Jeffrey LewisPrague Treaty Text and Protocol

The Russians — big surprise — have released the Russian text of the New START/Prague Treaty and the Protocol. Last I heard, the Obama Administration was planning to wait until the entire packet was submitted to the Senate.

Of course, the documents are all in Russian. So, those of us who would like to be helpful are, again, reduced to working from a machine translation. Thanks almighty for Pavel Podvig.

The same thing happened this summer, when the Administration tried to sit on on the Joint Understanding, the Russians burned them, and the official copy leaked — all without action by the White House. Actually, the Russians have done this throughout the negotiation.

Every time, the White House gets caught flat-footed. What exactly is the major malfunction here?

Open note to the White House: The Russians don’t give a f*ck about your carefully managed roll-out, ok?

Upate | 11:13 am I take it all back. State has posted the Text and Protocol online. I can only assume this was the plan all along.


  1. Liviu (History)

    Maybe they were just waiting for the intern to scan the signed treaty?

    Available at DoS:

  2. MK (History)

    The administration apparently thinks that Senatorial courtesy trumps our readership. The nerve!

  3. Muskrat

    Whoa — the telemetry regime just got gutted. No encryption ban? Only limited data exchanges? I’d like to see the Telemetry annex — the devilish details must be in there. When will the annexes be available? (Are they written yet?)

  4. michael (History)

    Art.V.3 sure looks like a limitation on missile defense to me. Although I am sure the White House would respond “as our Press Release said, there are no limitations on current or future missile defense plans.” (that is, Art.V.3 does not impact “current or future” plans).

  5. FSB
  6. Distiller (History)

    So it’s out! A first quick look through the treaty and the protocols offers no surprises.

    A few remarks:

    [Preamble] — Here they talk about expanding the process to a multilateral approach. Great! Support it!

    [III/7b] — Distinguishable nuclear/non-nuclear bombers. Will we see white B-2 now? :-)

    [V/3] — No interceptors on ICBMs. Too bad! Putting either warheads or MKVs on the same launcher would have opened a couple of interesting options. Remember the Taran missile!

    [P9/1] — This confuses me somewhat. Anyway, though the language sounds like the B-1B will remain non-nuclear, in principal it could go nuclear again. Good I say! Keep the options open.

    What surprises me a bit is the lack of specific regulations for Russian bombers or installations in the Protocol. Part 9 of it features quite a few special provisions for the U.S. side.

  7. kme

    That’s a mighty fine pair of treaty-signing-chairs and treaty-signing-desk right there.

  8. nukem (History)

    Jeffrey: Easy Tiger! You and all the other pundits and talking heads will have comments and criticisms ad nauseum concerning the work we did here in Geneva. And we’re certainly all prepared for the salvo!

  9. Jeffrey Lewis (History)

    Having now read the entire treaty and protocol, I am happy to say I think you all did a very good job.

    The clever thing to say is probably that the devil is in annexes, but I don’t think that is actually the case. It’s a good treaty.

  10. Muskrat

    Hey, I wasn’t kvetching—just trying to anticipate the kinds of objections that might come up. I too think it’s a good treaty. In fact, after reading the State fact sheet on telemetry, I realize just how far we’ve moved from some of the more corrosive aspects of old START. Nice work.

  11. yousaf

    Jon Stewart on the New START and NPR.

  12. Gridlock (History)

    kme – you missed that Obama’s is 2 inches shorter (look at the square detailing at the top of the legs).

    The thought that goes into these things…

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