Tag Archives: Start 2

„No one knows how the power structure will ultimately shift in the Middle East“ – interview with Steve LeVine

– Usually (especially after the success of „Putin’s Labyrinth“ book) people tend to associate your name to Russia. However, your experience as correspondent in the Central Asia and Middle East, makes me to focus the discussion on the events in Egypt and Arab world. For Egyptians still is a moment of euphoria. But political analysts are reticent. What would be the major concerns and challenges for world powers and zonal actors? And what should worry Egyptian people?

Steve LeVine

– Analysts are reticent because no one knows what type of governmental system will result from the uprising, and how Egypt will interact with its nei­g­hbors. So that generates a whole series of questions for which unfortu­na­tely there are no answers, and very few clues. They include: Will the Army organize elections that end up reflec­ting the true will of voters, or will they reflect the leadership that its generals believe is „best“ for Egypt, regardless of their popularity? Whatever govern­ment is formed, how will it manage to satisfy the much-raised expectations of the Egyptian people? On foreign mat­ters, will Egypt continue to be a proactive intermediary in Middle East conflicts? Specifically regarding its respective relationships with Israel and the Palestinians – will it continue to be an honest broker between these antagonist parts?
– Most journalists are asking: Who’s next? There will be a domino effect throughout the Arab world? Sure, perhaps with not the same speed of propagation …
– I think it gets more difficult from here. After Egypt, the remaining despots of the region know that Tunisia was not a one-off event – they are all potentially in danger. Mubarak seems not to have thought he was vulnerable. Now they all know they are, and they are preparing. Yet none of that shifts the reality, which is that popular change really has happened in the Arab world. As I write this, the grip of the leaders of Bahrain and Yemen is in jeopardy. The situation in Libya is quite different.
– How interpret in this context the statement of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israeli army is prepared for anything, depending on how events will unfold in next time? What option has Israel at this point?
– The events in Egypt potentially shake up geopolitics and security for Israel. The Palestinians could arise in a far more aggressive way, with the help of allies in Lebanon and elsewhere, for example. Israel no doubt has its lines of communication open with the Egyptian Army for this very reason. It wants Egypt to continue serving as a mediator with the Palestinians.
– Behind the media uproar of unrest in North Africa, at the Munich Security Conference was put the last piece of the new treaty START 2. Fairly quietly, I would say, given that was a top priority for both presidents – Obama and Medvedev. So, beyond the official rhetoric, there will be a real change in approach to global nuclear programs for military purposes?
– If what you mean is whether the key nuclear states – Russia and the United States – are going to do away with their nuclear arsenals, the answer is No. The first reason is that, even if they do, so many other countries have capability and are gaining it that it would be fruitless. Another reason is that it is a perceived fount of power in both countries that neither will surren­der. (Full text)

Romanian language version – can be read here

Published in Cadran Politic Review, April 2011

The U.S. Senate ratified the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START 2)

Because has been a good leader, Santa Claus brought President Obama so coveted favorable vote to ratify the Start 2 treaty. The US Senate on Wednesday ratified an arms control treaty with Russia that reins in the nuclear weapons that could plunge the world into doomsday, giving President Barack Obama a major foreign policy win in Congress’ waning hours.

“The final vote came after Senate Democrats accepted two amendments designed to placate Republicans who had qualms about the treaty. The amendments, which passed on voice votes with bipartisan support, emphasized the administration’s commitment to a limited missile-defense program and to continued funding to modernize the aging U.S. nuclear weapons complex” said Whasington Post. The accord, which still must be approved by Russia, would restart onsite weapons inspections as successors to President Ronald Reagan have embraced his edict of “trust, but verify”.  According Ria Novosti, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow welcomed the vote but still needed to study the accompanying Senate resolution.

The New START treaty, signed by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April, would limit each country’s strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, down from the current ceiling of 2,200. It also would establish a system for monitoring and verification. U.S. weapons inspections ended last year with the expiration of a 1991 treaty.

Update: 23 December 2010

The Russian President was pleased to learn that the United States Senate has ratified the START Treaty and expressed hope that the State Duma and the Federation Council will be ready to consider this issue shortly and to ratify the document, according presidential web site. Medvedev’s spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said that when he signed the New START treaty with President Barack Obama, they agreed that the ratification process should be conducted simultaneously. But Russian lawmakers need more time to examine a U.S. resolution ratifying the START nuclear arms reduction treaty before approving it, a senior MP said on Thursday, crushing hopes for a swift ratification in 2010, said Reuters. Konstantin Kosacev noticed that: “The ratification resolution as it was voted for by the U.S. Senate contains a large number of interpretations which require study and response from the Russian lawmakers”. Kosachev said the treaty will be debated in the State Duma lower house of parliament in the first reading on December24 at the last plenary session this year but then the MPs will go on their New Year holiday to re-convene after January10.

Obama’s Remarks on the Arms Control Treaty

US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev have finalized a new deal to cut long-range nuclear arms.

After months of negotiations, Start 2 Treaty will be signed on  April 8, 2010 in Prague. The new pact  replaces the landmark 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expired in December last year. Reaction around the world was largely positive. In Brussels, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the new nuclear arms reduction deal would not only “contribute to a safer world, it will also give impetus to cooperation with Russia in other fields”. Notice that a Nuclear Security Summit will host in Washington on April 12-14.

Following is a excerpt of the remarks made on Friday by President Obama; Hillary Rodham Clinton, the secretary of state; Robert Gates, the defense secretary; and Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; in which details of a new arms control treaty with Russia were announced, as released by the White House:

THE PRESIDENT: Good morning, everybody. I just concluded a productive phone call with President Medvedev. And I’m pleased to announce that after a year of intense negotiations, the United States and Russia have agreed to the most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly two decades.

Since taking office, one of my highest priorities has been addressing the threat posed by nuclear weapons to the American people. And that’s why, last April in Prague, I stated America’s intention to pursue the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons, a goal that’s been embraced by Presidents like John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. [Full transcript]