We have noted a new document published by the US Department of State and produced by Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Ford [1] where he “looks back” on Russian and Soviet compliance with arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament agreements in 1984-2020. Following the tone of the US Department of State annual report on compliance with international agreements in this area, Washington has again made an attempt to assume the role of a superior who is entitled to lecture others and evaluate their progress.

Even a cursory examination of the document shows that it can hardly be called a serious analytical report reflecting the real situation in the arms control area. As always, our American colleagues supply no evidence, other than unfounded accusations against Russia and the Soviet Union. Their assessments are biased and prejudiced.

Their motive is also obvious; the aim is to create a negative image of Russia and the Soviet Union as a “malicious violator” of its international arms control obligations and commitments and to distract the attention of the international community and the world public from the real moves, by the US, towards dismantling the system of treaties and agreements in that area that has been built over decades.

We must not forget the facts: it was the United States that destroyed the Treaty on the Limitation of Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems and the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles; pulled out from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian Nuclear Programme; and now it is going to dismantle the Open Skies Treaty. At the same time, Washington continues to undermine the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons, the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and the Comprehensive Nuclear -Test-Ban Treaty, officially declaring that it is not going to ratify it.

So the United States has neither a legal, nor a political or moral right to evaluate other states’ arms control compliance. This should be done by the relevant verification and enforcement mechanisms. In some cases, specialised international organisations have been created for this purpose. The US striving to appropriate this authority has no prospects and cannot be used as an excuse for making any assessments or conclusions.

We again urge our American colleagues to abandon the practice of “megaphone diplomacy” and focus on a substantive expert dialogue on a wide range of issues of arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation. Unreasonable public accusations verging on information aggression, something our American colleagues often indulge in, do little to achieve compromise solutions and remove the existing concerns.

Attached documents

"Russian Arms Control Compliance: A Report Card, 1984-2020" by Christopher A. Ford

Arms Control and International Security Papers, Volume 11, Number 10, June 18, 2020

(PDF - 13.1 Mb)

[1] “Russian Arms Control Compliance and the Challenge of the Next Agreement”, by Christopher Ashley Ford, Voltaire Network, 23 June 2020.