Since August 1999, the US-Russian START III/ABM Treaty talks have not shown evidence of any progress. At these talks, Moscow consistently refused discussing modification of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty to permit US deployment of a limited National Missile Defense (NMD) aimed at protecting US national territory from missile attacks by potential nuclear proliferators. In turn, the United States refuses to commence formal START III negotiations until the 1993 START II agreement enters into force.
The deadlock can be explained by a variety of reasons, some unrelated to strategic arms control, including:
1. Moscow's security concerns;
2. divisions in Russia between "arms controllers" and emerging supporters of a unilateral approach to dealing with new security challenges; and
3. Moscow-Washington political disagreements and Russia's domestic electoral politics. […]