UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!

Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

18 July 2002

Rumsfeld Urges Senate to Consent to Moscow Treaty

(Says U.S., Russian relationship is being built on trust) (4890)
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called on the Senate to ratify
the Moscow Treaty negotiated with Russia by the Bush administration,
arguing that the nuclear arms reduction accord reflects a "fundamental
transformation in the U.S.-Russian relationship."
The treaty, signed May 24 by President Bush and Russian President
Vladimir Putin, provides for about a two-thirds reduction in
operationally deployed U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear warheads, to
between 1,700 and 2,200 weapons, over the next 10 years.
Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee July 17,
Rumsfeld noted the widespread criticism faced by the administration
when it first undertook steps in 2001 to change the U.S.-Russian
relationship, and the predictions made that the administration was
putting the two countries on a collision course. "None of these dire
predictions came to pass," Rumsfeld said. "To the contrary, the
U.S.-Russian relationship is stronger today than perhaps at any time
in the history of our two nations."
The secretary pointed to U.S. support for continuing NATO expansion
and U.S. withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty as two
examples of administration policies whose results have failed to
fulfill the predictions of the critics. "Far from launching a new arms
race," the two countries have agreed, in the Moscow Treaty, on
"historic reductions in their deployed offensive nuclear arsenals,"
Rumsfeld said.
What has changed, the secretary said, is the level of trust between
the two countries, as exemplified by the three-page length of the new
treaty, compared to the 700-page length of the 1991 START I treaty.
"The approach we have taken is to treat Russia not as an adversary,
but as a friendly power," he said.
"[W]e are working toward the day when the relationship between our two
countries is such that no arms control treaties will be necessary," he
said. "That is how normal countries deal with each other. The United
States and Britain both have nuclear weapons -- yet we do not spend
hundreds of hours negotiating the fine details of mutual reductions in
our offensive systems. We do not feel the need to preserve a balance
of terror between us. We want the same for our relationship with
Rumsfeld rejected as "flawed" a complaint that the new treaty does not
contain a requirement to destroy non-operational warheads. The
complaint, he said, is based on a "flawed premise -- that irreversible
reductions in nuclear weapons are possible. In point of fact, there is
no such thing as an irreversible reduction in nuclear weapons. The
knowledge of how to build nuclear weapons exists -- and there is no
possibility that knowledge will be lost. Every reduction is
reversible, given enough time and money."
In addition, he said, some decommissioned warheads need to be kept as
backups for those in the operational arsenal. Since there is no active
U.S. production line, "it would be simply mindless for us to destroy
all those warheads, and then not have them for backup in the event we
run into safety and reliability problems -- or a sudden, unexpected
change in the global security environment," he said.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will debate the treaty before
sending it to the full U.S. Senate for its advice and consent to
Following are abbreviations used in the text:
-- SALT: Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty;
-- START: Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty;
-- ABM: Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty;
-- INF: Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty;
-- ICBM: Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles.
Following is the text of Rumsfeld's remarks:
(begin text)
Prepared Testimony for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
regarding the Moscow Treaty
Prepared Testimony of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
Washington, DC
July 17, 2002
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee. 
When President Bush took office last year, he made clear his
determination to transform the Russian-American relationship -- to put
the hostility and distrust built up over so many decades behind us,
and set our two nations on a course toward greater cooperation.
Some naysayers insisted it could not be done. They looked at his
agenda -- his promise to withdraw from the ABM Treaty [1972
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty]; his commitment to build defenses to
protect the United States, its friends and allies from ballistic
missile attack; his determination to strengthen the NATO Alliance by
making new allies of old adversaries -- and predicted that the U.S.
and Russia were on a collision course.
Various commentators warned of an impending "deep chill" in
U.S.-Russian relations that would make it impossible to negotiate
further nuclear reductions with Russia. More than one foreign official
predicted that the President's approach would "re-launch the arms
race." The Washington Post cautioned that the President's strategy
risked "making the world less rather than more secure, and ...
increasing rather than assuaging tension among the United States, its
allies and potential adversaries such as Russia." The New York Times
warned his approach "may alienate the Kremlin and give rise to a
dangerous new arms race with Russia..."
What a difference a year makes.
None of these dire predictions came to pass. To the contrary, the
U.S.-Russian relationship is stronger today than perhaps at any time
in the history of our two nations.
Far from a clash over NATO expansion, we have cemented a new
NATO-Russia relationship that will permit increasing cooperation
between Russia and the members of the Atlantic Alliance.
Far from causing a "deep chill" in relations, the U.S. withdrawal from
the ABM Treaty was greeted in Russia with something approximating a
yawn. Indeed, President Putin declared the decision "does not pose a
threat" to Russia.
Far from launching a new arms race, the U.S. and Russia have both
decided to move toward historic reductions in their deployed offensive
nuclear arsenals -- reductions to be codified in the Moscow Treaty now
before the Committee. Indeed, President Putin chose to announce the
Russian reductions on the same day President Bush announced the U.S.
intention to withdraw from the ABM Treaty.
In little over a year, President Bush has defied the critics and set
in motion a fundamental transformation in U.S.-Russian relationship --
one that is designed to benefit the people of both our nations, and
indeed the entire world.
And the record shows that it is a transformation that began before the
terrible events of September 11th.
President Bush laid out his vision for a new relationship in a speech
at the National Defense University on May 1st of last year. When he
met President Putin for the first time a month later in Slovenia,
instead of the predicted fireworks, the two presidents emerged from
their discussions expressing confidence that our countries could put
past animosities behind them.
Not only had the meeting far exceeded his expectations, President
Putin declared, but he believed that "Russia and the United States are
not enemies, do not threaten each other, and could be fully good
allies." President Bush announced they had both agreed that the time
had come "to move beyond suspicion and towards straight talk; beyond
mutually assured destruction and toward mutually earned respect ... to
address the world as it is, not as it used to be."
And over the course of the past year, they put those words into
In the last 12 months, the Presidents of the United States and Russia
had more interaction, and forged more areas of cooperation, across a
broader range of political, economic and security issues, than at any
time in the history of our two nations.
Today, the United States and Russia are working together to develop
new avenues of trade and economic cooperation. We are working together
to fight terrorism, and deal with the new and emerging threats we will
both face in this dangerous new century. And we are working together
to reduce the number of deployed offensive nuclear weapons -- weapons
that are a legacy of the past, and which are no longer needed at a
time when Russia and the U.S. are basing our relations on friendship
and cooperation, not fear of mutual annihilation.
These are historic changes -- changes of a breadth and scale that few
imagined, and many openly doubted, could be achieved in so short a
period time.
Of course there is still a great deal of work ahead -- and challenges
to overcome. Our success is by no means assured. But we have an
opportunity to build a new relationship for our peoples -- a
relationship that can contribute to peace, stability, and prosperity
for generations of Russians and Americans. It is ours to grasp -- or
to let slip away. But let there be no doubt -- it will require a
change in our thinking -- thinking in the bureaucracy, in the
Congress, the press and in academic institutions. We have decades of
momentum going in the opposite direction. We need to recalibrate our
thinking and our approaches.
In both our countries, there are those who are still struggling with
the transition. Tolstoy said, "everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself." There is a reason for that.
Change is not easy -- none of us wakes up in the morning wanting to
Habits built up over many decades become ingrained, and are hard to
break. Here in the U.S., there are some who would have preferred to
see us continue the adversarial arms control negotiations of the
Soviet era -- where teams of lawyers drafted hundreds of pages of
treaty text, and each side worked to gain the upper hand, while
focusing on ways to preserve a balance of nuclear terror. This is an
approach that President Bush rejected, insisting instead that we deal
with Russia as we deal with all normal countries -- in a spirit of
friendship, trust and cooperation.
Similarly, in Russia today there are those who are stuck in the past
-- who look warily at American offers of greater friendship and
cooperation, preferring to keep us at arms length, while continuing to
associate with the old allies of the former Soviet Union --
dictatorial regimes characterized by political, religious and economic
repression -- the world's walking wounded.
And there are others in Russia who want to see her embrace the future
and take her rightful place in Europe -- through increased integration
with the Western industrialized democracies, and by embracing
political and economic freedom, and the prosperity, high standard of
living, domestic peace and thriving culture that are the product of
free societies. Sometimes these divergent impulses can be found in the
same people.
Both of our nations have a choice to make -- a choice between the past
and the future. Neither of us can make that choice for the other. But
each of us has an interest in the choice the other makes.
The question for us is: what can we, who choose the future, do to
support each other?
For those of us in the business of national defense, our task is an
important one: to clear away the debris of past hostility that has
been blocking our path into the 21st century.
Russia and the United States entered this new century saddled with two
legacies of the Cold War: the adversarial relationship to which we had
both grown accustomed, and the physical manifestation of that
adversarial relationship -- the massive arsenals of weapons we built
up to destroy each other.
In the past year, we have made progress in dealing with both.
Last November, at the Crawford Summit, President Bush announced his
intention to reduce the United States' operationally deployed
strategic nuclear warheads by some two-thirds -- to between 1,700 and
2,200 weapons. Soon after, President Putin made a similar commitment.
These reductions are a reflection of our new relationship. When
President Reagan spoke to the students at Moscow State University in
1988, he told them, "nations do not distrust each other because they
are armed; they are armed because they distrust each other." Clearly,
we do not distrust each other the way the U.S. and Soviet Union once
But what is remarkable is not simply the fact of these planned
reductions, but how they have happened. After a careful review,
President Bush simply announced his intention to cut our stocks of
operationally -- deployed nuclear warheads. President Putin did the
same. When they met in Moscow, they recorded these unilaterally
announced changes in a treaty that will survive their two presidencies
-- the Moscow Treaty which the Senate will now consider.
But it is significant that while we consulted closely, and engaged in
a process that has been open and transparent, we did not engage in
lengthy, adversarial negotiations in which the U.S. kept thousands of
weapons it did not need as a bargaining chip, and Russia did the same.
We did not establish standing negotiating teams in Geneva, with armies
of arms control aficionados ready to do battle over every colon and
If we had done so, we would still be negotiating today. Instead, we
are moving directly toward dramatic reductions in the ready nuclear
weapons of our two countries -- and clearing the way for a new
relationship between our countries based on increasing trust and
If you want an illustration of how far we have come in that regard,
[HOLDS UP START TREATY] This is the START I Treaty, signed in 1991 by
the first President Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev. It is
700 pages long, and took 9 years to negotiate.
[HOLDS UP MOSCOW TREATY]. This is the Moscow Treaty, concluded this
summer by President Bush and President Putin. It is three pages long,
and took 6 months to negotiate.
This is how much we trusted each other in 1991. [HOLDS UP START
This is how much we trust each other today [HOLDS UP MOSCOW TREATY].
And, Mr. Chairman, we are working toward the day when the relationship
between our two countries is such that no arms control treaties will
be necessary.
That is how normal countries deal with each other. The United States
and Britain both have nuclear weapons -- yet we do not spend hundreds
of hours negotiating the fine details of mutual reductions in our
offensive systems. We do not feel the need to preserve a balance of
terror between us.
We want the same for our relationship with Russia. 
There are those who do not see the difference in the size of these
treaties as a sign of progress. To the contrary, they would have
preferred a voluminous, legalistic arms control agreement, with
hundreds of pages of carefully crafted provisions and intrusive
verification measures.
These critics operate from a flawed premise: that, absent such an
agreement, our two countries would both try to break out of the
constraints of this treaty and increase our deployed nuclear forces.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
During the Cold War, the stated rationale for arms control was to
constrain an arms race. But the idea of an arms race between the
United States and Russia today is ludicrous. The relationship between
our two countries today is such that U.S. determined -- unilaterally
-- that deep reductions in our deployed nuclear forces are in the U.S.
We would have made these cuts regardless of what Russia did with its
arsenal. We are making them not because we signed a treaty in Moscow,
but because the fundamental transformation in our relationship with
Russia means we do not need so many deployed weapons. Russia has made
a similar calculation. The agreement we reached in Moscow is the
result of those determinations -- not the cause of them.
That is also why we saw no need for including detailed verification
measures in the treaty. First, there simply isn't any way on earth to
verify what Russia is doing with all those warheads. Second, we don't
need to. Neither side has an interest in evading the terms of the
treaty, since it simply codifies unilaterally announced reductions --
and gives both sides broad flexibility in implementing them.
Third, we saw no benefit in creating a new forum for bitter debates
over compliance and enforcement. Today, the last place in the world
where U.S. and Russian officials still sit across a table arguing with
each other is in Geneva. Our goal is to move beyond that kind of Cold
War animosity -- not to find new ways to extend it into the 21st
Similarly flawed is the complaint that, because the Moscow Treaty does
not contain a requirement to destroy warheads removed from missiles or
bombers, the cuts are reversible and therefore not "real." Put aside
for a moment the fact that no previous arms control treaty -- not
SALT, START or INF -- has required the destruction of warheads, and no
one offered objections to them on that basis. This charge is based on
a flawed premise -- that irreversible reductions in nuclear weapons
are possible. In point of fact, there is no such thing as an
irreversible reduction in nuclear weapons. The knowledge of how to
build nuclear weapons exists -- and there is no possibility that
knowledge will be lost. Every reduction is reversible, given enough
time and money.
Indeed, when it comes to building nuclear weapons, Russia has a
distinct advantage over the U.S. Today, Russia can and does produce
both nuclear weapons and strategic nuclear delivery vehicles -- they
have open warm production lines. The U.S. does not produce either
ICBMs or nuclear warheads. It has been a decade since we produced a
new nuclear weapon -- and it would likely take us the better part of a
decade to begin producing them again. In the time it would take us to
re-deploy decommissioned nuclear warheads, Russia could easily produce
a larger number of new ones.
But the question is: why would we want to do so? Barring some
unforeseen and dramatic change in the global security environment --
like the sudden emergence of a hostile peer competitor on par with the
old Soviet Union -- there is no reason why we would re-deploy the
warheads we are reducing.
The reason to keep, rather than destroy, some of those decommissioned
warheads is to have them available in the event of a problem with
safety and reliability of our arsenal. Since we do not have a warm
production line, it would be simply mindless for us to destroy all
those warheads, and then not have them for back up in the event we run
into safety and reliability problems -- or a sudden, unexpected change
in the global security environment. Russia, by contrast, has less need
to maintain a reserve of warheads, since it has an active production
Mr. Chairman, if we had pursued the path of traditional arms control,
as some suggested, we would not be proceeding with the reductions
outlined in the treaty before you. Rather, we would still be at the
negotiating table, arguing over how to reconcile these and other
asymmetries between Russia and the United States.
-- We would have had to balance Russia's active production capacity
against the United States' lack of one.
-- Russia might have insisted that any agreement take into account the
size of the U.S. economy and our ability to mobilize resources quickly
to develop new production facilities.
-- We might have argued that Russia's proximity to rogue nations
allows them to deter these regimes with tactical systems, whereas,
because they are many thousands of miles away from us, the United
States' distance from them requires more intercontinental delivery
systems than Russia needs.
-- This could have resulted in a mind-numbing debate over how many
non-strategic systems should equal an intercontinental system, or
opened the door to a discussion of whether an agreement should include
all nuclear warheads -- including tactical warheads.
-- Russian negotiators might have countered that the U.S. advantage in
advanced, high-tech conventional weapons must be taken into account.
And so on and so forth, ad infinitum. 
But the point is this: We don't need to "reconcile" all these
asymmetries -- because neither Russia nor the U.S. has an interest in
taking advantage of the other by increasing its respective deployed
nuclear forces.
The approach we have taken is to treat Russia not as an adversary, but
as a friendly power. In so doing, we have been able to preserve the
benefits attributed to arms control -- the dialogue, consultations,
lower force levels, predictability, stability, and transparency. But
we have done so without all the drawbacks: the protracted
negotiations; the withholding of bargaining chips; the legalistic and
adversarial process that, more often than not, becomes a source of
bitterness between the participants; and the extended, embittered
debates over compliance and enforcement of agreements.
The U.S. and Russia are moving beyond all that. We are working to put
that kind of acrimony and hostility behind us -- and the adversarial
process that was both a cause and effect of that hostility.
Because Russia and the United States are no longer adversaries, our
interests have changed. As enemies, we had an interest in each other's
failure; as friends we have an interest in each other's success. As
enemies we had an interest in keeping each other off balance; as
friends we have an interest in promoting stability.
When Russia and the U.S. were adversaries, our principal focus was
trying to maintain and freeze into place the balance of nuclear
terror. With the recently completed Nuclear Posture Review, the United
States has declared that we are not interested in preserving a balance
of terror with Russia. Today, the threats we both face are no longer
from each other -- they come from new sources. And as our adversaries
change, our deterrence calculus must change as well.
That is why we are working to transform our nuclear posture from one
aimed at deterring a Soviet Union that no longer exists, to one
designed to deter new adversaries -- adversaries who may not be
discouraged from attacking us by the threat of U.S. nuclear
retaliation, just as the terrorists who struck us on September 11th
were not deterred by the United States' massive nuclear arsenal.
With the Nuclear Posture Review, President Bush is taking a new
approach to strategic deterrence -- one that combines deep reductions
in offensive nuclear forces, with new conventional offensive and
defensive systems more appropriate for deterring the potential
adversaries we face.
Taken together, this "New Triad" of offensive nuclear forces, advanced
conventional capabilities, and a range of new defenses (ballistic
missile defense, cruise missile defense, space defense, cyber defense)
supported by a revitalized defense infrastructure, are all part of a
new approach to deterrence and defense -- an approach designed to
increase our security, while reducing our reliance on nuclear weapons.
Some have asked why, in the post-Cold War world, we need to maintain
as many as 1,700-2,200 operationally-deployed warheads? The end of the
Soviet threat does not mean we no longer need nuclear weapons. To the
contrary, the U.S. nuclear arsenal remains an important part of our
deterrence strategy, and helps us to dissuade the emergence of
potential or would-be peer competitors, by underscoring the futility
of trying to reach parity with us.
Indeed, Mr. Chairman, our decision to proceed with reductions as deep
as the ones outlined in the Moscow Treaty is premised on decisions to
invest in a number of other critical areas, such as intelligence,
ballistic and cruise missile defense, and a variety of conventional
weapons programs funded in our 2003 budget request. I urge the Senate
to approve the 2003 defense budget as soon as possible.
Others have asked why there is no reduction schedule in the treaty?
The answer, quite simply, is flexibility. Our approach in the Nuclear
Posture Review was to recognize that we are entering a period of
surprise and uncertainty, when the sudden emergence of unexpected
threats will be increasingly common feature of our security
environment. We were surprised on September 11th -- and let there be
no doubt, we will be surprised again.
Our intelligence has repeatedly underestimated the capabilities of
different countries of concern to us. We have historically have had
gaps in our knowledge of 2, 6, 8, and in at least one case 12 or 13
years. Indeed, the only surprise is that so many among us are still
surprised. This is problem is more acute in an age when the spread of
weapons of mass destruction into the hands of terrorist states -- and
potentially terrorist networks -- means that our margin of error is
significantly less than it has been. The cost of a mistake could be
not thousands, but tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of
Because of that smaller margin for error, and the uncertainty of the
future security environment, the U.S. will need flexibility. Through
the Nuclear Posture Review, we determined the force levels and the
flexibility we will need to deal with that new world-and then
negotiated a treaty that allows both deep reduction in offensive
weapons and the flexibility to respond to sudden changes in the
strategic environment.
We are working develop the right mix of offensive and defensive
capabilities. If we do so, we believe the result will be that nations
are less likely to acquire or use nuclear weapons.
None of these changes is in any way a threat to Russia. Far from it,
this new approach to deterrence will help us to better contribute to
peace and stability, and address the new threats and challenges the
United States and Russia will face in the 21st century.
In many ways, Russia now faces the most benign security environment it
has enjoyed in more than 700 years. From the 13th century up till the
dawn of the 16th century, Russia was subjected to Mongol rule; in the
17th century she was invaded by Poland; in the 18th century by Sweden;
in the 19th century by France; and in the 20th century by Germany.
Today, for the first time in modern history, Russia is not faced with
a foreign invader with its eye set on Moscow.
In the 21st century, Russia and the United States both face new and
different security challenges-the threats of terrorism and
fundamentalism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction to rogue
states. The difference is that these are threats our two nations have
in common -- threats that we can face together.
This means that we have entered a period when cooperation between our
two countries will be increasingly important to the security and
prosperity of both our peoples. We can work together to stop the
spread of weapons of mass destruction into the hands of terrorist
movements and terrorist states. We can work together to support
Russia's economic transformation and deeper integration into the
Euro-Atlantic community -- because a prosperous Russia will not face
the same pressures to sell rogue states the tools of mass destruction.
And we can work together to help Russia's transformation into a
stable, free-market democracy.
If one were to look down from Mars on Earth, one would see that the
world divides pretty neatly into countries that are doing well and
countries that are not doing well -- and the countries that are doing
well are the ones that have free political systems, free economic
systems, rule of law, transparency and predictability, and are
integrated into the world economy. These are the nations where there
is growth and opportunity.
If Russia hopes to attract foreign capital, or retain her most gifted
citizens, she must provide them with a climate of economic opportunity
and political freedom -- a climate that is the critical foundation on
which prosperity, cultural creativity and national greatness are
We in the United States can encourage Russia -- by working together to
put the past behind us, establish bonds of friendship between our
peoples. But, in the end, the choice, and the struggle, belong to the
Russian people.
This treaty is by no means the foundation of that new relationship. It
is just one element of a growing, multifaceted relationship between
our two countries that involves not just security, but also increasing
political, economic, diplomatic, cultural and other forms of
These reductions in the nuclear arsenals of our two countries are an
important step in that process. The reductions characterized in the
Moscow Treaty will help eliminate the debris of past hostility that
has been blocking our way as we build a new relationship. The Treaty
President Bush has fashioned -- and the process by which he fashioned
it -- are a model for future cooperation between our two countries. We
have achieved deep reductions, and enhanced the security of both our
countries, without perpetuating a Cold War ways of thinking that
hinder our desire for better relations.
I urge the Senate to advise and consent to this treaty, and to approve
a clean resolution of ratification.
I'd be pleased to answer your questions. Any questions that cannot be
fully answered here, we will be pleased to answer in classified
session, or as questions for the record.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list