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Don't get scammed by Russia again

Proliferation: Others say Russia has been cutting corners on accepted non-proliferation standards — notably, by helping Iran and North Korea develop ballistic missiles and nuclear know-how. This is no small matter, considering the threat to America.

Indeed, the director of national intelligence sent a letter to the State Department in March 2007, stating: “We assess that individual Russian entities continue to provide assistance to Iran's ballistic-missile programs” — which implies either Kremlin involvement in, knowledge of, or failure to intervene into these activities.

Some analysts also think North Korea got Russian help in the form of key components for its April long-range-missile test. Others see Moscow's aid to the Iranian nuclear program going beyond the reactor it's building at Bushehr.

Adding to fears Obama's negotiators won't bring up these issues in the Vienna talks is the tentative deal he struck with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev on dual-use strategic-delivery systems this summer, drastically cutting U.S. subs and bombers that have conventional military roles, too. They may also throw Iran-focused, Europe-based U.S. missile defense, which the Russkies hate, under the bus in order close a deal.

Successful arms control depends on actually controlling weapons in ways that serve U.S. national-security interests, not by merely inking new pacts for the sake of concluding a deal that sounds good.

Before we rush into signing onto any more arms-control treaties, we need to get to the bottom of Russia's non-compliance with existing arms-control and non-proliferation promises.

If we don't, the Russians will have little if any incentive to correctly implement any new treaty — and every reason to find clever ways to cheat, as it looks like they're doing now, further jeopardizing our national security.

Heritage Foundation Senior Fellow Peter Brookes is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense. peterbrookes@heritage.org

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