclear weapons at 1,550 each, is set to expire on Feb. 5 unless both sides agree to keep it in force. "The United States intends to seek a five-year extension of New START as the treaty permits," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Thursday. "The president has long been clear that the New START Treaty is in the national security interests of the United States. "This extension makes even more sense when the relationship with Russia is as adversarial as it is at this time," she added. "New START is the only remaining treaty constraining Russian nuclear forces and is an anchor of strategic stability between our two countries."

The explanation of this change of heart is rather simple. No, it is not because Biden ran on this agenda in his bid for the White House. No, such an explanation is akin to explaining a wind as a result of the movement of the trees' branches. The answer is much-much simpler. And is looking at us from the news.

The Biden administration also says it hopes to use the extension to begin talks on a new series of arms control measures.

There we go. Plans within plans, within plans. Granted, those plans are rather obvious and are not surprising. It is the only way for the United States to get anywhere near technologies which the United States doesn't have and, highly likely, will not develop anytime soon. Sure, the United States may create a system somewhat reminiscent of the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle and, possibly, some sort of analog of the aero-ballistic Kinzhal, but in terms of multi-platform genuine hypersonic cruise missiles similar to 3M22 Zircon I doubt the United States is anywhere near to mock-up, forget technology demonstrator, not to speak of weapon nearing IOC. That's the secret to all that. Once one takes into account such system as Poseidon, let alone Peresvet capable to disable incoming MIRVs one sees immediately America's intentions in terms of START. Obviously, The National Interest's own alternatively gifted Michael Peck comes up, yet again, with self-medicating cretinism of, say, Poseidon being developed because... Russian submarine technologies are lacking, but then again, for the guy who proposed to fight hypersonic anti-shipping missiles with a standard Aegis-SM-6 package, one can also expect a proposition to fight cancer with Band-Aid.     

Obviously, a "combat" clown David Axe is not far behind, inventing all kind of amateur shit about subjects he has no clue about, but it shows an interesting pattern with the two of the most hilarious America's military "analysts" having 2018 piece reprinted (Peck) and one new published (Axe) today, precisely when the news about Biden willing, quoting Eric Zoolander, to continue talking about conversation on START, broke. This is not accidental. I want to stress it again, START by itself is not anymore about classic strategic deterrent--it is about the United States gaining any kind of insight into the technologies which drove real revolution in military affairs and, if possible, trying to squeeze as much of strategic benefits as possible. Sure. As Russia stated before--she is ready to continue talking about this conversation (c) and is even ready to consider some weapon systems, such as Poseidon, at the negotiating table. Probably, Russia may agree limiting deployed Avangards to a single division.  What Russia is not going to talk about is RS-28 Sarmat, and Zircon and related systems. This is not negotiable. Sarmat is a strategic missile, but it is a substitution for ageing Satana R-36 ICBMs, while Zircon is an ambivalent weapon capable of having a strategic impact even in conventional variant. 

So, I have a bucket of pop-corn and am getting ready to observe this whole dance around the main issue which is at the core--if Russia will rub copious amounts of salt (pun is intended: SALT) into the American wound from the necessity to negotiate from an extremely weak position. We'll have to wait and see how this plays out but Russia nowadays is extremely business-oriented and, unlike the United States, has a crispy clear understanding of her national interests. There is even a school of thought that Russia may "exchange" something for Nord Stream-2. I don't know about that. You know, I hate to speculate. Russia can freeze NS-2 for a very long time since she is increasingly involved, hydrocarbons-wise, with the Asian markets and Europe is not anymore a priority. In the end, it is primarily in Europe's interest, not Russia's. Let EU deal with it. Russia has more important business to attend to. How about keeping the world peace.

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