Russia will have to build up its nuclear forces if the United States fails to ratify the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty the two countries signed this year, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warns in an upcoming CNN interview.
"That's not our choice. We don't want that to happen. But this is not a threat on our part," Putin told CNN's Larry King in an interview to air Wednesday. "We've been simply saying that this is what all of us expects to happen if we don't agree on a joint effort there."
U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed the New START in April. The pact would cut each country's deployed nuclear warheads by approximately one-third, limiting each side to a maximum of 1,550 on no more than 700 launchers, and allow both nations to resume on-site inspections.
He said it would take "a very dumb nature" for the United States to ignore its own interests -- but if it does, "then we'll have to react somehow," including the deployment of new nuclear missile technology.
Obama has called ratification of the treaty an immediate priority, saying it's critical to national security and a cornerstone of U.S.-Russia relations. But it must still be approved by two-thirds of the U.S. Senate, where several leading Republicans have called for a vote to be delayed over concerns about missile defense and modernizing the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
But Putin said that without the treaty, Russia will have to arm itself against what the "new threats" posed by U.S. plans for a European-based missile defense system.
This is an all too transparent attempt at using the politics of fear to scare the American people into getting the GOP to cave.
Russia is not going to start lobbing nukes at us any time soon. Waiting until we prevent the tax hikes and pass a budget won't provoke a nuclear war, even if we have to wait until the next session of Congress in a month to begin to tackle the treaty.
It is much more of an immediate concern for our economy and our country to tackle the tax and budget issues first.