New avenues for cooperation, as well as contentious strategic defense issues that have long plagued U.S.-Russian relations, will take center stage at the upcoming summit of President George W. Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Crawford, Texas. The leaders, who come to the table at a pivotal time in international relations with high popularity ratings at home, must now tackle tough security issues that include missile defense, reduction of strategic nuclear forces, and global terrorism. The close cooperation that has characterized their relations since the September 11 terrorist attacks has set the stage for real progress at this summit.
The talks must focus on defining the future strategic framework for U.S. cooperation with Russia during and after the war on terrorism. President Bush continues to stress that the Cold War paradigm underlying strategic stability no longer exists; and the terrorist attacks prove that the threats to security are more diverse, including biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction. While helping Russia to cement a strategic realignment with the West certainly appears more possible today, achieving it will not be easy.
The Administration should not take Putin's congenial relations with Bush or Russia's support for the war on terrorism to mean that the Kremlin will support all of America's agenda on strategic defense. And while such issues as NATO enlargement, economic development, energy resources, and Chechnya should be discussed, no issue should be used as a bargaining chip on strategic defense.
Regardless of whether or not there is a joint announcement on missile defense at the summit, the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, which keeps Americans vulnerable to missile attack, must be set aside. President Bush must not make a deal with Putin to allow the treaty to stand while giving Russia, which is not a party to the treaty, the ability to veto specific U.S. missile defense activities.
Russia has already taken important steps to demonstrate a change in its policies toward the United States. For the summit to be a watershed in U.S.-Russia relations, however, this change must continue. Russia must not require concessions from the United States before it agrees to strategic cooperation. And both parties must move toward an approach that considers each issue on its own merits.STRATEGIC DEFENSE: THE CENTERPIECE OF THE SUMMIT
Among the topics to be discussed at the summit, missile defense and the war on terrorism are certain to command the most consideration. The attacks of September 11 made it painfully clear to world leaders that innocent Americans are being targeted by terrorists who will use any means to inflict the greatest toll. America is most vulnerable to missile attack because it has no defense against ballistic missiles, which have proliferated greatly over the past decade.1 Deploying an effective missile defense system must be a necessary component of any homeland defense.
President Bush, who campaigned on the need to end America's vulnerability to missile attack,2 made deploying a missile defense a top priority for his Administration in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., in May.3 But to do this, he will need to publicly set aside the ABM Treaty, which bars the deployment of missile defenses to protect U.S. territory and severely restricts the development and testing of missile defense technologies. President Bush rightly describes this treaty as "outdated" and "dangerous."4
Ideally, President Bush and President Putin will take the historic step at the Crawford summit by issuing a joint agreement to set aside the ABM Treaty as a Cold War relic. This agreement could be supplemented by other agreements to cooperate on ballistic missile defense programs, including shared threat assessments, information sharing on program activities (commonly referred to as transparency measures), consultations on future missile defense deployment plans, among others.
Why the ABM
Treaty Must Be Set Aside .
Upon the Soviet Union's demise, its territory became 15 sovereign states, including Russia. None of these states is capable of satisfying the obligations of the Soviet Union under the ABM Treaty. Therefore, many analysts and legal experts have gone on record stating that the ABM Treaty is no longer valid. Nevertheless, arms control proponents and many among the Russian elites want the United States to maintain the treaty.
The U.S. government continued curtailing missile defense activities throughout the past decade only because it had not formally set aside the ABM Treaty after the Soviet Union fell.5 Unfortunately, because of that policy blunder, the U.S. missile defense program is now lagging severely behind an expanding threat.6 Today, a missile attack could come from any number of countries or enemies and cause greater losses of life than the terrorist attacks on September 11.
- It perpetuates adversarial relations . Because it codified the Cold War notion of mutually assured destruction (MAD)--that the best way to ensure strategic stability was for both sides to remain defenseless against a nuclear missile strike--the treaty codified a relationship between the United States and the Soviet Union as perpetual enemies. But Russia is not the Soviet Union, and the threat of missile attack is no longer bilateral. It is multi-national and non-state. President Bush and President Putin are right to seek a new strategic framework to cooperate to counter the threat of ballistic missile attacks. 7
- It prohibits the government from defending U.S. territory against missile attacks . The first responsibility of government is to protect citizens from harm. President Bush has made clear that he wants to end the vulnerability of the American people to missile attack by constructing territorial defenses. Amending a treaty that prohibits missile defenses in order to allow only a limited missile defense is illogical. If both sides want to limit their missile defense programs in some way, they should negotiate a new treaty that defines the parameters of those limited defenses.
- Amending it would still restrict U.S. missile defense in the long run . Thus far, the Bush Administration has established only general guidelines for a missile defense program.8 It has not chosen the system architecture or clarified the elements of a development and testing program. It is impossible to craft narrow amendments to the ABM Treaty that could realistically accommodate all the missile defense activities the U.S. military may wish to undertake. Moreover, if the treaty is upheld as in force, such an effort would require the Russians to be engaged in the process; at each juncture in the testing, development, and deployment of a system that is inconsistent with the ABM Treaty, the United States would have to propose an amendment to the treaty. This would give Russia multiple vetoes over America's ability to defend its own people. No country should have that power over another.
- Russia, which is not a party to the treaty, cannot formally negotiate amendments to it .9 The Clinton Administration signed an agreement in September 1997 to make Russia and three other former Soviet republics parties to the treaty,10 but then failed to submit that agreement to the Senate for consent, a constitutional requirement before it can enter into force. The Clinton Administration rightly believed the Senate would reject it. Letting that 1997 agreement enter into force is illogical. Before it could deploy missile defenses, the United States would have to ask Russia and three other states for relief from a treaty it had just agreed to extend. Moreover, amending the treaty in the future could take months or years because more parties would have to agree to the proposed amendment.
- The U.S. Constitution bars even informal declarations to preserve the treaty while allowing limited near-term development and testing activities. The Department of Defense has determined that even the use of U.S. Navy radar to track long-range ballistic missiles during flight tests is not compatible with the ABM Treaty.11 The only way to change the treaty to accommodate such testing activity would be to amend it, making it subject to Senate consent. Entering into formal negotiations with Russia and amending the treaty to allow limited testing in the near term is unconstitutional because it would confer party status on Russia without Senate consent.
Faced with a growing threat of terrorists using weapons of mass destruction and the increasing proliferation of ballistic missiles, America must set aside the ABM Treaty. The Presidents of the United States and Russia should use the summit to establish cooperative measures that would enable the rapid deployment of missile defenses to protect their civilizations from that terror.
The effort to reduce strategic nuclear weapons will also be given serious consideration at the summit. Economic circumstances are forcing Russia to reduce the size of its nuclear arsenal, and political considerations make it eager to see the United States do so as well. Russia is recommending a reduction in force to 1,500 deployed warheads each, below the 2,000 to 2,500 level being considered as part of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty III (START III).
President Bush has indicated he is willing to reduce the U.S. strategic nuclear force to levels well below the more than 6,000 deployed warheads that each side has today. But before deciding on a specific number, he wants to complete the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).12 In the interim, negotiations on START III have stalled.
President Bush is right to be cautious and to first establish national security requirements for the size of the U.S. strategic nuclear force that would enable the United States to meet the evolving threats in a post-Cold War world. National security requirements--not arms control considerations or arbitrary demands for parity--should determine the size of America's strategic nuclear force. The Department of Defense must calculate how a higher quality nuclear force would allow for quantitative reductions.
- Russia reduces its nuclear arsenal to 1,500 or fewer deployed warheads;
- China's strategic nuclear arsenal does not exceed 100 deployed warheads;
- Potentially hostile Third World states do not deploy strategic nuclear forces that exceed a combined 50 deliverable warheads;
- The United States has a fully modernized, safe, reliable, and effective nuclear force and is allowed continued explosive testing to ensure the validity of that force; and
- The United States is allowed to deploy an effective missile defense system.
By making such a commitment in a unilateral statement rather than in a treaty document, President Bush would ensure the flexibility the Administration needs to adjust the size of the U.S. strategic forces in the future. Such a posture would allow a controlled transition to a smaller force over several years. President Bush should invite President Putin to issue a reciprocal unilateral statement regarding Russia's strategic nuclear force.
Together, their efforts to enable missile defenses and significantly reduce their nuclear forces should form the foundation of a new strategic framework for U.S.-Russia relations that allows both countries to better address their security requirements, including the increasing threat posed by terrorists.
the New Relations .
There is no question that the current war on terrorism will be discussed at the summit, and that President Bush will ask President Putin for additional assistance. Based on Putin's reactions to the terrorist attacks so far, it is likely that he would provide additional assistance.
Putin's decision to support the United States in the war on terrorism came swiftly following the attacks on September 11, surprising even some in his own government.13 It is significant in Putin's cooperation has given the United States an ability to wage the war against the Taliban regime and al-Qaeda terrorist network in Afghanistan from the north.
But his decision to side with the United States was not easy. Anti-American sentiments run deep among key Russian elites and institutions. Moreover, Russian experts warn that the U.S. presence in Central Asia could be problematic, regardless of whether the U.S. military stays after its core mission is complete.14 If the United States withdraws too early, they warn, Russia could be left alone to face the radical Islamic forces in that volatile region. If the U.S. military remains there for an extended period, Russia's influence in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) could diminish.
Putin also has encountered serious dissent among the General Staff and representatives of the military-industrial complex--traditionally the most anti-American groups. The reasons: (1) They still see the United States as a strategic competitor, and (2) they fear retribution from the Muslim and Arab world, including the loss of their Middle Eastern weapons markets.
Many in Russia's security establishment have a visceral distrust of Americans, largely a vestige of the Cold War. Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov's recommendation in the first days after the attacks typifies their "go slow" approach; he ruled out the introduction of U.S. troops on territory belonging to members of the CIS Collective Security Treaty.15 Putin overruled Ivanov on this within two days, then placed him in charge of Russia's war effort. As Gleb Pavlovsky, one of Putin's principal political advisers, explains, "The choice was: US in Uzbekistan--or Taliban in Tatarstan."16
Putin was key in getting Central Asian states to join the anti-terrorism effort. These states, members of the Collective Security Treaty, increasingly look to Russia for help in fighting the growth of radical Islamic fundamentalism in their region. They were slow to join the U.S.-led coalition against Osama bin Laden until the Kremlin provided clear direction that it supported their cooperation with the United States. Now, Russia and its Central Asian neighbors provide vital air corridors and bases for the U.S. military forces to access the region, to gather vital intelligence, and to train and supply the Northern Alliance, the Taliban's main opposition in Afghanistan. Uzbek- and Tajik-dominated opposition forces are based inside Afghanistan in areas bordering Tajikistan.
Russia has also shared intelligence on bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban. Its human intelligence networks in Afghanistan, which have been in place since the Soviet occupation (1979-1989) and developed with the Northern Alliance, are superior to those of the United States. The Russians also offer the coalition a broad pool of linguistic and area studies talent; there are many more people who speak Farsi, Dari, and Pahstu and who served in Afghanistan during the 1980s in Russia and Central Asia than in the United States. However, residual memories of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and systemic weakness of the Russian military limit how much Russia can do on the ground, which is why Putin has ruled out using Russian ground forces.
Russia was quick to back the effort in the U.N. Security Council to pass Security Council Resolutions 1368 and 137317 that authorize America's use of force in defense against the terrorists and demand that countries shut down any monetary flows that support the terrorist organizations.
Since the attacks, President Putin has toned down his opposition to NATO enlargement and has had several high-level contacts with NATO leaders. He has visited Brussels and met with Lord George Robertson, Secretary General of the alliance, who reciprocated by visiting Moscow.
Putin also toned down his opposition to Washington's plans to develop and deploy ballistic missile defenses. Privately, his allies in the Duma have indicated that if Russia and NATO develop an alliance, Russia would have fewer reasons to object to such steps.
As additional gestures of good will toward America, Moscow has shut down its naval base in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, and Russia's electronic intelligence gathering facility in Lourdes, Cuba--a particular irritant in U.S.-Russian relations. The Lourdes facility enabled Russia to listen to almost all unclassified traffic over the airwaves in the Eastern United States.18
Some of the reasons Putin and Russia have shown such support for the United States are presented in the sidebar. In the war on terrorism, President Bush should suggest that Russia and the United States increase intelligence sharing, military training and resupply of the Afghan resistance, efforts to build a consensus for a post-Taliban government, and measures to reduce the scourge of terrorism.
The Crawford summit is the first formal meeting between President Bush and President Putin since the war on terrorism began. The challenge will be to keep their eyes on the prize: defeating the terrorists, facilitating defenses against nuclear, chemical, biological, and radiological weapons, and building foundations for a long-term cooperative alliance. Putin appears willing, but Cold-War sentiments may make some of the elite in Russia hesitant.
Any agreement that the United States signs at the summit must not compromise national security interests, such as the need to deploy a ballistic missile defense, or its democratic values, such as support for political freedom. Even though the imperatives of warfighting take precedence over other concerns, outstanding issues between the Kremlin and the White House should be addressed constructively.
- Announce that he is setting aside the ABM Treaty . Regarding missile defense, the ideal outcome for this summit is for both presidents to agree to set aside the outmoded ABM Treaty. This should pave the way for a variety of cooperative measures between the United States and Russia in promoting missile defense to respond to the growing threat. Such cooperative measures should include transparency, shared assessments of the missile threat, sharing of early warning and technology, coordinated deployments of missile defense architecture, and non-proliferation. As a reliable partner in reducing global threats to security, the Administration should agree to notify Russia as soon as it reaches a step in the missile defense development and deployment process that would break the constraints of the old treaty.
If such an agreement or agreements are not forthcoming, President Bush should announce that the United States is unilaterally setting aside the ABM Treaty. In light of the attacks that showed terrorists will use any means to inflict devastating harm on America, the United States must be free to undertake a full array of missile defense development, testing, and deployment activities to defend Americans from the terror of missile attack.
- Issue a statement of further reductions in strategic nuclear forces . President Bush and President Putin do not need to reach a treaty agreement on reducing strategic nuclear forces. The two leaders can issue unilateral reciprocal statements. President Putin, for example, could renew an earlier pledge to reduce Russia's force of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,500. President Bush could respond by stating that the U.S. assessment of its strategic nuclear force requirements for the post-Cold War world will, under certain conditions, allow it to reduce its force of deployed warheads to levels below the 2,000 to 2,500 warheads envisioned for START III.
- Expand coordination with Russia in the war on terrorism and efforts to stabilize Afghanistan , including:
- Joint supply and training of anti-Taliban forces and anti-terrorism units ; recruiting ethnic Tajiks and Uzbeks from Central Asian states to help the Northern Alliance. To build up the Northern Alliance force, the United States could purchase surplus Soviet-era hardware from former Warsaw Pact members, Russia, and the countries of Eurasia. The Northern Alliance worked with Russian-made weapons in the fight against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s, and an infusion of such weapons would reduce the training cycle time until the Northern Alliance can be supplied with more sophisticated weaponry that would help it overthrow the Taliban.
- Joint refugee relief efforts and radio broadcasts into Afghanistan in Tajik, Uzbek, and Pashto. Russian land transportation infrastructure will be vital to the success of military resupply in Central Asia and to the refugee assistance efforts.
- Broadening the anti-terrorism war beyond Afghanistan . Russia will face difficult decisions if the war on terrorism expands to terrorist-supporting states like Iraq and Iran. For example, Iraq owes Russia $7 billion from the 1980s (valued at up to $15 billion today with compound interest). And Iraq has granted a license to the Russian oil company, Lukoil, to develop the West Qurna oil field, which reportedly is the largest in Iraq and one of the largest in the world. Moreover, before the war on terrorism began, Russia had assisted Iran's nuclear reactor and ballistic missile programs. It would be very difficult for Russia to participate in the anti-terror coalition if it were to continue bolstering Tehran's Islamic regime, which supports such terrorist organizations as the Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.19
- The nature of a future Afghan government. The United States and Russia need to balance the competing interests of the Northern Alliance and the Pushtun plurality. A meeting of tribal elders, the Loya Jirga--perhaps chaired by former king Zahir Shah--may need to be convened and a constitutional monarchy established. To be successful, it is imperative that all countries in the region, including Pakistan, India, Russia, and Central Asian states, can be heard regarding the future of Afghanistan, and that all neighbors cooperate in the future to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a source for terrorism and drug trafficking in the future. A consensus should be sought among the regional powers for establishing a federal government in Kabul with political powers devolved to strong ethnic-regional units.
- Encourage Russia's cooperation with NATO beyond the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program that Russia joined in 1994. Such a cooperation would require going beyond the summit, Foreign Ministerial, and Ambassadorial meetings of the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council (PJC), and may involve creating permanent staff to develop cooperation programs.20 Russia and NATO could work cooperatively on a plan for comprehensive military reform in Russia, such as training of officers and civilian experts in budgetary and legal controls over the military apparatus. The Russian military, largely an unreformed and wasteful vestige of the Soviet military, was incapable of achieving victory in Afghanistan and has suffered severe losses in Chechnya.
A multi-year military reform roadmap should use as a model the military reforms of new NATO members Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. This would include strengthening democratic civilian control of the armed forces, professionalization of the forces, and higher transparency in the military budget.
Russia's European neighbors would support the modernization effort if the Russian military were reformed along Western lines to make it more compatible with NATO members' forces. By developing closer political-military relationships with NATO members, Russia's own opposition to NATO enlargement would decrease.
President Bush should invite President Putin to address the NATO summit in Prague in November 2002. If the reforms go well, it may be possible for Russia to discuss joining the NATO Political Council down the road, as suggested by some senior Putin advisers and Russian politicians, such as Boris Nemtsov, leader of the Union of Right Forces.21
Western leaders, such as German Chancellor Schröder22 and the British Foreign Minister Jack Straw,23 have not ruled out Russia's membership in NATO. However, as Russia and the United States enter a phase of closer relations, both leaders should be fully aware that an alliance relationship will require a commitment to Article V of the NATO charter, which includes providing military forces for mutual defenses.
- Encourage Russia to resolve the conflict in Chechnya peacefully. Since the terrorist attacks, Putin has initiated a dialogue with the Chechen rebel leadership under President Aslan Maskhadov. The peaceful resolution of that conflict is important for regional stability, including Muslim autonomies in the Northern Caucasus and countries of the South Caucasus. Russia should be encouraged to pursue initiatives that lead to the capture of the extremists and broad autonomy for the Chechen republic within the Russian Federation.
cooperation on other mutually important issues ,
- Access to Russian energy supplies if
Middle East oil fields are threatened. President Bush should ask
President Putin to consider opening 200 new fields for exploration
under the Russian Production Sharing Agreement legislation. Russian
oil companies, such as Yukos, have stated that they are unlikely to
abide by OPEC guidelines regarding production and pricing.24 While Russia cannot fully
replace the Persian Gulf as a source of U.S. oil, opening
additional fields to Western investment would enable Russia to
significantly expand production in the near term and help to
stabilize the global oil market.
- Further integrating of the Russian
economy with the West , including membership in the World
Trade Organization. Putin declared that Russia would not require
any special deals from the WTO to become a member.25 Until recently, Russia had
been unwilling to decrease tariffs that protect domestic producers
and to open its economy further to competition, particularly in its
automotive, aircraft manufacturing, and agricultural sectors. Now,
under Putin, Russia has installed a flat tax system and has just
passed a land reform law that establishes the principle of private
property. President Bush, echoing the recent statement of Russian
Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, should support Russia's accession
to the WTO in 2004, provided negotiations in all sectors are
- "Graduating" Russia from the restrictions imposed by the Jackson-Vanik Amendment . The Jackson-Vanik Amendment, Title IV of the Trade Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-618), was enacted to pressure the Soviet Union to change its policy of severely limiting the emigration of Jews. Since then, it has become an instrument for assessing a country's observance of basic human rights and protection of minorities, including the unrestricted right of emigration; the incorporation of human rights standards (including freedom of religion) in constitutional and legal structures; and participation in bilateral and multilateral mechanisms related to religious freedom and basic human rights.26
The circumstances under which the amendment was passed no longer apply. Today, Russia allows free emigration and has thriving Jewish communities. Russian Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar even has asked President Bush to repeal the amendment.27 Any violations of human rights not part of the legislative intent of Jackson-Vanik at the time of the amendment's adoption should be addressed in other ways. Scrutiny of Russia's human rights situation will continue for the annual U.S. Department of State International Religious Freedom Report28 and the 2000 Country Human Rights Report.29 Congress could "graduate" Russia from the amendment's restrictions by attaching an amendment to trade legislation.
The Crawford summit will be as important to international security as the historic conferences between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev were to the end of the Cold War. This summit should open avenues to wartime cooperation against terrorism and Russia's integration into the West. The strategic realignment of Russia with the West may be a long and difficult process, but if successful, it would fundamentally change the geopolitical map of the 21st century, helping to distance Russia from China, Iran, and such radical Middle Eastern Soviet-era clients as Iraq, Syria, and Libya. And it is not without risks for Putin and his pro-Western supporters.
But most important, the strategic realignment offers the United States an opportunity to formally end its vulnerability to missile attack. For America and for Russia, the fruits of this summit should be agreements that make Americans--and, indeed, the world--safer for many years to come.
Dr. Ariel Cohen, is Research Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies, and Baker Spring is F. M. Kirby Research Fellow in National Security Policy, in the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies at The Heritage Foundation.
9. President William J. Clinton, "Report to Congress on the Memorandum of Understanding Relating to the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems of May 26, 1972," February 9, 1999.
10. U.S. Department of State, "Memorandum of Understanding Relating to the Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems of May 26, 1972," September 26, 1997.
13. This analysis is based on interviews conducted by Ariel Cohen in Moscow on September 24-October 2, which involved senior aides to Putin, heads of Duma factions, chairmen and deputy chairmen of Duma committees, and numerous foreign policy analysts. Hereinafter, referred to as "Russian Interviews."
18. "Rossia ukhodit s voennykh baz v Kamrani i Lurdese" (Russia is leaving military bases in Cam Ranh and Lourdes) Gazeta.ru., October 17, 2001, at http://www.games2000.ru/2001/10/17/na1003319340.shtml
25. "Putin obeshchayet zastavit' VTO uvazhat' interesy Rossii" ("Putin promises to force WTO respect Russia's interests") Gazeta.ru, October 30, 2001, at http://www.rambler.ru/db/news/msg.html?mid=2019035&s=10315