Logistics, Russia and New START: Gates Over a Barrel

BY Herschel Smith
4 years ago

From the Los Angeles Times:

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Saturday rejected claims by Senate Republicans that the New START arms reduction treaty with Russia would hamper U.S. missile defense programs and nuclear weapons modernization, warning of “significant consequences” if the Senate doesn’t ratify the accord.

He said that Russia could also respond to a failure to approve the treaty by scaling back its assistance for the war in Afghanistan. Russia has allowed the U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization to ship supplies through its territory to Afghanistan, including a recent decision to permit transport of so-called mine resistant ambush protected vehicles, the heavily armored troop carriers used to guard against hidden bombs.

“Despite what anybody says, I, as secretary of Defense, and the entire uniformed leadership of the American military believe that this treaty is in our national security interest,” Gates said, taking on claims by critics of the treaty that some in the military privately oppose the accord.

His comments to reporters after meeting with officials in Chile were part of a lobbying blitz by senior Obama administration officials to persuade the Senate to ratify the treaty, which restricts each nation to a maximum of 1,550 deployed long-distance warheads, before the end of the year.

In addition to Gates’ comments, President Obama devoted his weekend radio address to the treaty.

“Without ratification this year, the United States will have no inspectors on the ground, and no ability to verify Russian nuclear activities,” Obama said in the address.

“Without ratification, we put at risk the coalition that we have built to put pressure on Iran, and the transit route through Russia that we use to equip our troops in Afghanistan,” the president continued.

So the stated reasons for support of New START are (1) pressure on Iran, and (2) logistics through Russia.  As for Iran, it’s truly sad that this administration is still mired in the ideological framework that assumes, despite all assurances to the contrary by the radical Mullahs, that we can negotiate or pressure Iran into relinquishing their pursuit of nuclear weapons.  I guess at some point in my life (I don’t know, perhaps 2 or 3 years of age) I believed in fairy tales too, but I wasn’t leading the most powerful nation on earth at the time.

As for logistics, I’m wondering why no one has warned this administration that their choice to partner with Russia for logistics would end up dictating our foreign policy?  I’m also wondering why no alternative to the Khyber pass has been presented to this administration?

Gates and the administration look incredibly weak, with their tail in between their legs.  It’s a sad testimony to the lack of strategic, long range planning and foresight within this administration.



  • http://bit.ly/FirstContact3 Warbucks

    “Gates and the administration look incredibly weak, with their tail in between their legs. It’s a sad testimony to the lack of strategic, long range planning and foresight within this administration.”

    Seemingly true, but there are two points that cause me to pause: First point is the old ruse, we do not hold all the classified information which Gates holds and from which he operates on this strategic level. Second point is, of those alternatives to Khyber that I recall us mentioning and reviewing, (a Balkan’s route different from the Georgian route, an India-Kashmir-Afghan route) seemed somewhat incomplete, perhaps even reckless requiring huge additional resource commitments, neither of which seemed politically viable. My obvious ignorance here is profound. Even your mention of what I perceive as a third route, a Russian Route (other than Georgia?), is a surprise to me.

    In short, I apparently have failed to extract the needed information from these discussions to first understand what our current logistics routes are. You set me straight on the Pakistani NGO-truck-driver dependence, but I remain at a total loss to be able to point to a map and show someone else the balance of our supply routes.

    I do know, or think I know, that it would be a major political achievement to secure a protected Kashmir route without starting WWIII. First I need to know the facts better on what supply routes we are using right now. Second, our past discussions of creating new routes seemed totally unrealistic and fanciful vis-a-vis Pakistan-India historic & public animosities and vis-a-vis Russian-USA historic & public animosities.

    Perhaps we do not operate with all the information needed? Or, is it just me? I accept your wrath as instructive to my continuing education.

  • Pingback: “Kristol: GOP won’t filibuster START treaty…because it requires 67 votes” and related posts | News E Live

  • warlord

    We have more country’s announcing plans to go nuclear every month. the latest
    being Bolivia. At a time of increasing fear of nuclear spread, is it wise to be
    limiting the number of active war heads we possess in order to remain friends with a former world power that is exporting that same technology to country’s like Iran?
    North Korea, thanks to Pakistan, threatens war with it’s neighbors on a regular
    basis, like a drunk in a bar with a loaded pistol, and showed recently how they are building facilities for more ammunition. Reduce our capabilities when the crazies
    among us are primed to go to war and love death more than life? Our president and his Defense secretary want us to hurry and except START before some
    imaginary time elapses where Russia will not like us anymore is an attempt to gain
    some or any type of success in the foreign policy field where none has been
    shown before. Rookies looking for a score, any score, at a time when we are
    weak, to make themselves look relevant.

  • http://www.MoonofAlabama.org b

    There are only five possible routes into Afghanistan and two, through Iran and through China are currently politically not feasible. The route through Georgia is a transportation mess because one has to change ship-shore-ship-shore and so on. That leaves Pakistan and Russia as the only possible tracks especially for POL.

    Gates can hardly do anything about that.

    I discussed that a while back here: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2009/02/the-pink-route-to-afghanistan.html
    Map is here: http://www.moonofalabama.org/images2/afglog2.jpg

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    I see. A mess. It isn’t like, you know, um, it has already been happening with logistics from Iraq to Afghanistan already, you know.

    http://www.captainsjournal.com/2010/04/08/logistical-challenges-for-afghanistan/

    Something is politically infeasible because of our own stomach for it. Nothing more. To say that something is politically infeasible is to say that we don’t want to do it. It’s similar to the reason I claim that illegal immigration exists and piracy exists in the Gulf of Aden. They both exist because we want them to. There is no other reason.

    Or more properly, we want piracy and illegal immigration to exist more than we want the solution. In the case of logistics, it’s possible because it has already been done, and it would get easier. It’s politically infeasible because we want to press the reset button with Russia, not because of it being a mess. The real mess is tankers being blown up on their way through Khyber and Chaman and supply trucks strap hanging.

    http://www.captainsjournal.com/2009/12/02/the-logistical-cost-of-being-deployed/

    Try again.

  • http://bit.ly/FirstContact3 Warbucks

    b, thanks for the summary. Hershel, thanks for your links to past articles. All the maps helped. The obvious solution is through Russia. The way to get through Russia is to hire FedEx. They have all the routes “figured out” already.

    (a) The term “figured out” means, each FedEx franchisee for each district in Russia, already knows who’s palm has to be greased to move merchandise.

    (b) Selecting the Russian route insures the major detractor in the region is more than neutralized, it’s motivated to cooperate.

  • http://bit.ly/FirstContact3 Warbucks

    (c) Or, possibly Russian Coca-Cola franchise drivers.


You are currently reading "Logistics, Russia and New START: Gates Over a Barrel", entry #5785 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Logistics,Obama Administration and was published November 22nd, 2010 by Herschel Smith.

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