Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson
#26 - JRL 2008-233 - JRL Home
Russia's withdrawal from treaty on medium, shorter range missiles will benefit NATO - expert

MOSCOW. Dec 25 (Interfax) - Moscow's potential withdrawal from the Russian-U.S. Treaty on Intermediate and Shorter Range Missiles in response to the potential deployment of U.S. anti-missile defense elements in Europe will not benefit Russia, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexei Arbatov said at the presentation of a book entitled "Nuclear Proliferation: New Technologies, Arms and Treaties" in the Moscow Carnegie Center.

He warned about the economic consequences of this move.

"The budget is limited. If we pull out of the INF treaty and start making medium and shorter range missiles, we will have to cut expenses in other spheres, probably strategic weapons or housing for the military," Arbatov said, adding that he didn't know which items of the defense budget could possible be sequestered without detriment to national security.

"We will lose more than we will gain," Arbatov said.

This is not just about the budget but also about security, the scientist remarked.

"Quite obviously, there are circles in the West, NATO, Europe and the United States, which would welcome this scenario because this would untie their hands," he said.

In Arbatov's opinion, this move would mean that NATO member-states, especially European allies, would unite in the face of a potential Russian missile threat.

In addition, the United States might retaliate for Russia's withdrawal from the treaty by redeploying their medium and shorter range missiles in Europe.

"It will have an excuse for returning Pershings, ground-based cruise missiles, and perhaps the latest, more sophisticated systems to Europe," he said.

These missiles might reappear not in Germany, Italy or Britain, where they were deployed in the 1980s, but for example in Baltic countries, Poland or "maybe even in Georgia", Arbatov said.