Russia, U.S. Must Get Beyond Cold War, Rumsfeld Says to Putin
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 2001 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld met Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov in Moscow Aug. 13 and discussed a range of security, political and economic issues.
At a Kremlin press conference, Rumsfeld and Ivanov said offensive and defensive systems should be linked in any discussions between the two countries.
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld tells members of the Russian press that it is in U.S. interests that Russia be prosperous and free. The secretary's trip to Russia Aug. 11-13 included talks with Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov on missile defense and other topics. Photo by Jim Garamone.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The Russians said "nyet" to the U.S. request delivered by Rumsfeld that both countries pull out of the 1972 Anti- ballistic Missile Treaty. Asked if Russia was persuaded to withdraw, Ivanov said in English, "I think not." Continuing through a translator, he added, "I think the ABM Treaty is one of the main, important elements of this complex of international treaties on which international stability is based. We cannot discuss the ABM Treaty being detached from other issues, including offensive weapons and how they exist in international treaties."
Ivanov said Russia is satisfied with the existing multilayered system of strategic security. "We feel no compunction to leave one or the other treaty or accord which we currently have signed," he said.
Rumsfeld said the United States agrees it is "perfectly appropriate" to discuss offensive and defense missile capabilities together. But the United States will continue talks with Russia to move beyond the ABM Treaty and into the kind of normal relations it has with all other countries, he said.
"As we've indicated, the ABM Treaty inhibits the kind of research, development and testing the United States is engaged in," Rumsfeld said.
Earlier in the day during an interview with the Russian press, Rumsfeld argued that the changing times had rendered the arms control protocols irrelevant. The 1972 treaty was signed by two hostile nations that had nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles targeted at each other. Today, there are a number of states that possess ballistic missiles, including, Rumsfeld said, a rogue state that had demonstrated the ability to load a short-range missile aboard a ship and launch from the sea.
"I don't go to bed at night worrying about the Soviet Union attacking Europe through Germany anymore," he said. "The Soviet Union is gone. I don't worry about the threat of a ballistic missile attack from Russia." Under the ABM treaty, the United States must remain vulnerable to ballistic missile attack even though the threat posed by such missiles has proliferated, he said.
Ivanov said that before the United States and Russia can sit down and discuss offensive and defensive weapons, the two countries must set the parameters for the talks -- "namely," he said, "the thresholds and limits in offensive and defensive systems that will be discussed prior to getting down to beginning negotiations.
"We don't deny the world needs a new security architecture," he remarked. "Any system of strategic stability -- whatever it might look like -- will require ways of controlling it and providing verification."
But the United States wants to move away from specific treaties. "We don't know where the threats of the future are going to come from. A negotiated treaty might tie our hands in dealing with a future threat," a senior defense official said on background. "We don't want to negotiate another Cold War pact. The Cold War is over. It's time to move on."
Rumsfeld said U.S. and Russian leaders have a broad range of possible areas for consultation and discussion. He said his talks with Putin spent a lot of time on the changing reality of the U.S.-Russia relationship.
"Our relationships have been changed dramatically over the last decade," he said. It is time to acknowledge that fact and address how best to go forward, he added.
Rumsfeld told the Russians that the United States would have more to say on offensive weapons once its Nuclear Posture Review is complete. He said he believes the United States will cut its holdings of nuclear weapons.
Putin, Rumsfeld and Ivanov discussed terrorism and how the two countries can work together to combat it, as well as issues related to cooperation in the area of strategic stability.
Rumsfeld and Ivanov will meet again in September, and a U.S. consultative group will visit Moscow for discussions later this month. All the talks are preliminary to a meeting between President Bush and President Putin in October.