Voices from Russia

Sunday, 12 September 2010

A View from Moscow by Valentin Zorin… Once Again… About Trust


A few days ago, US Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller, who is in charge of verification, compliance, and implementation concerning arms control problems, made a number of statements that are at odds with reality and question the trustworthiness of the ruling team in Washington. Given the issue in question, the incident acquired much importance under present circumstances and deserves further enquiry. Answering journalists’ questions, when she was asked if the current administration has a programme to develop new nuclear weapons, Ms Gottemoeller said that current plans envisage upgrading existing weapons, not developing new ones. Unfortunately, she lied.

A top-ranking administration official can’t claim that they don’t know the truth. In 2005, the Bush administration shepherded a bill through Congress concerning the introduction of a new type of nuclear weapons, so-called “mini-bombs”, calling for the funding of this project from a special line item in the federal budget. In defiance of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which prohibits the introduction of new types of nuclear weapons, Washington got down to work. To fend off critics, the sponsors of this initiative maintained that the new bomb had considerably less striking power compared to previous nukes. However, what does “considerably lower” mean in practical terms? As it turned out from leaked Pentagon reports, the destructive force of a nuclear “mini-bomb” was one-third that of the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

At the time, the late US Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA), the third longest-serving member of the US Senate in American history, was shocked by the decision. Normally not prone to emotional exaggeration, Senator Kennedy spoke against the “mini-bomb” programme, saying that this kind of weapon would throw the world into the abyss of a threat of a nuclear war once again. Washington ignored not only Senator Kennedy’s misgivings, but also all other protests and admonitions, and implemented the multibillion-dollar project. All these years, a veil of strict secrecy surrounded it, politicians and the media were dead silent concerning it. The issue was taboo even during the presidential campaign. Moreover, the new administration never hinted that it would cancel the project. It’s never given a peep on this!

Ms Gottemoeller made no mention of it either. She went so far as to say that the work entailed modifications of existing nuclear weapons. Why are they lying about a new nuclear weapons programme? The matter is definitely hushed up overseas, covered in a conspiracy of silence, and a top official told blatant lies in reply to journalists’ questions. Trust and confidence are crucial in international cooperation between states. No contacts are possible without them, treaties lose all credibility, and there can be no effective communication between states and their leaderships. Building confidence requires much effort and time. However, shattering confidence takes no time at all; it happens quickly, but the effects are long-lasting. This is something that those holding high office in Washington should remember at all times.

13 July 2010

Valentin Zorin

Voice of Russia World Service




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