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Chinese-India rapprochement is both more necessary and more realistic than US-Russian detente.

India and China’s leaders have an opportunity to do at the BRICS summit what Trump and Putin attempted to do at the G20. The only differnces is, in India’s case the Prime Minister does have the power to change his country’s position against an old ‘adversary’.

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The forthcoming BRICS summit in Xiamen is due to be the most ambitious BRICS summit to-date. Among the wide reaching goals of the summit is an intention to work towards a customs union and the eventual establishment of  fully-fledged free trading zone between the BRICS and their partners.

READ MORE: Here’s what to expect from next week’s BRICS summit

However, the biggest obstacle to this and to BRICS unity as a whole, is India’s position which has become increasingly set in opposition to its neighbour and the most economically vibrant BRICS state, China.

The murmurs throughout the press asking “what will Xi and Modi say to one another” bears a striking resemblance to the “what will Putin say to Trump” innuendo which circulated prior to the G20 Summit in July of this year.

While the idea of two leaders of powerful nations meeting in order to ideally reconcile persistent problems is in fact a theme which the BRICS summit shares with July’s G20, the differences are more far reaching than the similarities.

At a personal level, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin offered cordial statements about each other prior to their first meeting. After the meeting it was clear that on a personal level, each man found the other to be engaging, helpful, attentive and intelligent.

Such personal admiration does not apparently exist between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, in reality, China and India have far more to gain from a thaw in relations and ultimately, from cooperative relations than the US and Russia could have hoped to have had even if good US-Russia relations were possible.

Russia and the United States have had different spheres of influence during the majority of their shared histories. It was only between 1945 and the end of the 20th century that both Russia and the US competed for influence in Europe. In the end, simple geography and economic realities mean that for the foreseeable future Europe will be politically allied with the US and so too will most European commercial institutions be more American in outlook than Russian or Eurasian. At the same time, Europe remains dependant on Russia for energy and in spite of sanctions and the ideological allure among European extremists for expensive and slowly shipped American liquefied natural gas, the reality is that the EU will need Russian energy in order to survive for decades to come.

The biggest exceptions to this rule are the unlikely triumvirate of Turkey, Serbia and Israel. As a Eurasian state, Turkey has in the last year alone, departed quite dramatically from the US/EU sphere and is engaging in business, financial, technological and increasingly security cooperation with Russia and Russia’s Eurasian partner Iran, as well as China. Israel and Serbia are in a more precarious position. While Israel is arguably little more than a powerful US client state, Tel Aviv continues to defy US and EU sanctions in order to conduct healthy business relations with Russia, this in spite of the Israeli regime’s pathological opposition to Russia’s regional partners Syria and even more so Iran.

In respect of Serbia, the Serbs as a peoples are a fraternal nation to Russia and likewise, most Serbian citizens and many Serbian politicians seek to continue economic and security ties with Russia. At the same time, Serbia is an EU candidate with members of a new political class that seem intent on going in a western direction. It is a balancing act whose outcome will only be revealed when the EU is prepared to either accept or reject Serbia’s application to join the pro-US bloc.

In respect of bilateral relations, the US and Russia have little to offer each other economically. Russian goods are not sought after in the US market and apart from small internationally consumed retail goods, American ultra-hi-technology and military hardware is totally unnecessary in Russia as Russia makes rival products which are as good, in some cases better and in all cases, are produced far more cost effectively than those produced in the US. As two energy exporters, Russia and the US are in some ways competitors even though the markets for US and Russian energy are generally different for both geographical and economic reasons.

In this sense, US and Russian cooperation is primarily an issue of security. No one wants US and Russian nuclear weapons to be fired a war, even though the actual likelihood of this is even more exaggerated today than it was during the Cold War.

The situation between China and India could not be more different.

China and India are neighbours who ought to cooperate on trade in a manner that takes advantage of each country’s unique strengths. The example of Pakistan-Chinese cooperation and its early success which appears to only be growing, makes it clear that China and large South Asian countries have a great deal to offer one another.

Both India and Pakistan were to form an integral part of China’s One Belt–One Road trading initiative, but India’s reluctance to cooperate with China has led many in China to lean more heavily towards Pakistan. India’s intransigence on the matter is increasingly making the Sino-Pakistan border an effective Indian bypass on the New Silk Road.

While China can complete One Belt–One Road without India or even in spite of India, both sides would be better off cooperating, but especially India. India simply does not have the technological or manufacturing capacity of China, but India’s growing markets and young workforce could work in tandem with China to create more economic opportunities for Indians across all levels of society and for Indian infrastructure which could benefit greatly from Chinese investment, just as Pakistan’s infrastructure has been the recipient of such boosts from Beijing.

In order to create an opportunity for India and China to begin meaningful economic/trade cooperation, it is necessary to settle the border disputes between the two countries which are a lingering effect of British imperialism in South Asia.

The appropriate forum to settle border disputes is the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Here, both China and Pakistan could work with fellow member state India to resolve  lingering border crises and Russia which maintains good relations with Beijing, Islamabad and New Delhi would almost certainly be happy to mediate such a dispute in a dignified manner. In this sense the SCO is a better forum to settle such a dispute than the UN as while China has a veto on the UN Security Council, in the SCO, all members are technically co-equals.

China’s position on all these matters is clear and China is open for dialogue and discussion with India in order to work towards a fair and expedient resolution.

China wants India to be a good neighbour and a future partner. It is India, especially under the Premiership of Modi whose attitude to China has frankly been downright stubborn to the point of inflicting harm on one’s own nation. India appears to want to engage in economic warfare with China even though this is a battle that India will  objectively lose. This is something that many Indians who are opposed to Modi admit with grace, just as Russia could not and does not try to compete with China in the realm of electronic and personal computer exports.

Russia, in engaging with China as a trusted partner, has not only enhanced the economies of both countries, but Russia is one of the few nations to run a trade surplus with China, albeit a comparatively small one. India could in fact decrease dependency on foreign good by cooperating with China rather than trying to outpace China in areas where China is objectively superior in terms of production quality, consistency and efficiency.

In this sense, India and China can offer one another meaningful economic opportunities, where it is increasingly the case that the US and Russia can offer one another little other than the obtuse assurance that there will be no nuclear war.

While the American deep state is dead set against any rapprochement with Russia, in India there are voices who oppose Modi’s antagonistic stance towards China, however much the vocal pro-government Hindutva press tries to silence such voices.

Good relations between China and India are therefore more necessary and more realistic than good relations between  between the US and Russia. The difference is that in India, the matter rests almost entirely on the Prime Minister and his most trusted advisers, whereas in the United States the President who wants better relations with Russia has been left largely powerless to change the course of US policy.

Modi is in many ways in the same position as Turkey’s President Erdogan has been in over the last few years. In 2015, after Turkey shot down a Russian military jet on the Syria-Turkey border, a situation developed which could have led to war. However, both countries have not only patched up their differences, something which began when Erdgoan apologised to Putin for shooting down the Russian jet, both Turkey and Russia are increasingly partners whose relationship is becoming something of a necessity for Ankara.

If Erdogan and Putin could rapidly patch up their differences, so too can Modi and Xi. Erdgoan took the first step towards mending fences with Russia after the Russian side showed a great deal of restraint amid calls for war with Turkey. China has likewise showed a similar level of restraint during this summer’s Doklam/Donglang border crisis with India. Modi can therefore climb down from his untenable position as Erdogan did, or he can learn the hard way, the lesson that Turkey has learned, namely, that Asian and Eurasian nations who align with the US, ultimately gain less than nothing in return.

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Freethinking Влади́мир
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Freethinking Влади́мир

Not bad of an article. Quite accessible though a clearer explanation on the fundamental differences which leads to the dispute between India and China I would have welcomed. Also the comparison between Russia-Turkey and China-india was cutting a corner a bit. The analogy doesn’t work because of India’s far greater influence and far greater residual potential on the world stage.

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

The author glossed over the US and Israhell meddling and trying to split India from BRICS/China in order to destroy OBOR/BRI! India will have to make a DEFINITIVE choice, stay attached to the US coat tails as it goes down and suffer the consequences or align fully with the future with BRICS.
https://journal-neo.org/2017/08/11/has-narenda-modi-switched-sides/
http://theduran.com/is-india-now-a-us-ally/

Brooklyn Dave
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Brooklyn Dave

Thank you, you’re right on the money. And maybe, sometime in the future, China may be able to negotiate some kind of an agreement between India an.d Pakistan

VeeNarian (Yerevan)
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VeeNarian (Yerevan)

This is the point of inflexion in the 21st century between India and China. History is being made in front of our eyes as a new world order is born. Watch out for the fireworks this September!

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Empire Of Absurdity: Recycled Neocons, Recycled Enemies

Despite America’s military threats, bellicose speechifying, brutal sanctions, and Cold War-style conflict-framing, the incumbent Maduro seems firmly in control. 

Antiwar

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Authored by Major Danny Sjursen (ret.) via AntiWar.com:


There are times when I wish that the United States would just drop the charade and declare itself a global empire.

As a veteran of two imperial wars, a witness to the dark underside of America’s empire-denial, I’ve grown tired of the equivocation and denials from senior policymakers. The U.S. can’t be an empire, we’re told, because – unlike the Brits and Romans – America doesn’t annex territories outright, and our school children don’t color its colonies in red-white-and-blue on cute educational maps.

But this distinction, at root, is rather superficial. Conquest, colonization, and annexation are so 19th century – Washington has moved beyond the overt and engages in the (not-so) subtle modern form of imperialism. America’s empire over the last two decades – under Democrats and Republicans – has used a range of tools: economic, military, political, to topple regimes, instigate coups, and starve “enemy” civilians. Heck, it didn’t even start with 9/11 – bullying foreigners and overturning uncooperative regimes is as American as apple pie.

Still, observing post-9/11, post-Iraq/Afghanistan defeat, Washington play imperialism these days is tragicomically absurd. The emperor has no clothes, folks. Sure, America (for a few more fleeting years) boasts the world’s dominant economy, sure its dotted the globe with a few hundred military bases, and sure it’s military still outspends the next seven competitors combined. Nonetheless, what’s remarkable, what constitutes the real story of 2019, is this: the US empire can’t seem to accomplish anything anymore, can’t seem to bend anybody to its will. It’s almost sad to watch. America, the big-hulking has-been on the block, still struts its stuff, but most of the world simply ignores it.

Make no mistake, Washington isn’t done trying; it’s happy to keep throwing good money (and blood) at bad: to the tune of a cool $6 trillion, 7,000 troop deaths, and 500,000 foreign deaths – including maybe 240,000 civilians. But what’s it all been for? The world is no safer, global terror attacks have only increased, and Uncle Sam just can’t seem to achieve any of its preferred policy goals.

Think on it for a second: Russia and Iran “won” in Syria; the Taliban and Pakistan are about ready to “win” in Afghanistan; Iran is more influential than ever in Iraq; the Houthis won’t quit in Yemen; Moscow is keeping Crimea; Libya remains unstable; North Korea ain’t giving up its nukes; and China’s power continues to grow in its version of the Caribbean – the South China Sea. No amount of American cash, no volume of our soldiers’ blood, no escalation in drone strikes or the conventional bombing of brown folks, has favorably changed the calculus in any of these regional conflicts.

What does this tell us? Quite a lot, I’d argue – but not what the neoliberal/neoconservative alliance of pundits and policymakers are selling. See for these unrepentant militarists the problem is always the same: Washington didn’t use enough force, didn’t spend enough blood and treasure. So is the solution: more defense spending, more CIA operations, more saber-rattling, and more global military interventions.

No, the inconvenient truth is as simple as it is disturbing to red-blooded patriots. To wit, the United States – or any wannabe hegemon – simply doesn’t possess the capability to shape the world in its own image. See those pesky locals – Arabs, Asians, Muslims, Slavs – don’t know what’s good for them, don’t understand that (obviously) there is a secret American zipped inside each of their very bodies, ready to burst out if given a little push!

It turns out that low-tech, cheap insurgent tactics, when combined with impassioned nationalism, can bog down the “world’s best military” indefinitely. It seems, too, that other regional heavyweights – Russia, China, Iran, North Korea – stand ready to call America’s nuclear bluff. That they know the US all-volunteer military and consumerist economy can’t ultimately absorb the potential losses a conventional war would demand. Even scarier for the military-industrial-congressional-media establishment is the logical extension of all this accumulated failure: the questionable efficacy of military force in the 21st century.

Rather than recognize the limits of American military, economic, and political power, Bush II, Obama, and now Trump, have simply dusted off the old playbook. It’s reached the level of absurdity under the unhinged regime of Mr. Trump. Proverbially blasting Springsteen’s “Glory Days,” as its foreign policy soundtrack, the Donald and company have doubled down. Heck, if Washington can’t get its way in Africa, Europe, Asia, or the Mideast, well why not clamp down in our own hemisphere, our traditional sphere of influence – South and Central America.

Enter the lunacy of the current Venezuela controversy. Trump’s team saw a golden opportunity in this socialist, backwater petrostate. Surely here, in nearby Monroe Doctrine country, Uncle Sam could get his way, topple the Maduro regime, and coronate the insurgent (though questionably legitimate) Juan Guaido. It’s early 20th century Yankee imperialism reborn. Everything seemed perfect. Trump could recall the specter of America’s tried and true enemy – “evil” socialism – cynically (and absurdly) equating Venezuelan populism with some absurd Cold-War-era existential threat to the nation. The idea that Venezuela presents a challenge on the scale of Soviet Russia is actually farcical. What’s more, and this is my favorite bit of irrationality, we were all recently treated to a game of “I know you are but what am I?” from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who (with a straight face) claimed Cuba, tiny island Cuba, was the real “imperialist” in Venezuela.

Next, in a move reminiscent of some sort of macabre 1980’s theme party, Trump resuscitated Elliot Abrams – you know, the convicted felon of Iran-Contra infamy, to serve as Washington’s special envoy to embattled Venezuela. Who better to act as “fair arbiter” in that country than a war-criminal with the blood of a few hundred thousand Central Americans (remember the Contras?!?) on his hands back in the the good old (Reagan) days.

Despite all this: America’s military threats, bellicose speechifying, brutal sanctions, and Cold War-style conflict-framing, the incumbent Maduro seems firmly in control. This isn’t to say that Venezuelans don’t have genuine grievances with the Maduro government (they do), but for now at least, it appears the military is staying loyal to the president, Russia/China are filling in the humanitarian aid gaps, and Uncle Sam is about to chalk up another loss on the world scene. Ultimately, whatever the outcome, the crisis will only end with a Venezuelan solution.

America’s impotence would almost be sad to watch, if, and only if, it wasn’t all so tragic for the Venezuelan people.

So Trump and his recycled neocons will continue to rant and rave and threaten Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba, and so on and so forth. America will still flex its aging, sagging muscles – a reflexive habit at this point.

Only now it’ll seem sad. Because no one is paying attention anymore.

The opposite of love is isn’t hate – it’s indifference.

*  *  *

Danny Sjursen is a retired US Army officer and regular contributor to Antiwar.comHe served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge. Follow him on Twitter at @SkepticalVet.

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Secret deal between DOJ and Clinton lawyers exposes Deep State corruption (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 111.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss newly released transcripts from disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok that reveal the US Department of Justice and the Clinton Lawyers struck a secret deal that blocked the FBI from accessing Clinton Foundation emails, during the Hillary home server “investigation”.

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Via Zerohedge


The Justice Department and Hillary Clinton’s legal team “negotiated” an agreement that blocked the FBI from accessing emails on Clinton’s homebrew server related to the Clinton Foundation, according to a transcript of recently released testimony from last summer by former FBI special agent Peter Strzok.

Under questioning from Judiciary Committee General Counsel Zachary Somers, Strzok acknowledged that Clinton’s private personal email servers contained a mixture of emails related to the Clinton Foundation, her work as secretary of state and other matters.

“Were you given access to [Clinton Foundation-related] emails as part of the investigation?” Somers asked

We were not. We did not have access,” Strzok responded. “My recollection is that the access to those emails were based on consent that was negotiated between the Department of Justice attorneys and counsel for Clinton.” –Fox News

Strzok added that “a significant filter team” was employed at the FBI to “work through the various terms of the various consent agreements.”

“According to the attorneys, we lacked probable cause to get a search warrant for those servers and projected that either it would take a very long time and/or it would be impossible to get to the point where we could obtain probable cause to get a warrant,” said Strzok.

The foundation has long been accused of “pay-to-play” transactions, fueled by a report in the IBTimes that the Clinton-led State Department authorized $151 billion in Pentagon-brokered deals to 16 countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation – a 145% increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. 

Adding to speculation of malfeasance is the fact that donor contributions to the Clinton Foundation dried up by approximately 90% over a three-year period between 2014 and 2017, according to financial statements.

What’s more, Bill Clinton reportedly received a $1 million check from Qatar – one of the countries which gained State Department clearance to buy US weapons while Clinton was Secretary of State, even as the department signaled them out for a range of alleged ills,” according to IBTimes. The Clinton Foundation confirmed it accepted the money.

Then there was the surely unrelated $145 million donated to the Foundation from parties linked to the Uranium One deal prior to its approval through a rubber-stamp committee.

“The committee almost never met, and when it deliberated it was usually at a fairly low bureaucratic level,” Richard Perle said. Perle, who has worked for the Reagan, Clinton and both Bush administrations added, “I think it’s a bit of a joke.” –CBS

Later in his testimony last summer, Strzok said that agents were able to access “the entire universe” of information on the servers by using search terms to probe their contents – saying “we had it voluntarily.”

“What’s bizarre about this, is in any other situation, there’s no possible way they would allow the potential perpetrator to self-select what the FBI gets to see,” said former Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz – former chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee until 2017 and current contributor to Fox News. “The FBI should be the one to sort through those emails — not the Clinton attorneys.

Chaffetz suggested that the goal of the DOJ was to “make sure they hear no evil, see no evil — they had no interest in pursuing the truth.”

“The Clinton Foundation isn’t supposed to be communicating with the State Department anyway,” said Chaffetz. “The foundation — with her name on it — is not supposed to be communicating with the senior officials at the State Department.”

Republican-led concerns that the DOJ, under the Obama administration, was too cozy with the Clinton team during the 2016 presidential campaign have grown louder in recent days. Earlier this week, Fox News exclusively reviewed an internal chart prepared by federal investigators working on the so-called “Midyear Exam” probe into Clinton’s emails. The chart contained the words “NOTE: DOJ not willing to charge this” next to a key statute on the mishandling of classified information.

The notation appeared to contradict former FBI Director James Comey’s repeated claims that his team made its decision that Clinton should not face criminal charges independently.

But Strzok, in his closed-door interview, denied that the DOJ exercised undue influence over the FBI, and insisted that lawyers at the DOJ were involved in an advisory capacity working with agents. –Fox News

Strzok was fired from the FBI after months of intense scrutiny over anti-Trump text messages he exchanged with his mistress – FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Both Strzok and Page were involved at the highest levels of both the Clinton email investigation and the counterintelligence investigation on President Trump and his 2016 campaign.

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US continues to try to corner Russia with silence on Nukes

Moscow continues to be patient in what appears to be an ever more lopsided, intentional stonewalling situation provoked by the Americans.

Seraphim Hanisch

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TASS reported on March 17th that despite Russian readiness to discuss the present problem of strategic weapons deployments and disarmament with its counterparts in the United States, the Americans have not offered Russia any proposals to conduct such talks.

The Kremlin has not yet received any particular proposals on the talks over issues of strategic stability and disarmament from Washington, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS on Sunday when commenting on the statement made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton who did not rule out that such talks could be held with Russia and China.

“No intelligible proposals has been received [from the US] so far,” Peskov said.

Earlier Bolton said in an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis aired on Sunday that he considers it reasonable to include China in the negotiation on those issues with Russia as well.

“China is building up its nuclear capacity now. It’s one of the reasons why we’re looking at strengthening our national missile defense system here in the United States. And it’s one reason why, if we’re going to have another arms control negotiation, for example, with the Russians, it may make sense to include China in that discussion as well,” he said.

Mr. Bolton’s sense about this particular aspect of any arms discussions is correct, as China was not formerly a player in geopolitical affairs the way it is now. The now all-but-scrapped Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, was a treaty concluded by the US and the USSR leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, back in 1987. However, for in succeeding decades, most notably since the fall of the Soviet Union, the US has been gradually building up weaponry in what appears to be an attempt to create a ring around the Russian Federation, a situation which is understandably increasingly untenable to the Russian government.

Both sides have accused one another of violating this treaty, and the mutual violations and recriminations on top of a host of other (largely fabricated) allegations against the Russian government’s activities led US President Donald Trump to announce his nation’s withdrawal from the treaty, formally suspending it on 1 February. Russian President Vladimir Putin followed suit by suspending it the very next day.

The INF eliminated all of both nations’ land based ballistic and cruise missiles that had a range between 500 and 1000 kilometers (310-620 miles) and also those that had ranges between 1000 and 5500 km (620-3420 miles) and their launchers.

This meant that basically all the missiles on both sides were withdrawn from Europe’s eastern regions – in fact, much, if not most, of Europe was missile-free as the result of this treaty. That is no longer the case today, and both nations’ accusations have provoked re-development of much more advanced systems than ever before, especially true considering the Russian progress into hypersonic and nuclear powered weapons that offer unlimited range.

This situation generates great concern in Europe, such that the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on both Moscow and Washington to salvage the INF and extend the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, or the New START as it is known.

“I call on the parties to the INF Treaty to use the time remaining to engage in sincere dialogue on the various issues that have been raised. It is very important that this treaty is preserved,” Guterres said at a session of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Monday.

He stressed that the demise of that accord would make the world more insecure and unstable, which “will be keenly felt in Europe.” “We simply cannot afford to return to the unrestrained nuclear competition of the darkest days of the Cold War,” he said.

Guterres also urged the US and Russia to extend the START Treaty, which expires in 2021, and explore the possibility of further reducing their nuclear arsenals. “I also call on the United States and the Russian Federation to extend the so-called New START Treaty before it expires in 2021,” he said.

The UN chief recalled that the treaty “is the only international legal instrument limiting the size of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals” and that its inspection provisions “represent important confidence-building measures that benefit the entire world.”

Guterres recalled that the bilateral arms control process between Russia and the US “has been one of the hallmarks of international security for fifty years.”

“Thanks to their efforts, global stockpiles of nuclear weapons are now less than one-sixth of what they were in 1985,” the UN secretary-general pointed out.

The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) entered into force on February 5, 2011. The document stipulates that seven years after its entry into effect each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers. The new START Treaty obliges the parties to exchange information on the number of warheads and carriers twice a year.

The new START Treaty will remain in force during 10 years until 2021, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement. It may be extended for a period of no more than five years (that is, until 2026) upon the parties’ mutual consent. Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay the issue of extending the Treaty.

 

 

 

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