Wikileaks cables reportedly indicate that, consistent with its policy of selling out friends in order to curry favor with enemies, the Obama administration betrayed British military secrets to Russia as part of the New Start treaty. The Telegraph reports:
Information about every Trident missile the US supplies to Britain will be given to Russia as part of an arms control deal signed by President Barack Obama next week.
Defence analysts claim the agreement risks undermining Britain’s policy of refusing to confirm the exact size of its nuclear arsenal.
The fact that the Americans used British nuclear secrets as a bargaining chip also sheds new light on the so-called “special relationship”, which is shown often to be a one-sided affair by US diplomatic communications obtained by the WikiLeaks website. …
Although the treaty was not supposed to have any impact on Britain, the leaked cables show that Russia used the talks to demand more information about the UK’s Trident missiles, which are manufactured and maintained in the US.
Washington lobbied London in 2009 for permission to supply Moscow with detailed data about the performance of UK missiles. The UK refused, but the US agreed to hand over the serial numbers of Trident missiles it transfers to Britain.
I haven’t yet had time to read the relevant cables, but assuming the Telegraph’s reporting is accurate, this appears to be further confirmation of the Obama administration’s uniquely perverse approach to foreign policy. One also wonders: this particular betrayal happened to be documented in leaked cables, but what else did the Obama administration give up in order to persuade Russia to cooperate with the administration’s supposed diplomatic coup?
UPDATE: Ed Morrissey has more at Hot Air. The State Department says that most of the information about British missiles that it will convey to Russia under Start II is already being turned over under Start I:
This is bunk. Under the 1991 START Treaty, the U.S. agreed to notify Russia of specific nuclear cooperation with the United Kingdom, such as the transfer of SLBM’s [submarine launch ballistic missiles] to the UK, or their maintenance or modernization. This is under an existing pattern of cooperation throughout that treaty and is expected to continue under New START. We simply carried forward and updated this notification procedure to the new treaty. There was no secret agreement and no compromise of the UK’s independent nuclear deterrent.
Despite the “bunk,” this is something of a non-denial denial. Providing Russia with the unique identifiers of all Trident missiles apparently is one of the “updates” under Start II. The Wikileaks cable says that this is “more information than was disclosed under START.” The question, then, is whether such information is significant. The Telegraph quoted defense experts, including the editor of Jane’s, who said that it could be important. So the question appears to be one of degree; I don’t see a denial of the basic point that Russia used New Start to extract more information about Trident sales to the U.K. than they were getting under the original treaty. Perhaps more information will emerge that will allow us to better assess the importance of that change.