But that may be the very reason to reject the accord. In an article posted earlier this week at National Review, Keith B. Payne and Tom Scheber note that the new START agreement provides plenty of opportunities for Russian chicanery:
The treaty’s force limits leave enormous opportunity for Russian circumvention, and, according to the open Russian press, they require only the United States to make reductions — not Russia as well. The treaty omits any limitation whatsoever on nuclear cruise missiles deployed on ships or submarines at a time when Russia apparently is moving forward with such weapons. And the Russian Duma committee responsible for treaties has just indicated that New START’s force ceilings do not apply to future Russian rail-mobile ICBMs. These are large loopholes indeed.
In addition, compared to those of its predecessor, the 1991 START, New START’s verification measures are extremely weak. Among many problems, it abandons the mobile-missile verification regime of START I, including the provision for continuous monitoring at final-assembly plants for Russian mobile missiles. It virtually guarantees that we will not get useful performance data from Russian ballistic-missile flight tests, leaving us with limited insight into the performance characteristics of new Russian weapons — including such basic items as range and warhead payload. It shifts much of the burden of verification to aged National Technical Means satellites and other sensors, and allows Russia’s deployed mobile missiles to be concealed. Several Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee rightly concluded that “verification in this treaty is very weak.” Sen. Kit Bond (R., Mo.) observed, “This is one that turns President Reagan’s theory of trust but verify on its head. We will trust them even though we can’t verify it.”Obviously, these are not minor flaws. Over the past 25 years, Russia's land-based ICBM force has largely shifted from silo-based systems, to road and rail-mobile missiles. Moscow's first rail-based system, the SS-24 Scalpel, was introduced in the early 80s and remained in service for 25 years. Tracking the missile trains across Russia's vast railway network proved to be extremely difficult.