There were two important international achievements on nuclear weapons in april. First US and Russia signed the non-proliferation treaty then Nuclear Security Summit was held. These two related achievements are important in respect to build the nuclear policy of superpowers in the next 10 years.
Both these two critical steps have a priority for US to increase the pressure on Iran and North Korea. Global power centers like Russia, China and EU have efforts for transforming the international system into a system which they could dominate more. Washington’s approach of progress through negotiation, pulls other countries more to the US.
US and Russia accepted decreasing their strategic nuclear warheads by 1/3 and they also accepted decreasing their planes, bombardment planes and submarines by half which carry nuclear warheads by signing START.
New treaty allows these countries to have 1550 nuclear warheads in the next 7 years.
Treaty also aiming at showing the serious attention about nuclear non-proliferation
of US and Russia which own the 90 percent of nuclear weapons in the world. Main signal is for Iran. US and Russia will work cooperatively about nuclear armament in the next 10 years. It is clear that this study will not only effect US and Russia. Russia supported nuclear program of Iran and missile shield project which is planned to be located to Eastern Europe by US will determine the destiny of the START – 2.
1. Missile Shield
Missile project of US is the biggest problem for the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. While Russian President Medvedev states that treaty could be applied until the anti ballistic missile capacities are not increasing, he is also reminding the importance of the issue from the Russian perspective. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is also underlining the difficulty of activating the non-proliferation treaty because of the missile shield project of US. Vladimir Putin defines the problem as: “while our American partners are building a missile shield, we do not do the same thing.”
Moscow indicates that missile shield project of US harms the balance which was approached in the cold war era and they defend that they are pushed to develop new attack weapons. US withdrawal from the missile limitation treaty and their inclination through developing the missile shield is understood as a threat by Moscow. Russian experts are mentioning about the uncertainty about the application of the START – 2 while they are reminding that US disobedience to former treaty. According to the program which will be shaped by committees of both sides, Kremlin would want to decide what they will do at what percentage. It means that Russia will simply do nothing until US makes a move. According to Russian Military experts Russia will behave with controlling US moves. Russian Ministry of Defense will have an important role on determining the action plan. Russian Foreign Ministry will manage the political negotiations. There are some objections of the Russian Army about the treaty. One of these objections is how to manage the missile shield project which is not stated clearly yet. Army is insisting on taking a guarantee for Russia. While some of the Russian Foreign Ministry members are supporting this objection, the hesitation that the US disobedience to previous treaty, is the determining fact. If objections of Kremlin do not taken into consideration then Russia will not make a progress through approval or the application of the treaty.
US will be focused on the issue of Russia’s intercontinental mobile missiles. They may offer flexibility about mobile ballistic missiles against the missile shield project. This flexibility seems not to convince Kremlin at this stage.
2. Parliament Approval
There are some parliamentarians who are supporting the army’s objections. To perform the treaty, approvals of both parliaments are needed. Russian side is worried about the US side to accomplish this progress. Moscow desires to approval from both two states at the same time. In this progress, traditional differences of Russian and American parliamentarians should be taken into consideration. Synchronization between parliaments will be hard to achieve according to this perspective. The Russian condition of moving according to the American steps may be collapsed while the voting at the parliament approval is eventual. Russian officials pointing out that if there will be a delay on approval calendar of US, Kremlin will be standing by. There are no difficulties for Kremlin on the approval period. Approval from Obama administration will not be so much easy. To approve the treaty 67 acceptation votes out of 100 votes are needed. In this condition, Obama will need 8 republican senators’ votes to approve the treaty. If events while the Health Policy Reform is remembered, it is actual that it is hard for Obama administration to have this support. Also US army is at war in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Approval period will be started while Iran is threatening the US by using nuclear weapons. It is stated that the most serious issue in US threat doctrine is the terrorist elements to own nuclear weapons nowadays. All these issues will strengthen the opposition within the US parliament.
Another risk is the Congress Elections which will be held in November. In these conditions, possibility of Republicans to increase their chairs in the congress is eventual. If approval progress is delayed after the elections (it has a high possibility) Obama will have to find 15-20 votes for approval. Strategic weapon producers are putting a high pressure on the senators since the last year.
2. Blind Alley of Iran and China
President of US states clearly that spreading of nuclear weapons is other states will be fasten the armament competition in Far East and Middle East. This is a risk which cannot be accepted. The countries mentioned by Obama are Iran and China. According to US, the main threat is China, not North Korea. It is known that North Korea is supported by China and North Korea is taking nuclear technology from the China. China which is growing like a hungry dragon is understood as a threat in Middle East, Africa and South America as well as in the Pacific from the US perspective. In the new doctrine of Washington, its stated that the bilateral relations with Russia and China will be performed for more stable and transparent strategic relations. Nuclear weapons of China are smaller than nuclear weapons of Russia and US but the statement that there are question marks about the future strategic will of China because of the lacking transparency of nuclear programs should be understood as a serious warning. Because of this reason, US is giving signals through establishing an alliance with Russia against its global rival China. Kremlin is aware of the situation. Russia leadership is forming a strategy to stop NATO expansion through Eastern Europe with using this card. It will be hard to proceed the application of the non-proliferation treaty while the mistrust about Georgia, Iran and missile shield issues.
Russia is expected to give all efforts to prevent an intervention to Iran at all costs. Russian support for Iran’s nuclear infrastructure is moving on. Although it seems that the sanctions planned for Iran would be eliminated, Russia may support the sanctions for having the desired result about missile shield. While doing this Russia would develop the cooperation with China. It should not be forgotten that interests of China and Russia are conflicting in some areas. Interests of these two countries through the developing and supply-rich countries of South America, Central Asia, Middle East and Southeastern Asia are increasing. Russia is signing treaties on cooperative energy production and weapon with these regions’ countries. It is obvious that the China is behaving so much aggressive about those regions. This conflict would create tactical advantages for US but it will not effect the main strategy so much.
Russia is Renewing the Nuclear Weapons
Russia tested the intercontinental ballistic missile which is capable of carrying 10 nuclear warheads in December 2009 in respect to extend the usage time of the nuclear weapons which were developed by former Soviet Union. It was stated that the 20 tons weighted RS-20V missile which was launched from Orenburg region successfully hit its target in Kamchatka. Missiles and Artillery of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation stated that they want to extend the usage period of the RS-20V missiles until the year 2019.
It is critical that Russia’s desire of extending the missile usage period matches the same time period with the negotiations of Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. President Dimitriy Medvedev stated that they will be carrying on developing the nuclear technology to protect their national interests and he underlined that their nuclear actions are not contradicting with treaties signed with US. Medvedev said that “It is impossible to protect our country without nuclear weapons . This is the truth.
New Nuclear Weapon Policy of US
Barack Obama administration stated its new policies through limiting the use of nuclear weapons in US.
By the document which is prepared through the negotiations with other allied governments of US, US is eliminating the possibility of using nuclear weapons against the countries which do not have nuclear weapons.
But this new strategy includes an important element which orders that if countries stay loyal to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), they will not objected to an American Nuclear Retaliate.
This element is interpreted as a warning to Iran and North Korea because they do not obey the NPT so they will continue to be the potential targets.
New strategy of US which indicates that the use of nuclear weapons can only be in agenda at extreme conditions and undertakes the not developing of new nuclear warheads, decreases the role of nuclear weapons in the national security and this strategy will strengthen the conventional weapons.
Document is also underlines the efforts to negotiate with Russia about the nuclear weapons issue. Document also includes that the possibility of nuclear war threat is decreasing but nuclear attack possibility is increased.
Document can be counted as a major change in the American Nuclear Doctrine in the last 15 years.