Military Review

Missile defense and strategic stability

Missile defense and strategic stabilityRecently, in both foreign and domestic press, articles have appeared on the possibility of excluding the problems of missile defense from among the destabilizing factors in the strategic balance of Russia and the United States. In fact, this approach is consistent with the current American position: they say, the strategic missile defense system (US) that is being deployed by the United States does not pose any threat to Russia.


Russian President Vladimir Putin in an interview with Bloomberg 1 September 2016, very clearly outlined the Russian position:

“We talked about the need to solve together issues related to missile defense systems and to maintain or modernize the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. The United States unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty and launched an active construction of a strategic missile defense system, namely, the strategic system as part of its strategic nuclear forces that were carried to the periphery, moved to the construction of positional areas in Romania and then in Poland.

Then, at the first stage, as you remember, they did this with reference to the Iranian nuclear threat, then they signed an agreement with Iran, including the United States, ratified it now, there is no threat, and the positional areas continue to be built.

Question - against whom? We were then told: "We are not against you." And we answered: "But then we will improve our shock systems." And they said to us: “Do what you want, we will assume that it is not against us.” We do it. Now we see that when we started getting something, our partners got worried, they said: “How is that? What is happening there? ”Why was this answer in due time? Yes, because no one thought, probably, that we are able to do it.

At the beginning of 2000-s against the background of the complete collapse of the Russian military-industrial complex, against the background, frankly speaking, of low, to put it mildly, combat capability of the Armed Forces, it never occurred to anyone that we are able to restore the combat potential of the Armed Forces and recreate the defense-industrial complex. We have observers from the United States sitting in our plants for the production of nuclear weapons. That was the level of trust. And then these steps - one, second, third, fourth ... We must somehow react to it. But they always say to us: “This is not your business, this does not concern you, and this is not against you.”

In this regard, it seems appropriate to remind history arms control negotiations in the field of missile defense. It is important to note that the problem of the relationship between offensive and defensive weapons is fundamental, accompanying all negotiations on the reduction of strategic weapons. And, surprisingly, the Americans themselves were the first to raise the missile defense issue. ”


According to Georgy Markovich Kornienko, First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR in 1977 – 1986 years, who for a long time was in charge of disarmament issues expressed in his book “The Cold War. The evidence of its participant ":" The impact of the Caribbean crisis on the further relations between the Soviet Union and the United States was ambiguous. To a certain extent, the crisis has spurred an arms race between them. As for the Soviet Union, the crisis has strengthened its leadership in an effort to achieve nuclear missile parity with the United States through the accelerated buildup of strategic weapons. For it was clear that with the nearly twentyfold advantage that the United States had in strategic weapons at the time of the Caribbean crisis, they were masters of the situation. And if not in this, so in some other case with some other president, such a balance of forces could have more serious consequences for the Soviet Union than in the case of Cuba.

In this case, the Russian proverb "There is a blessing in disguise." Looking at the nuclear danger, the leaders of both countries became aware of the need to take steps aimed at reducing the likelihood of a nuclear war.

It is clear that such changes in the mindsets of the American and Soviet leaders, as well as their entourage, promised possible positive changes in policy and in its practical implementation. However, it was only at the end of 1966 that the US administration finally concluded that the time had come for serious negotiations with Moscow on the limitation of strategic armaments. In December, 1966, President Lyndon Johnson agreed with the proposal of his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara, to request congressional appropriations for the creation of a missile defense system, but not to spend them until the idea of ​​negotiating with Moscow was explored.

McNamara's proposal was about the Sentinel program announced by him in 1963, which was supposed to protect against a large part of the continental territory of the United States from missile attacks. It was assumed that the missile defense system will be a two-echelon, consisting of high-altitude, long-range interceptor missiles LIM-49A "Spartan" and anti-missile intercept interception "Sprint", associated with the radar "PAR" and "MAR". Later, American leaders acknowledged a number of difficulties associated with this system.

It is also worth remembering here that work in the field of missile defense in the USSR and the USA began almost at the same time - immediately after the Second World War. In the USSR, the Anti-Fau project was involved in 1945. To do this with VVA them. NOT. Zhukovsky created a special equipment research bureau, headed by G. Mozharovsky, whose task was to work out the possibility of countering ballistic missiles of the V-2 type. Work in this direction did not stop and were carried out quite successfully, which allowed later to create a missile defense system around Moscow. The successes of the USSR in this area inspired Khrushchev to declare in 1961, in his characteristic manner, “that we have craftsmen capable of falling into a fly in space.”

But back to the "source". A probe was commissioned by US Ambassador to the USSR Lewellin Thompson. Johnson’s 27 letter of January 1967, which Thompson brought to Moscow, did contain a proposal to begin negotiations by discussing the missile defense issue. In the future, due to the fact that the American press published the contents of the letter, at the 9 press conference in February 1967 of the year during Alexey Kosygin’s visit to the UK, journalists began to shower him with questions about whether the USSR was ready to abandon the creation of a missile defense system or introduce any then restrictions on its deployment? Since the position in Moscow has not yet been formed, Kosygin gave evasive answers to journalists' questions, expressing the opinion that the main danger is an offensive, not defensive weapon.

In the meantime, a more balanced formula emerged in Moscow in the course of elaboration - to begin negotiations with a missile defense issue. At the same time, a counter-proposal was put forward: to discuss at the same time restrictions on both offensive and defensive systems of strategic weapons. And February 18 Thompson informed Kosygin about the US readiness to conduct a dialogue. In late February, Kosygin’s reply to Johnson’s letter confirmed the consent of the USSR government to begin negotiations on limiting offensive and defensive nuclear missiles.

A common prerequisite for the Soviet Union and the United States to enter into serious negotiations on the problem of limiting strategic weapons was the awareness by both sides of the danger of an uncontrolled race of such weapons and its burdensomeness. At the same time, as Kornienko notes, “each side also had its own particular motive for such negotiations. The United States has a desire to prevent a situation where the Soviet Union, straining all its possibilities, would force the United States into something, forcing them to adjust their programs beyond what they themselves had planned. The USSR has fears of keeping up with the United States in the arms race because of their wider material and technological capabilities. ”

But even after the exchange of letters between Johnson and Kosygin, the early start of negotiations did not follow. The main reason for the delay was the unfavorable situation associated with the war in Vietnam. Anyway, during the meeting between Kosygin and Johnson during the June session of the UN General Assembly, there was no serious discussion on strategic armaments. Johnson and McNamara, who attended the conversation, again focused on missile defense. During the second conversation, Kosygin said: “Apparently, it is first necessary that we set a specific task to reduce all weapons, including both defensive and offensive.” After that, there was a long pause again - up to 1968 of the year.

28 June 1968 in a report by Andrei Andreyevich Gromyko at a session of the USSR Supreme Soviet was explicitly stated about the readiness of the Soviet government to discuss possible limitations and subsequent reductions in strategic means of delivering nuclear weapons, both offensive and defensive, including antimissiles. Following this on July 1, a memorandum on this issue was given to the Americans. On the same day, President Johnson confirmed the US readiness to enter into negotiations. As a result, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the Interim Agreement on Certain Measures in the Field of Strategic Offensive Arms Reduction (SALT-1972) were signed in 1.

The effectiveness of the Soviet-American negotiations on disarmament issues in the 70-ies contributed to the fact that a special commission of the Politburo was established to monitor them and determine their positions. Its structure included D.F. Ustinov (at that time secretary of the Central Committee, chairman of the commission), A.A. Gromyko, A.A. Grechko, Yu.V. Andropov, L.V. Smirnov and M.V. Keldysh. Materials for consideration at the meetings of the commission were prepared by a working group created from senior officials of the relevant departments.

The parties did not immediately realize the importance of signing the ABM Treaty. Understanding the feasibility of actually abandoning missile defense, of course, matured on both sides is not easy. In the United States, Defense Minister McNamara and Secretary of State Rask, and then President Johnson, first came to understand the destructiveness of creating large-scale missile defense systems. We have this path was more thorny. According to Kornienko’s conviction, expressed in the book “Through the eyes of a marshal and a diplomat,” only thanks to academician M.V. Keldysh, to whose opinion LI was very attentive. Brezhnev and D.F. Ustinov, managed to convince top political leadership of the promising idea of ​​abandoning a broad missile defense system. As for Brezhnev, then, as he thought, he simply took on trust what Keldysh said, but he didn’t fully understand the essence of this problem.

The treaty between the USSR and the USA on the limitation of missile defense systems against 26 in May 1972 took a special place among the Soviet-American arms control agreements - as the decisive factor of strategic stability.


The logic of the ABM Treaty seems to be simple - work on the creation, testing and deployment of a missile defense system is fraught with an endless nuclear arms race. According to it, each side refused to create a large-scale missile defense of its territory. The laws of logic are immutable. That’s why the contract was concluded as indefinite.

With the coming to power of the Reagan administration there was a departure from this understanding. In foreign policy, the principle of equality and equal security was excluded and the forceful course in relations with the Soviet Union was officially proclaimed. 23 March 1983, US President Reagan announced the start of research work to study additional measures against intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The implementation of these measures (placement of interceptors in space, etc.) was to ensure the protection of the entire US territory. Thus, the Reagan administration, relying on American technological advantages, decided to achieve US military superiority over the USSR by placing weapons in space. “If we manage to create a system that makes Soviet weapons ineffective, we can return to a situation where the United States was the only country possessing nuclear weapons,” said US Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger straightforwardly determined the goal of the US Strategic Defense Initiative (SOI) .

But the ABM Treaty stood in the way of the implementation of the program, and the Americans began to loosen it. Initially, Washington portrayed the case as if the IDF was just an innocuous research program that did not affect the ABM Treaty. But for its practical implementation, it was necessary to undertake another maneuver - and a “broad interpretation” of the ABM Treaty appeared.

The essence of this interpretation was to assert that the prohibition on the creation (development), testing and deployment of systems and components for space-based and other types of mobile-based missile defense systems envisaged in Article V applies only to those components that existed at the time of the conclusion of the agreement and are listed in his article II (anti-missiles, launchers for them and radar stations of a certain type). The systems and components of the missile defense system created under the SDI program, being based on other physical principles, can, they say, be developed and tested without any restrictions, including in space, and only the question of the limits of their deployment would be subject to agreement between the parties. At the same time, references were made to one of the annexes to the Treaty, which refers to missile defense systems of this new type (Statement “D”).

The legal inconsistency of such an interpretation was based on a precise reading of the text of the ABM Treaty. In his article II there is a clear definition: “For the purposes of this Treaty, the missile defense system is a system for combating strategic ballistic missiles or their elements on flight paths”. Thus, the definition is functional - we are talking about any system capable of hitting missiles.

This understanding was set forth by all US administrations, including the Reagan, in annual reports to Congress up to 1985, until the “expansive interpretation” was invented in the dark corners of the Pentagon. As Kornienko points out, this interpretation was concocted at the Pentagon, in the office of Deputy Defense Minister Richard Perle, famous for his pathological hatred of the Soviet Union. It was on his instructions that F. Kunsberg, a New York lawyer who until then had only dealt with matters relating to the pornographic business and the mafia, spent less than a week studying the ABM Treaty, “made a discovery”, which was required to his customer. According to the Washington Post, when Kunsberg outlined to Perl the results of his “investigations,” the latter jumped for joy, so that “he almost fell off his chair.” Such is the story of the illegitimate “broad interpretation” of the ABM Treaty.

In the future, the PIO program, due to technical and political difficulties, was curtailed, but it created fertile ground for further undermining the ABM Treaty.

Liquidation of Krasnoyarsk radar

It is impossible not to pay tribute to the Americans in that they always rigidly defend their national interests. This concerned the fulfillment of the USSR ABM Treaty. In July-August, 1983, the US intelligence services found that in the Abalakovo area near Krasnoyarsk, approximately 800 kilometers from the USSR state border, a large radar was being built.

In 1987, the United States declared the USSR violated the ABM Treaty, according to which such stations could be located only around the perimeter of the national territory. Geographically, the station was not really on the perimeter, as could be interpreted under the Treaty, and this gave reason to think about using it as a radar for object missile defense. In the Union, Moscow was the only object in accordance with the Treaty.

In response to the American claims, the Soviet Union declared that the OS-3 node was intended to monitor outer space, and not to give an early warning of a missile attack, and therefore compatible with the ABM Treaty. In addition, even before it was known about a serious violation of the Treaty by the United States, which deployed its radar stations in Greenland (Thule) and Great Britain (Faylingdeyls) - by and large, far beyond the national territory.

4 September 1987, the station was inspected by a group of American experts. As of 1 in January of 1987, the construction of the technological premises of the radar station was completed, installation and adjustment work began; construction costs amounted to 203,6 mln. rub., for the purchase of technological equipment - 131,3 mln. rub.

The inspectors were shown the entire facility, answered all the questions and even allowed to take pictures on two floors of the transmitting center, where there was no technological equipment. Following the results of the inspection, they reported to the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States that "the probability of using the Krasnoyarsk station as a missile defense radar is extremely low."

The Americans regarded such openness as an “unprecedented” case, and their report provided trumps for Soviet negotiators on this topic.

However, at a meeting of the USSR Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze with US Secretary of State James Baker in Wyoming 22 – 23 September September 1989, the consent of the Soviet leadership was announced to eliminate Krasnoyarsk radar without preliminary conditions. Subsequently, in his speech at the Supreme Soviet of the USSR 23 in October 1989, Shevardnadze, referring to the question of the Krasnoyarsk radar station, argued this as follows: “We have dealt with this station for four years. We were accused of being in violation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Not immediately the country's leadership became aware of the whole truth. ”

According to him, it turns out that the leadership of the USSR had never before known about a possible violation. The refutation of this fact gives Kornienko in his memoirs, arguing that “Shevardnadze simply told a lie. I myself reported to him the true story of the Krasnoyarsk radar station back in September 1985 of the year, before going to the USA, while calling the Assistant Minister the number of the official document for 1979 year on this issue. ” It also reveals the true essence of the document. The decision to build a radar station - a missile attack warning system in the Krasnoyarsk region, and not much further north, in the Norilsk region (which would be in line with the ABM Treaty) was made by the country's leadership for reasons of cost savings on its construction and operation. At the same time, the opinion of the leadership of the General Staff, recorded in the document, that the construction of this radar station in the Krasnoyarsk region would give the United States formal grounds to accuse the USSR of violating the ABM treaty was ignored. An important argument of supporters of such a decision was that the United States also acted in violation of the Treaty, deploying similar radars in Greenland and the United Kingdom, that is, outside of their national territory.

In 1990, the dismantling of the radar station began, the costs of which were estimated at over 50 million rubles. Only for the removal of equipment it took 1600 cars, several thousand carloads were completed to the Abalakovo loading station.

Thus, the easiest decision was made that did not require any efforts in upholding national interests - Mikhail Gorbachev and Eduard Shevardnadze simply donated to Krasnoyarsk radar and did not cause this by similar actions by the United States in relation to their radar stations in Greenland and Great Britain. In this regard, Kornienko emphasizes that a very accurate assessment of Shevardnadze’s behavior was given by the New York Times shortly after his departure from the post he held. “The American negotiators,” the newspaper wrote, “admit that they were spoiled in those days when very helpful Mr. Shevardnadze was the foreign minister and every controversial issue seemed to be solved in such a way that the Soviets were inferior to 80% and the Americans were inferior to 20” .


In 1985, for the first time, the Soviet Union declared its readiness to go for an 50-percent mutual reduction of nuclear weapons. All subsequent Soviet-American negotiations on the elaboration of the Treaty on the Limitation and Reduction of Strategic Offensive Arms (START-1) were conducted in conjunction with the ABM Treaty.

In the memoirs of Marshal of the Soviet Union Sergey Fedorovich Akhromeyev, it is stated that “it is on the basis of such firm linkage of the upcoming reductions of strategic offensive arms with the fulfillment by both parties of the 1972 ABM Treaty of the Year Sergey Leonidovich Sokolov and the Chief of the General Staff then agreed to such significant changes in our position” .

And here she found a scythe on a stone. As a result, the Soviet side hardly managed to fix in the START-1 Treaty the inviolability of preserving the ABM Treaty only in the form of a unilateral statement.

The mood of the Americans to quickly break strategic parity intensified even more after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In the 1992 year, the first year of Boris Yeltsin’s presidency, the START-2 Treaty was concluded. This treaty provided for the elimination of all ICBMs with separable warheads of individual guidance, which in the USSR constituted the basis of the strategic nuclear potential, the subsequent ban on the creation, production and deployment of such missiles. The total number of nuclear warheads on all strategic carriers of both sides decreased threefold. In response to the US withdrawal from the 1972 ABM Treaty of the Year, Russia withdrew from START-2, which was subsequently replaced with the SNP Treaty of 24 of May 2002.

So the Americans, step by step, went to their intended goal. Moreover, the threat of the post-Soviet nuclear potential began to be perceived by the United States at a minimum level. Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book “Choice. World domination or global leadership ”stresses that Russian missiles“ have fallen into the sphere of attention of American services for dismantling weapons, because the United States has begun to provide money and methods to ensure the safe storage of the once terrifying Soviet nuclear warheads. The transformation of the Soviet nuclear potential into an object served by the American defense system testified to the extent to which the elimination of the Soviet threat became a fait accompli.

The disappearance of the Soviet call, which coincided with an impressive demonstration of the capabilities of modern American military equipment during the Gulf War, naturally led to the restoration of public confidence in America’s unique power. ” After the "victory" in the Cold War, America felt again invulnerable and, moreover, possessing global political power. And in American society an opinion was formed on the exclusivity of America, as the last US presidents have repeatedly stated. "A city cannot be hidden on top of a mountain." (Matthew's Gospel, Chapter 5).

Previously, the ABM Treaty and the START Agreement were a recognition that after the Caribbean crisis, Americans were overwhelmingly aware that the safety of America in the nuclear age was no longer exclusively in their hands. Therefore, to ensure equal security, it was necessary to negotiate with a dangerous adversary, who was also imbued with an understanding of mutual vulnerability.

The issue of US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty accelerated after September 11, when the twin towers in New York were subject to air attack. In this wave of public opinion, the Bill Clinton administration, and then George W. Bush, began work on creating a national missile defense system to address concerns, mainly, as stated, the threat of attack from "rogue states" such as Iran or the North. Korea. In addition, the advantages of missile defense were defended by interested circles associated with the aerospace industry. Technically innovative defense systems, designed to eliminate the brutal reality of mutual vulnerability, looked, by definition, an attractive and timely solution.

In December 2001, US President George W. Bush announced his withdrawal (after six months) from the ABM Treaty, and thus the last obstacle was removed. Thus, America emerged from the established order, creating a situation reminiscent of a “one-gate game,” when the opposing gates are completely impenetrable due to the strong defense and weakness of an opponent without an offensive potential. But by this decision, the United States once again spun the flywheel of the strategic arms race.

In 2010, the START-3 agreement was concluded. Russia and the United States are reducing nuclear warheads by a third and more than twice the strategic carriers. At the same time, the United States, in the course of its conclusion and ratification, took all actions to remove any obstacles that stand in the way of creating an "impenetrable" global missile defense system.

Basically, the traditional dilemmas of the 20th century remained unchanged in the 21st century. The force factor is still one of the decisive in international politics. True, they are undergoing qualitative changes. After the end of the Cold War, a victorious-paternalistic approach to relations with Russia prevailed in the United States and in the West as a whole. Such an approach meant the inequality of the parties, and relations were built depending on the extent to which Russia was ready to follow in the wake of the United States in foreign affairs. The situation was aggravated even more by the fact that for many years this line of the West did not meet with opposition from Moscow. But Russia rose from its knees and reaffirmed itself as a great world power, restored the defense industry and the power of the Armed Forces and, finally, spoke in its own voice in international affairs, insisting on observing military and political balance as a prerequisite for world security.
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  1. cap
    cap 9 October 2016 16: 15
    Russia rose from its knees and reaffirmed itself as a great world power, restored the defense industry and the power of the Armed Forces, and finally spoke in its own voice in international affairs, insisting on maintaining military and political balance as a prerequisite for security in the world.

    This is what it led to. laughing
    Even the pupils parted in different directions. Is medicine powerless?
    1. antivirus
      antivirus 17 January 2017 10: 09
      Medic is omnipotent. she gave a chance to live (lady)
  2. Operator
    Operator 9 October 2016 17: 32
    The main thing in modern military potential is an offensive nuclear missile weapon:
    - intercontinental ballistic missiles;
    - medium-range missiles;
    - operational tactical missiles.

    And missile defense is a means to ensure the evacuation of the military-political leadership of the country in the first quarter of an hour of a nuclear conflict and no more.

    Offensive missiles with nuclear warheads will take off before the enemy missiles fly up, and intercepting warheads accompanied by false targets and maneuvering at hypersonic speed in the conditions of electromagnetic radiation from nuclear explosions is impossible by definition.
  3. Aviator_
    Aviator_ 9 October 2016 21: 46
    It, of course, has done some retrospective analysis by the author, but where is the state of the agreements voiced at the moment? What are the Americans doing, what did they come from at the time of writing? The last paragraph - some common words. A brief summary is not enough. Raw article, I put a minus.
  4. antivirus
    antivirus 15 October 2016 17: 27
    few comments and it says:
    1 more interesting what life has dedicated, not the life of the country
    2 casuistry (including tsyfir from Kosygin-Gaidar-Glazyev-Siluanov) is not our forte
    3. The belief in the possibilities of science is great
    4 and Gl - it is more difficult to restrain the development of the enemy (probable) than to develop oneself (Gl - the chatter of diplomats "to destroy the enemy's plans")
    5 "Chatter" is based on the basis of economics (how the plumber "Uncle Kolya" works)
    And 6-8 more points can be added, but this is against the rules of modern "bookkeepers" of the bubble
    The system however ...