'Having dismantled two of the three pillars of nuclear non-proliferation, the US now apparently wants to let the last one crumble as well. National Security Advisor John Bolton has said the New START is unlikely to be extended.
Bolton, a notoriously hawkish Trump adviser, was addressing the Young America’s Foundation 41st annual National Conservative Student Conference on Tuesday, when he unleashed his scathing criticism on the New START struck under the Obama administration.
Calling the landmark agreement “flawed from the beginning,” Bolton said that the deal failed to cover short-range tactical nuclear weapons and “Russian delivery systems,” without referring to any military hardware in particular.
The New START came into force in 2011 and gave the parties seven years to comply with weapons reduction targets. The deal was aimed at slashing the nuclear arsenals by a third and limiting each side to no more than 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and strategic bombers, no more than 1,550 deployed warheads, and 800 deployed and non-deployed launchers.
Earlier this year, Russian and US officials held a series of consultations regarding the fate of the treaty, which expires in two years. Until now, Washington has not given a definitive yes or no, with Bolton saying in November that the White House had not formed its position yet.
It still hasn't, Bolton reiterated on Tuesday, but New START is “unlikely to be extended.”
Read more: Bolton says ‘flawed’ New START treaty with Russia unlikely to last past 2021
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