determines that U.S. missile defenses would threaten its
intercontinental nuclear missile force, a senior U.S. official said
Similar “unilateral statements” have been included
in previous arms control treaties, and the Bush administration used one
in 2002 to abrogate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with the
The Obama administration, however, has rejected the
Russian demand, fearing that it could make it harder to win the
Republican votes needed for
“The issue here is what do the Russians feel they
need, but also keeping an eye on not trying to complicate the
ratification process,” said a senior U.S. official, who requested
anonymity because of the delicacy of the negotiations.
Sixty-seven votes are required to ratify the treaty in the
now controls 59 seats. The treaty is expected to limit deployed U.S.
and Russian nuclear arsenals to 1,500-to-1,600 warheads each, a
reduction from a limit of 2,200 due to take effect on
Obama tried unsuccessfully to resolve the U.S. missile defense issue last week by telephone with his Russian counterpart,
The U.S. negotiating team, led by Assistant Secretary of State
“We don’t think that these problems are insurmountable,” he said. “We are trying to find a way to manage Russian concerns.”
Russian and U.S. negotiators aimed to finish
drafting a successor accord to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction
Treaty, C-START, before it expired on
The latest complication centers on Obama’s decision to deploy U.S. anti-missile interceptors in
Obama’s decision replaced a Bush administration plan to place a tracking radar in
any dubious unilateral actions in the missile defense field.”
Experts said that the initial deployment of 20 SM-3 interceptors in
wouldn’t threaten Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles because
the U.S. projectiles have a 900-kilometer (560-mile) range and are too
slow to catch the long-range Russian missiles.
“The Standard Three Missile has a configuration that gives it a range of 900 kilometers. That doesn’t get it to
however, worries that the next generation of the missile will be fast
enough to knock out its long-range weapons, a concern fueled by the
absence of a treaty limiting the number of interceptors that the U.S.
can deploy in
Russian counterparts, and we will continue to try to assuage their
concerns that our plans for a missile defense in
(c) 2010, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.