MOSCOW (Realist English). Moscow’s decision to suspend the implementation of START-3 (in terms of ensuring the inspection regime) has generated a new wave of “nuclear” hysteria in the Russian expert community. This was stated by the leading expert of the Center for Current Policy Viktor Olevich.
“Some propose to withdraw completely from START-3, others — to lift the moratorium on nuclear tests, others – to withdraw from the NPT and transfer nuclear weapons (or help create) to the opponents of the United States. All this is presented as elements of a kind of blackmail designed to bring Americans to reason and force them to abandon support for the Ukraine.
The only problem is that none of these proposals will lead to the desired outcome. Let’s consider each suggestion separately.
1. START-3, concluded in 2010 and extended in 2021 (until 2026) is beneficial to Moscow. The limit of 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads keeps Russia and the United States from conducting a new nuclear arms race. A race that, in the event of a full-fledged exit from the START, will place a much heavier burden on the stagnating Russian economy than on the American one. The USSR has already produced tens of thousands of nuclear warheads – it did not help to win the Cold War.
2. Russia’s withdrawal from the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (so far, Putin has only said that Moscow will step up to the tests if the other side conducts them first, but the hint is obvious) will lead to the withdrawal of other nuclear powers from the Treaty. A new era of (underground, underwater or atmospheric) nuclear testing will begin. The West will not be forced to abandon Kiev’s support in this way.
3. Withdrawal from the NPT and the transfer of nuclear weapons to adversaries of the US or assistance in their production will most likely lead to the transfer of nuclear weapons by the Americans to the Ukraine,” Olevich explained.
According to the expert, the issue is that “Russia has no more trump cards in the nuclear deck than in the conventional one”:
“A nuclear strike on NATO members will automatically lead to a similar NATO response. The use of nuclear weapons against the Ukraine will lead to the full-scale isolation of Russia in the international arena (non-Western world). Washington understands this well, so they perceive Moscow’s nuclear rhetoric as a bluff, and what is perceived as a bluff can only harm Russia’s interests, and not help in solving the tasks set.”