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Rahmbo in the Duma, Why Russia Doesn’t Want a Treaty

Yes, I am easily entertained.  From the New York Times on the “finalizing” of a new arms control deal between the U.S. and Russia.

Mrs. Clinton said that she did not anticipate any trouble getting the agreement ratified by the Senate, noting that arms control agreements in the past have sailed through. And, in a moment of levity, she joked that the Obama administration would be happy to help the Russian government get the treaty through the Duma.

“President Obama has said that he will send Rahm Emanuel to Moscow” to help out, she said, laughing, referring to Mr. Obama’s bulldog chief of staff. “We all endorsed that offer.”

In related news, Roland Oliphant has a good one over at Russia Profile which doubts that the deal will ever get signed in Prague because, well, Russia has put itself in such a position that it seems like some kind of loss of face to sign a simple and logical replacement for the START treaty that George W. Bush screwed up.  Many in the Kremlin prefer for negotiations to drag on endlessly.

Numbers of warheads will fall on either side anyway – the Russian arsenal is shrinking as a result of natural aging, and the Americans could well slash theirs in the framework of a unilateral strategic review without a new START. And Golts insists that the Russian political establishment is only pretending that the U.S. missile defense could have any kind of impact on Russia’s offensive capability. But by keeping the U.S. locked in negotiations they get to prove that they are an equal power and wring some politically useful concessions. “The whole thing is political,” said Golts.