START Incites Accusations

Another possible hurdle for the New START treaty: The Russian Foreign Ministry is accusing the US of breaching weapons treaties over the last ten years in a report publicised on Saturday. The US rejects the claims. Apparently, the report is a reaction to accusations from New START critics who say that Russia failed to honor weapons treaties in the past. The New York Times reports:

The Russian report seemed clearly aimed at American policy makers, Sergei A. Karaganov, a dean of the faculty of international relations at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, said in an interview.

“It is an issue balancing accusations on the American side with counteraccusations, which are more numerous on the Russian side,” said Mr. Karaganov, adding that the point of the report was to say that “nobody is holy” in observing arms agreements.

In Washington, policy analysts have cited partisan motives for delayingratification, to prevent Mr. Obama from scoring a political victorybefore Congressional elections or to leverage the vote to get moremoney for the national laboratories that maintain the nuclear arsenal.

“These things are viewed exclusively in the domestic political battle,”Samuel Charap, a fellow at the Center for American Progress, said in aninterview, “but they have consequence for the bilateral relationship.”

The Russian report cited a number of complaints against policies of theBush administration. The United States, it said, had converted B-1bombers to carry conventional weapons, rather than destroying them tomeet treaty obligations. And assurances that such weapons could not bequickly retooled for nuclear bombs were inadequate.