The presidents of Russia and the U.S. have been having a discussion in each other’s absence. Vladimir Putin responded to a statement Barack Obama had made at the conference on nuclear security held recently in Washington and before that in a column in the pages of The Washington Post. In the column, the American president — as those interested in nuclear issues will recall — urged the international community to ensure that all countries including the U.S. ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.
In turn, in a statement published recently on the Kremlin’s website, Putin pointed out that this year marks the 20th anniversary since the beginning of the signing of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. He also noted with concern that the CTBT has still not gone into effect because it still has not been ratified by all eight states that possess nuclear weapons.
Let me remind you that Russia, France and the U.K. have ratified the treaty, while the U.S., China, India, Pakistan and North Korea haven’t. “These states’ unwillingness to become full participants in the treaty is a cause of serious regret, particularly considering the fact that some of them lay claim to leadership and practically to a special authority in deciding matters of global security,” our country’s president emphasized. “We once again call on their leaders to demonstrate real political will and accede to the CTBT as soon as possible.”
The head of our state did not name the countries that still have not ratified the CTBT, but many know that first among their ranks was and remains the U.S., whose president even urged – from lofty platforms and newspaper pages – his own country and others to ratify the much talked-about agreement.
Here arises a simple and obvious question: what prevents Washington from being an example and ratifying the long-suffering treaty?
The U.S. administration cannot or has not wanted to push it through Congress and the Senate since as far back as 2007.
Glancing back at Washington, China, India and Pakistan also have not ratified the treaty. North Korea has withdrawn its signature from the agreement altogether because it believes conducting such tests and creating nuclear weapons is its only and most reliable guarantee against U.S. aggression.
Pyongyang remembers well: Iraq and Saddam Hussein, Libya and Moammar Gadhafi, and Syria and Bashar Assad all lacked and lack nuclear weapons, and it is not necessary to tell anyone what was done and what’s being done with them today. Furthermore, there has been no response from the U.S. capital to Pyongyang’s call for Washington to sign a non-aggression treaty with North Korea.
Therefore, Obama’s appeal to countries that have not ratified the CTBT remains a particularly unsubstantiated propaganda slogan. That is to say, empty words. And thoroughly hypocritical ones at that.
Why doesn’t the U.S. want to ratify the CTBT?
There are several reasons, in my opinion. It’s not just that, as some experts believe, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty was never a priority for Nobel Peace Prize laureate Obama over the course of his two terms atop the high and mighty American Olympus.
It’s not even that, as nuclear physicists claim, “No computer simulation and prediction created on its basis can replace an actual nuclear test and give an absolute guarantee of the military viability of nuclear warheads in a military formation.” This is far from the case, and the experience of Russian specialists who conduct just such computer tests proves the opposite.
One of the main reasons that Washington does not ratify the CTBT, in my opinion, is that despite the widely publicized “Global Zero” movement and despite the highly temperamental promise Obama made at the start of his presidential term to rid the world of nuclear weapons, the U.S. did not intend and does not intend to renounce nuclear weapons or their modernization.
The U.S. is planning to replace its entire strategic nuclear arsenal over 10 years — from 2020 to 2030 — and has earmarked more than a trillion dollars for this purpose. Compare: in ten years — from 2010 to 2020 — Russia is spending a total of 20 trillion rubles (about $350 billion) on defense procurement.
The U.S. is spending, on missiles and warheads alone, a trillion “greenbacks.”
At the same time, the U.S. does not hide the fact that it is upgrading its B-61 tactical nuclear weapons to the level of the B-61-12, 200 of which are deployed in Europe in Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Turkey. Fighter jets capable of carrying these bombs to a target — the F-15, F-16, and Tornado — are on combat alert at the Zokniai Air Base near Siauliai, Lithuania and the Amari Air Base near Tallinn, Estonia. If someone wanted to, it would be easy to calculate how many minutes it would take these supersonic jets to fly to Russian cities like Smolensk or Saint Petersburg.
There is also another reason why the U.S. will never renounce nuclear weapons or ratify the CTBT.
Washington is well aware that it is impossible to defeat such huge countries as China or Russia using conventional weapons, even the most high-precision conventional weapons. Only nuclear deterrence with the weakening of these countries’ military and economic potential could create a decisive military advantage for the U.S. and a platform for putting politico-military and diplomatic pressure on the opponents. Hence the sanctions regime, hence the idea of a further reduction of nuclear arsenals…
Yet at the same time, the U.S. reserves various legal and propaganda loopholes for itself so as not to comply with the agreements it has signed and to justify its non-compliance.
It acts according to the principle, Quod licet Jovi, non licet bovi. You know the translation: “Gods may do what cattle may not.”
Russia does not accept being treated according to this principle.