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US plays dubious role in arms control

Time:2013-08-26 17:53Source:China Daily Author:Hu Yumin Click:
Two new trends have emerged in international arms control in recent years. First, while considering the functions of nuclear weapons and strategic stability, non-nuclear issues are also taken into account because of the scientific advancements in and pers

Two new trends have emerged in international arms control in recent years. First, while considering the functions of nuclear weapons and strategic stability, non-nuclear issues are also taken into account because of the scientific advancements in and persistent upgrade of arsenals by major countries. Advancements in non-nuclear fields include the missile-defense system, long-distance precision-guided strike systems, and competence in outer space and cyberspace. 

Last month, US President Barack Obama said the US and Russia should reduce their strategic nuclear weapons to 1,000 each based on the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (new START). But Russia emphasized that the power and reach of the US' missile defense and long-distance precision-guided strike systems tilt the strategic balance in Washington's favor. Under such circumstances, Russia can hardly accept the US proposal. 

Second, regional issues have a great impact on global strategic stability. Moscow has reiterated that the range and power of NATO's anti-missile system deployed in Europe is compatible with the US' domestic anti-missile system - and since it is aimed at Russia it shifts global and regional strategic balance in favor of Washington. This problem has become a major obstacle in US-Russia negotiations to reduce their nuclear arsenals, including their strategic and tactical nuclear weapons. 

Moreover, at the geopolitical core of the Asia-Pacific region's security is Western Pacific. In turn, Northeast Asia, especially the Korean Peninsula, is at the core of the Western Pacific region. 

For long, the US' geopolitical map of the region has included its allies such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines, and other friendly countries like Singapore and Thailand. 

As far as the balance of military power is concerned, quality is no less important than quantity. For instance, Japan's expertise in anti-missile, anti-submarine and electronic warfare is world class. And thanks to its close association with the US in military and strategic matters, Japan has gained expertise in these fields. 

The construction of the US' Asia-Pacific anti-missile system covers countries such as Japan and the ROK. The US may extend its system to cover its other allies in the region. Therefore, the impact of this "extended deterrence" on Northeast Asia's security should not be ignored, because more than 50 percent of the US military's long-distance strike mechanisms is concentrated in this region. 

Recently, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said the ratio would increase to 60 percent within 10 years. 

But at the beginning of the year, US Secretary of State John Kerry had said that the already heightened presence of American military and its continuous strengthening in the Asia-Pacific region could create misgivings among other countries. Kerry's views are more pertinent and conscientious. 

The two new arms control trends are mainly propelled by security strategies, which are both offensive and defensive in nature in terms of weapon systems, including nuclear and conventional weapons, and outer space and information technologies. 

Countries that already enjoy key advantages in some fields of arms control lock others to "the learning curve" by entering into treaties that refine the development of specific arms' technologies. And the technologically advanced countries unilaterally violate international rules when they develop key weapon technologies prohibited by global treaties. 

There are two views on strategic stability. One focuses on universal security and tries to avoid conflicts and turbulences that may destroy the global and/or regional security environment. The other is about maintaining the superpower's (the US') dominant position in the world and tries to contain any challenge that may enhance other countries' status. 

The US uses double standards in arms control and non-proliferation, and believes that strategic security should help it maintain its advantageous position in the international order. In international politics, especially in the case of the Korean Peninsula and Iranian nuclear issues, the two views and their extended policies have common as well as conflicting elements, making international issues too complicated to be resolved. 

The recent exposure of US National Security Bureau's secret surveillance program PRISM proves how different Washington's declared policy and operational policy could be. More importantly, the gigantic global monitoring program reflects the US' strategic intention to deter any country in Eurasia to challenge its dominating position. After the end of the Cold War, such strategic intentions smell of hegemony and undermine global and regional strategic stability. 

China, which believes in universal security, has been playing a constructive role in stabilizing the global strategic structure because it holds a more reasonable view of security and stability. Different from the mirror-imaging weapons' system, China pursues asymmetric strategic stability based on comparatively low and defensive levels of arms. And it sticks to its promise of not being the first to use nuclear weapons, which reflects its strong belief in global and regional strategic stability.  (Editor:军控协会)

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