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ting words into the mouth of my friend over here, even he has said publicly that eventually the ABM Treaty is going to have to probably be modified. Most people who are involved in this debate would acknowledge that, except for the extreme liberals who never want to touch the treaty, who want to keep it as a cornerstone.
The bill does not call for the abrogation of the treaty. Specifically, last year we opposed an amendment which would have been allowed on the floor that would have done that.
It does give us a timeframe and it forces a new level of discussion with the Russians. You know what's startling, is the Clinton administration when they came into office, stopped discussions that were taking place that were very fruitful. They were called the Ros-Manov talks. They were taking place at the highest level between our country and the Russians on sharing defense technology.
Yeltsin came out, in, I believe it was up in Vancouver, about and said publicly that he embraced the notion of the United States and Russia working together which was a take-off on RosManov talks. Without any explanation, the Clinton administration stopped those discussions.
So actually, the Clinton administration, for the past 3 years, has moved away from a joint dialog with the Russians on missile defense and basically allowed this theory of use of the ABM Treaty as a key cornerstone to be the mainstay of our relation with Russia, which I think is ill-conceived and ill-thought-out.
Mr. SHADEGG. Let me ask a related question. One of the things you talked about was the money we had put into the defense bill, which would allow the joint work between the United States and Russia on ballistic missile defense. At the moment, why should I not be deeply concerned that if we do that, and if we develop any new technology it won't be sold or given to Iraq or some other?
Mr. WELDON. Well, that's an excellent question. The key thing here is that we show the Russians and we have to understand the mindset of the Russian people. They have been invaded 27 times in this century. They are very paranoid that again someone is going to come in and invade their homeland.
The point is that we need to convince them that this is not about gaining a strategic advantage over Russia so that we can take them over and have them become a subservient state to the United States, but rather we are very concerned about the vulnerability of the American people, especially given the fact that Russia already has an ABM system that they have had deployed for at least 15 years.
It's a case of where and we are not going to give them away technology that is, you know, supersensitive. We are talking about basic technology-sharing. And one of the programs we already have underway is the Ramos project, which we have funded with existing DOD dollars, that the Ministry of Defense has yet to give the approval of in Russia.
If the administration wants to focus some attention, they should be asking the Russians to give the approval to let their scientists work with our missile defense organization on the Ramos project. I have raised this issue three times with the Russian ambassador here, Ambassador Vorontsov, and he is trying but he is meeting with obstacles.
The point is that I think we and I will defer to Dr. Payne to elaborate on this in greater detail. I think we need to understand the political realities inside of Russia. They are in a very unstable climate right now. That's why I opposed many of my colleagues on Nunn-Lugar.
I think we have to keep this program operational, even though it doesn't sell well back in my district. I think it is important that we show the Russians that we are not about trying to stick it in their eye or to achieve some kind of strategic advantage over them, but, rather, we are out to protect our people and change the whole debate in the world from one of pointing missiles at each other, which is ridiculous in my mind, to one of defending our borders and our citizens.
Mr. SHADEGG. If I could just conclude? The last point I want to make is a combined one and that is, when I go home and explain to the people in my district that Russia has the ability to protect 80 percent of its population from an attack of this nature and we have none, they are shocked. And they look at me and say: "Why in the world do we not have one?”
I, quite frankly, heard today for the first time from Mr. Spratt, we had already spent $35 billion to try to get there. The thought that we would delay-in my opinion, the thought that we would delay an additional hour before we deploy and use the technology that we have developed with that $35 billion is beyond me. But it is particularly beyond me in the context in which it is given to us, and that is, we are told by this administration that we should rely on treaty compliance.
My wife is a school teacher. She taught me not long after I met her and as we were talking about having a family of our own, she said, John, when you have children, you need to do two things: One, you need to set rules for them, but more importantly than that, you need to be rigidly consistent in enforcing those rules, because if you don't, they will not understand which rules have meaning and which don't and when they have meaning and when they do not. And she explained to me the importance of consistency in handling children.
I believe that same situation exists in this context, where we say to Russia, well, we are regarding the ABM Treaty or ultimately, if we get there, START II, to be our bulwark of defense, for us then to simply ignore repeatedly their violations, how can we expect them to understand what our position really is?
Mr. WELDON. If I could just respond to that quickly?
Mr. WELDON. I agree with the gentleman totally. And I would just say that in terms of the Russian ABM, some coming after me may say, well, don't worry about that, it's not important. I would say to those who embrace arms control as the cornerstone of our relationship, then why shouldn't the Russians agree to dismantle their ABM system?
If they are so supportive and if the liberals of this country are so supportive of arms control agreements and mutually destroyed destruction, then convince the Russians to tear down their ABM system. But you won't hear them talk about that. They will say it's ineffective.
Let's ask the question. That might be a good question for you to ask later on.
Mr. EHRLICH. Thank you very much.
At this point, I will recognize our friend from California, Mr. Gary Condit.
Mr. CONDIT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would like to thank Mr. Weldon for being here. He has been very gracious with his time. And my comments or questions directed to him is simply to get his view and opinion. Obviously, he has studied this considerably.
My attitude is a little bit simplistic about this. This SS-25 that you have put up a poster on, Curt, it-are the Russians selling the technology or the physical?
Mr. WELDON. They initially tried to sell the actual launcher but we called them on that last year and they are now selling the technology. They are selling the space launch service right now.
But I can tell you a story of a Member of this Congress who was in Russia as a citizen in a car, and I will give you the-well, I will give you the name personally, and an SS-25 went by him with total lack of control and security over that system, a Member that's a friend of yours.
Mr. CONDIT. Well, I mean, this is sort of a populist attitude or simplistic attitude, but it just seems to me I got here in 1989. We had been here a few months, and I was approached, and we eventually passed, which I didn't support, that we had to give a lot of money to Gorbachev or he was going to fall. And the Congress gave a lot of money, and he fell. Same thing to Yeltsin. Got to give him a lot of money or he is going to fall.
My point is, is why do we give people money without conditions? Why would we say—why wouldn't we say, you can't sell this stuff, you can't sell the technology? Or why don't we buy it? I mean, are we that silly? I mean, that just doesn't sound like good business. You hand them money with no conditions.
I didn't support that because I thought we ought to buy this equipment, or we ought to at least get some agreement or conditions on the money that we sent them.
Mr. WELDON. To show you how available their equipment is, we have bought I believe it's the SA-10, which is one of the most sophisticated systems that they have, the SA-10, the SA-12. We bought it. The CIA, when they had it delivered down in Huntsville, it called—the New York Times had an editorial about it, it was so blatant. But we have one.
As a matter of fact, if you bring over the—when I was in Russia in January, I went to Roseburginia, which is the marketing arm of the Russian Government. Here is what you can buy from the Russians. If you flip through that, these are all the technologies—this is a slick marketing brochure. Just go through some of the missiles that are identified. Any of these you can buy. At all these arm shows at Abu Dhabi and the rest of the shows around the world, this is what is available for you to buy today. We cannot buy everything
And the problem is Russians need hard currency. That's why Senator Nunn and Senator Lugar were so correct and the Nunn
Lugar program helps divert them away from having to sell these arms, and that's why it's important to help them develop their energy because that will bring in the hard currency that hopefully will not have them revert to selling these arms all over the world that pose a threat to us.
Mr. CONDIT. Curt, do you agree that if we are going the give money to bail anyone out, that we ought to get some conditions
Mr. WELDON. Absolutely.
Mr. CONDIT (continuing). To buy those to keep them off the market from other people?
Mr. WELDON. Absolutely.
Mr. CONDIT. Even if maybe they are not the state-of-the-art for us?
Mr. WELDON. They should at least agree to the agreements. The arms control agreements that they are a signatory they should abide by.
Mr. CONDIT. Well, after saying that, it surprises me—I don't know if I heard this correctly, I think I did—that you don't support the Nunn-Lugar approach.
Mr. WELDON. No, I was one of the Republicans that opposed the attempt to cut it.
Mr. CONDIT. To cut?
Mr. WELDON. Now, I would have supported Mr. Solomon's amendment if it would not have been as severe as it was. I mean, he went, in my opinion—I respect Jerry-he went too far. But I think he could have accomplished what I would have supported if he would have been more specific in terms of certain agreements. But some of the things he wanted us to verify I think were really impossible to verify.
Mr. CONDIT. So, then, is it your advice that if we get one of these situations where we are told if we don't give Yeltsin or whoever money, he is going to fall, and it's going to be a threat to us, then shouldn't there be some sort of amendment on the House floor to say there are some conditions
Mr. WELDON. Oh, yes. I mean, there are conditions.
Mr. WELDON. And I think part of our problem has been that we have allowed our relationship between Russia and the United States to be totally dominated by the President and by President Yeltsin, and we have not had the parliaments involved. That's the whole reason why Speaker Gingrich has empowered this new effort with the Russian Duma so that we can begin to play a role in this process.
Mr. CONDIT. Thank you. You have been very gracious with your time and your opinions.
And I would like to yield, if I may, Mr. Chairman, the balance of my time to Mr. Spratt.
Mr. SPRATT. Just one two rejoinders.
First of all, as to H.R. 3144, I never said it violated the ABM Treaty. It did call and sanction sea-based and space-based systems
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which are beyond the treaty. It would be no violation until we actually developed and deployed them.
It also called for us to spend a year renegotiating the treaty with the Russians, and if we reached no results, to seriously consider abrogating it. And I didn't think that was prudent at this point in time. I didn't think it was a necessary step or a smart signal to send. That was my argument.
Second, as to the golash system, it's a terminal system. Notice that none of these designs you will see of any of the BMD systems we are talking about do we have a terminal layer because it is very easy to overcome, and indeed we can overcome the golash system that surrounds the city of Moscow. You simply put more warheads on, saturate it, and put penaids, too, for that matter, and we don't have—we can ask the DCI. I don't think we have very much doubt that we could overwhelm the system that's in place right now. So it is an example of what we might have spent lots of money on if we had rushed to deployment in the past.
Mr. WELDON. Just one quick response, if I might. My point withe golash system was not that it could prevent us from responding to attack, but it gives Russia a protection against a single missile that may not come from us that we don't have. That's the key point.
Mr. EHRLICH. At this point, I would recognize our friend from Florida, John Mica.
Mr. MICA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I appreciate your testimony, Mr. Weldon, and your bringing to the attention of the Congress probably one of the greatest deficiencies that we have seen in our time as far as military preparedness.
I like to go back in history and look at history. I asked the intern behind me to get a copy of the Constitution, which is contained in the Rules of the House. Its preface is the Rules of the House, and it goes back to the Constitution of 1787. The reason we came together, really, under this Constitution was because the Articles of Confederation had failed us and didn't provide for the unity, nor provide for the common defense, which is one of—the reason we came together as a country.
Then I begin to wonder if that's our obligation, and we are spending more on interest on the national debt, I guess, starting next year than we are on defense. I wonder where our priorities are?
The other thing that comes to mind, Mr. Weldon, is I have onlywell, I have been here for 30 some months, 40 months, I guess, and in that period of time we have been through Somalia at a cost of $2 to $3 billion. We are in Haiti at a cost of about $2 billion. Bosnia, the estimates are $5 to $6 billion. Rwanda cost us almost another billion. Now, I am not very good at math, but that gets me up into the $12 billion range in a very short period of time, helping people straighten out their internal affairs.
As I understood it, this system could cost-now there's different estimates—$5 to $7 billion; is that correct?
Mr. WELDON. The Air Force has a variant, using the existing Minuteman capability, that they score at $2.3 billion. The Army, General Garner, three star, just sent a letter to Floyd Spence,