"Pay No Attention to Those Warheads Behind the Curtain"

Today's New York Times reports that Russia has "strongly criticized Bush administration plans to store rather than destroy decommissioned nuclear warheads, suggesting that such plans would undermine the credibility of any new arms control accord.... ... An assistant secretary of defense, J. D. Crouch, told a Pentagon briefing that the United States would hold in reserve a substantial number of warheads as a 'responsive capability.' ... The testiness of the tone of Russia's statement today indicated the depth of feeling here that Washington is seeking to orchestrate a long- term advantage in nuclear weaponry, especially after Mr. Bush's decision last month to withdraw from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty of 1972. That was the first such decision in the history of nuclear arms control. 'What reduction can we talk about if the United States can go back to the Start I level in just a couple of hours?' asked Aleksei Pikayev, director of an arms control institute at the Russian Academy of Sciences. 'It looks more like swindling,' he added."