Russia Seeks Nonstrategic Talks with US

According to the Global Security Newswire, ITAR-Tass reported  that on November 8 Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said his country wants to join the United States in discussions on short-range atomic armaments,.

“Dismantling the infrastructure of tactical nuclear weapons in Europe and deploying them in the U.S. is the condition for efficiency. These aspects should be discussed within the multilateral format in full compliance by Washington with the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty,” he stated.

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Removing U.S. and Russian Tactical Nuclear Weapons from European Combat Bases

Recommendations of Global Zero NATO-Russian  Commission Report

“Following on the New START treaty recently brought into force, Global Zero calls for the United States and Russia to begin comprehensive nuclear arms negotiations in early 2013 to reduce their arsenals to as low as 1,000 total weapons each, and, as part of these negotiations, to pursue the expedited removal of all of their tactical nuclear weapons from combat bases on the European continent to national storage facilities in the United States and Russia.

“These comprehensive negotiations would, for the first time in history, include all nonstrategic nuclear weapons (commonly referred to as tactical or sub-strategic nuclear weapons) and all non-deployed strategic weapons (‘reserve’ strategic vehicles and warheads in storage) in addition to the deployed strategic warheads and delivery vehicles that are constrained by New START.”

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POGO Asks Panetta to Stop Funding B61 Nuclear Bombs in Europe

Dana Liebelson of the Project on Goverment Oversight (POGO) on February 2, 2012 reported: “When Defense Secretary Leon Panetta unveiled his plan to achieve $487 billion in budget cuts over the next ten years, he hinted  that a smart strategy would mean cutting the number of nuclear weapons.  Today, POGO sent him a very timely letter:  the U.S. should cease funding the B61 nuclear bombs stationed in Europe, or pass the costs on to the countries where they’re stationed. This would save taxpayers more than $2 billion dollars.

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NATO allies grapple with shrinking defense budgets

Craig Whitlock writing in the January 30, 2012 Washington Post indicates: “NATO allies are confronting a sustained weakening of the military alliance as ailing economies are forcing nearly all members, including the United States, to accelerate cuts to their defense budgets at the same time.

“The Pentagon’s recent decision to eliminate two of the Army’s four brigages in Europe  is the latest blow to NATO’s military capabilities. It extends a year of grim announcements from members of the alliance that they can no longer afford their security commitments and that a long period of austerity is in the offing.”

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2 Army brigades to leave Europe in cost-cutting move

Greg Jaffe in an article in the January 13, 2012 Washington Post writes:  “The Obama administration has decided to remove two of the four U.S. Army brigades remaining in Europe as part of a broader effort to cut $487 billion from the Pentagon’s budget over the next decade, said senior U.S. officials.

“The reductions in Army forces, which have not been formally announced, are likely to concern European officials, who worry that the smaller American presence reflects a waning of interest in the decades-long U.S.-NATO partnership in Europe.”

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Rose Gottemoeller Discusses Non-strategic Nuclear Weapons and Conventional Forces in Europe

In an interview with Maria Tabek of Ria Novosti on December 23, 2011, Rose Gottemoeller, assistant secretary, Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance, U.S. State Department, among other topics discussed non-strategic nuclear weapons and conventional armed forces in Europe.

Here are excerpts from the interview on these topics. Continue reading

Mutually Assured Stability

Simon Saradzhyan, a research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center, writing about tactical nuclear weapons in The Moscow Times (December 20, 2011), indicates: “Given the scarcity of benefits and abundance of costs of these arsenals, Moscow should join Washington in negotiating measures to bring tactical nukes into the realm of bilateral arms control. The two powers can start with defining the weapons and exchanging information on their past reductions and current stockpiles. They could then negotiate the verifiable reduction of their stockpiles and their consolidation in one or two of the best-guarded facilities.”

He concludes:  “It is time that Russia and United States move away from deterrence based on a 20th-century concept of mutually assured destruction. Instead, they should move toward what experts on both sides have referred to as mutually assured stability. Consolidation and reduction of tactical nuclear weapons will facilitate this transition, advancing both countries’ common vital interests in preventing the use of nuclear weapons. These measures will also allow Moscow to allocate more funds to building conventional forces capable of countering more imminent threats to Russia’s security, such as a low-intensity insurgency or local conflicts, without risking a nuclear Armageddon.”

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