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Bolton says ‘flawed’ New START treaty with Russia unlikely to last past 2021

Bolton says ‘flawed’ New START treaty with Russia unlikely to last past 2021
Having dismantled two of the three pillars of nuclear non-proliferation, the US now apparently wants to let the last one crumble as well. National Security Advisor John Bolton has said the New START is unlikely to be extended.

Bolton, a notoriously hawkish Trump adviser, was addressing the Young America’s Foundation 41st annual National Conservative Student Conference on Tuesday, when he unleashed his scathing criticism on the New START struck under the Obama administration.

Calling the landmark agreement “flawed from the beginning,” Bolton said that the deal failed to cover short-range tactical nuclear weapons and “Russian delivery systems,” without referring to any military hardware in particular.

Also on rt.com Russia to support any agreement, including with China, if it contains arms race – Putin

The New START came into force in 2011 and gave the parties seven years to comply with weapons reduction targets. The deal was aimed at slashing the nuclear arsenals by a third and limiting each side to no more than 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and strategic bombers, no more than 1,550 deployed warheads, and 800 deployed and non-deployed launchers.

Earlier this year, Russian and US officials held a series of consultations regarding the fate of the treaty, which expires in two years. Until now, Washington has not given a definitive yes or no, with Bolton saying in November that the White House had not formed its position yet.

It still hasn't, Bolton reiterated on Tuesday, but New START is “unlikely to be extended.”

Why extend the flawed system just to say you have a treaty?

Bolton hinted that the US would still like to ink an arms reduction agreement with Russia, but on other, unspecified terms: “We need to focus on something better and we will.”

In an interview to C-Span on Tuesday, US President Donald Trump spoke along the same lines, saying he believes that a new arms reduction deal with Russia is possible, while at the same time lamenting that both nations keep stockpiling weapons they do not need with China at their heels.

I think we are going to end up making a deal with Russia where we have some kind of arms control because all we are doing is adding on to what we don't need and they are too. And China is trying to catch us both.

After former President George W. Bush unilaterally withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty) in 2002 and Trump pulled the US out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the New START became the last thing holding up the nuclear non-proliferation system of the post-Cold War era. The 1987 INF treaty outlawed the development, production, and deployment of land-based and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500km. Justifying its withdrawal, the US accused Moscow of violating the accord, which it vehemently denied. Russia instead pointed to the US military build-up and its anti-missile defense systems which can be used to fire intermediate-range nuclear missiles, popping up in Romania and Poland.

Also on rt.com If we are in arms race, US started it by pulling out of ABM treaty – Putin

The Trump administration has been actively expanding the US nuclear arsenal in line with his updated nuclear posture. Last month, a Pentagon document appeared to suggest that the US deems a potentially devastating nuclear war a winnable operation.

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