(Washington, D.C.): U.S. officials are dismissing comparisons of this weekend’s Kennebunkport meeting between Presidents George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin to past Cold War summits. But the two leaders will be wrestling with issues that linger from that era: missile defenses, nuclear arms, and conventional weapons in Europe. For current information and additional background on these issues, please visit the links below from the independent Arms Control Association (ACA):
Missile Defenses: Russian leaders have bristled at a U.S. plan to base anti-missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. They assert that such weapons are not aimed at an emerging Iranian missile threat as claimed, but at Russia. Putin proposed earlier this month that the two sides employ a radar in Azerbaijan to assess whether Iran poses a real threat. Only after reaching a mutual agreement on a potential Iranian long-range ballistic missile threat, which Moscow estimates is at least 15 to 20 years off, should the two countries discuss possible responses, according to the Kremlin. U.S. officials maintain they will proceed with the original U.S. plan. For more information on the U.S.-Russian missile defense row, see <http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_07-08/europeantimissile.asp>. Current information on U.S. missile defense programs can be accessed at <http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_06/MissileDefense.asp>.
Nuclear Arms: Excessive U.S. and Russian nuclear forces continue to drive defense planning and distrust on both sides. Meanwhile, the landmark 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) is scheduled to expire Dec. 5, 2009. Russia wants another nuclear reductions treaty to succeed START, but the Bush administration opposes that approach. The following articles detail current U.S. and Russian nuclear talks:<http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_05/PostSTART.asp> and<http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_07-08/europeantimissile.asp#Sidebar1>. Nuclear force data for both countries is available at < http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/usstrat.asp> and <http://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/sovforces.asp>.
Conventional Arms: Russia is warning that it might suspend implementation of the 1990 Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty, which caps that amount of tanks and other weaponry deployed in Europe. Moscow is frustrated that NATO members refuse to ratify a 1999 revision of the accord because Russian military forces remain in Georgia and Moldova. Information on the CFE Treaty dispute is available at <http://www.armscontrol.org/subject/ct/>, and a full description of the Adapted CFE Treaty is at < http://www.armscontrol.org/act/1999_11/wbno99.asp>.
ACA is urging Bush and Putin to defuse tensions by maintaining existing arms control agreements, pursuing deeper and verifiable nuclear arms reductions, and deferring deployment of unproven anti-missile systems. A recent ACA event with Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher and other arms experts explored these possible steps. A transcript is available at <http://www.armscontrol.org/events/20070611_USRussiaTranscript.asp>. ACA Executive Director Daryl G. Kimball also has provided recommendations on reducing U.S. and Russian nuclear forces, <http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_06/focus.asp>, and avoiding a larger clash over missile defenses, <http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2007_07-08/focus.asp>.