In 2002, the United States unilaterally and without consultation, withdrew from the landmark Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. President George W. Bush noted that the treaty is “now behind us,” describing the ABM Treaty as a Cold War relic. Signed in 1972, the ABM Treaty barred both the US and the USSR from deploying national defences against long-range ballistic missiles. The treaty was based on the premise that if either superpower constructed a strategic defence, the other would build up its offensive nuclear forces to offset the defence. The superpowers would therefore quickly be put on a path toward a never-ending offensive-defensive arms race, as each tried to balance its counterpart’s actions.
Until Bush Jr took office, the Treaty was referred to as a “cornerstone of strategic stability” because it facilitated later agreements, reducing U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals. The US, assuming that a weakened Russia will never again be in a position to counter US hegemonic power, proceeded to encroach on Russia’s borders through its manipulation of NATO objectives.
Today, there is no instrument in international law that prevents the possibility of mutually assured destruction. Putin has been sending out warnings for over 10 years – all of which fell on deaf ears. Last year – he appealed to international journalists at the St Petersburg Economic Forum – to deliver the message of imminent danger to their respective news outlets. “I don’t know how to get through to you anymore” – he said. The video is linked at the end of this video. Nevertheless, NATO continues to encroach on Russia’s doorstep, utilising wording such as “strategic defense” when it is in fact “offensive offense”, in light of all prior agreements.
At this year’s annual address to the Federal Assembly, Putin showcased a number of new Russian technologies, in the nuclear sphere, that have no analogues in the world. “Nobody was willing to listen to us then – but they should listen now.” – he said. Whether the Neocons hear him or not is a question that remains to be answered – but neither Russia nor the US have anything to gain from a nuclear standoff.