File Under “Talk Is Cheap”: Medvedev Salutes The Global Zeros

Posted: June 23, 2011 in Songs of Space and Nuclear War
Tags: , , ,

missiles missiles everywhereFrom the glorious Global Security Newswire:

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday offered his support to an international movement to eliminate all nuclear weapons and said he wants to see more nations join in arms control efforts with Russia and the United States (see GSN, Feb. 5, 2010).

The challenge here is not that more nations are needed to join in; the challenge is that other nations possessing nuclear weapons are needed to take action to denuclearize.  And the lesson is, of course, watch what leaders do and not what they say.  Russia, for example, is already under the New START limits.   How are they moving to denuclearize the world when they aren’t denuclearizing?  The obvious answer: they aren’t.

The Russian principle here is reminiscent of Julia Ioffe’s article Empty Words at Foreign Policy.  Ioffe kicks things off with a review of Medvedev’s well-received speech at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and then goes on to offer that Medvedev and other Russian leaders provide the same sort of wise, well-received, and unarguable offerings over and over.  In this particular example, the offerings are made in an economic, trade, freedom, and legislative/legal context, and that:

No doubt, Medvedev and his crew know exactly what’s going wrong in Russia and have some ideas about how to fix it. But even if they actually wanted to fix it — and, given the interests at stake, that’s a big if — the real question is whether the people below them, the implementers, want to. And unfortunately, we have a pretty good idea of the answer to that question: They don’t.

So what happens?  Nothing.  There’s more:

And this is not, by the way, just a problem for Medvedev, a man many mock as effete and ineffectual. This winter, WikiLeaks revealed that strongman Vladimir Putin dealt with similar issues during his presidency: "In 2006 — at the height of Putin’s control in a booming economy — it was rumored within the Presidential Administration that as many as 60 percent of his orders were not being followed," one of the U.S. Embassy cables said.

While it appears Ioffe might be giving a pass to raw Russian hypocrisy as mere pandering, Medvedev is later called out and it’s made clear he’s all about power and that terms like “free,” “open,” and “democratic” are just useful props.  Imagine that.

How’s this all tie back to Russia and the Global Zeros?  Back to the GSN article:

The Russian president highlighted the implementation this year of a nuclear arms control treaty that obligates his nation and the United States to each cap their deployed strategic arsenals at 1,550 weapons (see related GSN story, today). "In accordance with the spirit and letter of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the New START treaty makes real, verifiable and irreversible cuts to nuclear arms and their means of delivery. The treaty’s implementation will give practical reinforcement to our world’s strategic stability."

The fact the cuts are U.S.-only goes unmentioned.  Again, raw hypocrisy or mere pandering?

If only Russia and the U.S. had nuclear weapons, if the knowledge and materials to make nuclear weapons could be made to disappear, and if the motivation to have nuclear weapons vanished, I think a world without nuclear weapons would be do-able.  In the mean time, I don’t.

However, the Global Zeros have a plan and that’s to denuclearize the West and hope that Russia and China will follow along.  We’ll never get that far (at least until better weapons are built), but if such an outlier were to occur, I’m sure the Pakistani Prime Minister, Mr. Dinner-Jacket, and Lil’ Kim would be laughing all the way to the weapons storage area. 

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