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US Reprehensibly Inciting New Global Arms Race

Strategic Culture Foundation | August 23, 2019

Russia and China are right to condemn the testing this week of an INF-busting new missile by the US. Washington is brazenly jeopardizing global security under the usual cynical guise of “defense”.

Washington launched a ground-based cruise missile off the coast of California. It was reportedly a Tomahawk-type nuclear-capable warhead, but the Pentagon said it was conventionally armed. The projectile apparently succeeded in hitting its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight. The testing of such a missile would have been banned by the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty which the US officially withdrew from on August 2.

The INF, first signed in 1987, banned the testing and deployment of missiles within the range of 500-5,500 kms.

It is inconceivable that the latest weapon could not have been in the long-term works for development prior to the three-week period since the INF was abandoned. In others words, the abrogation of the treaty was long-anticipated by Washington, which belies US claims over recent months that it was crashing out of the INF due to alleged Russian violations. The US wanted out of the treaty. Now that it is freed from restriction, the prompt deployment of the cruise weapon off California seems to confirm the ulterior agenda.

Previously, Pentagon chief Mark Esper indirectly admitted this ulterior agenda when he told Senate hearings that the purpose for scrapping the INF was for the US to be able to confront China.

This week Esper said the missile testing was aimed at sending Beijing a message that the “US is capable of deterring China’s bad behavior”.

So, let’s have some honesty here. Washington just ripped up an important arms-control treaty for global security, not because of alleged Russian violations, but rather because the US wants to give itself a free hand to expand its short and medium-range arsenal to challenge China.

Indeed, Esper also remarked during a recent trip to Australia that the US intends to deploy INF-type ground-based missiles in Asia.

Admittedly, China is reckoned to have an arsenal of short and medium-range missiles. Beijing was not a party to the INF, so technically it is not in breach of its restrictions. But a crucial distinction is that such Chinese weapons do not pose a threat to the US mainland. Whereas US intentions of moving similar ballistic warheads to land bases in Asia do pose an imminent threat to China, as well as to Russia.

The US and its NATO allies claim they do not want to start a new global arms race. Washington says it is not planning to deploy INF-type warheads in Europe. However, the type of launcher used this week and which is already deployed in Romania and, it is believed, in Poland as well, could be used sometime in the near future to fire nuclear-capable missiles at Russia.

Washington is thus recklessly shifting the balance of power and undermining the global architecture for security against nuclear war.

Both Russia and China have deplored the risk of a new arms race being incited by the US.

Perhaps this kind of arms race is exactly what Washington is seeking, despite claims to the contrary. The nefarious calculation is that Russia and China will be diverted from economic development by being forced into responding in kind to new threats from the US.

After all, with its presumed license to rack up never-ending national debt, American strategic planners may feel that they can impose crippling economic costs on geopolitical rivals Russia and China.

The Chinese government said it best this week when it commented that the US “must give up its Cold War mentality”.

The endemic premise in Washington is that Russia, China and other states are mortal threats to the US. The official American view of the world is relentlessly paranoid about enemy states, which are allegedly harboring malign designs to the destroy the US.

Of course such cynical, nihilistic thinking is necessitated by the fundamental operating need of US capitalism and its addiction to the military-industrial complex. War is good, peace is bad, so goes the Orwellian American credo, albeit never outrightly stated as such. If the US were to somehow make peace with the world and enter into normal friendly international relations, then its $700-billion-plus annual spending on the military would cease to exist from lack of “justification”, and with that would follow the calamitous implosion of its militarized capitalist economy.

An arms race for the US state planners is like finding a drug-fix for a junkie. It is damnable that Washington is tearing up arms control treaties and jeopardizing global security in order to gratify its dysfunctional systematic dependence on insecurity, tension, conflict and ultimately war.

The undoing of arms controls treaties by the US, first the ABM in 2002, then the INF this year, next perhaps the New Start treaty expiring in 2021, is reprehensible. But what is more reprehensible is the underlying ideology that impels that. American citizens have to address that root ideological disease, otherwise the world will continually be in peril of war.

August 23, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Banned missile test reveals all you need to know about US foreign policy

By Darius Shahtahmasebi | RT | August 21, 2019

A recent missile test confirmed by the Pentagon is stoking fears of a newly established arms race which would include, among others, Russia and China.

On August 18, North Korea tested a previously banned ground-launch missile with a range of over 500km, sending the entire world into an enormous, frenzied panic. Oh no, it was the United States which in fact tested the missile to the sound of crickets over Western media discourse.

The missile in question was likely a Tomahawk missile (at a cost of at least $1.4 million per missile, but then again you can’t put a price on wanton death and destruction), which is typically launched from ships and submarines – as we saw in Trump’s infamous April 2017 Syria strike.

It sounds like a waste of money (to me, anyway) but there’s a reason why Tomahawks cost a fortune. According to Popular Mechanics, a modern-day Tomahawk is guided by GPS and has the capacity to store coordinates for several targets. If a primary target was destroyed by friendly strikes, it can “take a picture of the damage done and loiter nearby until planners decide to re-attack the target or send the missile to attack an alternate.”

I think this is what some commentators are referring to when they speak of US weapons systems as being more “humanitarian” than its adversarial counterparts. One day it may even wait while you finish your meal before it decides to rain down on you and your family.

Under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, weapons with a range between 500km (310 miles) and 5,500km (3,417 miles) were banned. As we know, the US ripped up the treaty in spectacular fashion and within weeks began escalating tensions right across the geopolitical chessboard. Analysts are right to fear that these events are kick-starting a new cold war and arms race.

Despite nonsensical claims that Donald Trump was elected to represent Russian President Vladimir Putin’s interests in the United States, this move is a colossal slap in the face of Russia-US relations. This is in part due to the use of the Mark 41 Vertical Launching System, as these launchers are positioned at US missile defense sites in Poland and Romania.

This positioning was already seen as a violation of the INF Treaty. In 2016, Putin issued a direct warning against the sequence of events which continues to unfold before our eyes, saying at the time:

“They say [the missile systems] are part of their defense capability, and are not offensive, that these systems are aimed at protecting them from aggression. It’s not true… the strategic ballistic missile defense is part of an offensive strategic capability, [and] functions in conjunction with an aggressive missile strike system.”

“How do we know what’s inside those launchers? All one needs to do is reprogram [the system], which is an absolutely inconspicuous task,” Putin added, claiming that essentially, a ‘defensive’ missile system can very quickly become an offensive system.

This is further compounded by the fact that the Pentagon claimed the missile was “conventionally configured” – in other words, not nuclear-equipped. But it wouldn’t take a genius to see how the US military could eventually begin firing nuclear-equipped missiles at similar length.

And don’t get me started on the hypocrisy of Washington’s actions. While repeatedly denouncing North Korea for launching missiles, the US (and it’s media arm) are seemingly quiet about the fact that the US not only is testing missiles that could pulverise North Korea, but that the US is one of the only nations in the world that actively tests missiles and deploys them for practical use in a number of theatres. North Korea – currently bombing no one – is branded as a rogue threat to global security, while the US, which, generally speaking, bombs more countries than can be counted on one hand, is allowed to exit treaties and test intermediate range missiles all with free reign.

Of course, Russia was not naïve enough to think that these events were not going to unfold. Russia had already suspected that the US would quit the INF Treaty, and the speed with which it has begun testing banned missiles seems to give Russian officials the impression that these tests were in the pipeline for some time.

It is difficult to see how all of this fits in with Trump’s view of himself as the world’s best dealmaker, and the extent to which these are all just ploys for him to create new deals. Just as Trump has used maximum pressure on Iran to try to forcibly drag Tehran to the negotiating table (presumably, to establish a new deal which includes, for example, Iran’s missile tests), there are more than enough indications that one of Trump’s aims is to draw up a new treaty which would include Beijing, as well. Beijing, of course, is not having any of this proposal.

As I wrote two weeks ago, the US likely abandoned the INF Treaty because it placed no constraints on China, examining statements such as this one from Defense Secretary Mark Esper, that “80 percent plus of their [Beijing’s] inventory is intermediate range systems, so that shouldn’t surprise them that we would want to have a like capability.”

At the time, a Sydney-based think tank released a pretty damning report concluding that China’s “growing arsenal of accurate long-range missiles poses a major threat to almost all American, allied and partner bases, airstrips, ports and military installations in the Western Pacific.”

As if the US required further support for the idea that it needs to boost its missile capabilities, the report further stated that: “As these facilities could be rendered useless by precision strikes in the opening hours of a conflict, the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] missile threat challenges America’s ability to freely operate its forces from forward locations throughout the region.”

I imagine some of you are by now growing tired of listening to me blaming most geopolitical problems on the United States, but in all honesty, it simply becomes too easy after a while. North Korea is a perfect example. According to Trump himself, Kim Jong-un has said he will stop missile-testing if the US stops its joint military drills with South Korea. This is something many of us have said countless times, but no one will listen.

So, in most cases, you have the US instigating the problem, the US continuing the problem, and most importantly, the US reneging on its word multiple times and exiting agreements left and right, and the rest of the world is left to its own devices to determine how best to move forward.

Recently revealed documents have quite clearly established that the US made multiple promises to the Soviet Union that NATO would expand “not one inch eastward.” NATO not only continues to expand, but so too might its intermediate range missile capabilities as happily provided by the US directly on Russia’s border.

Also on rt.com:

‘One possible conclusion’: US banned-missile test apparently in works long before leaving INF

August 21, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

‘We don’t fall for provocations’: Moscow won’t jump the gun after US missile test, says deputy FM

RT | August 20, 2019

Russia will not fall for US “provocations” and be dragged into an “expensive arms race,” a senior diplomat said. Washington had earlier test-fired a cruise missile that was banned under the now-defunct INF Treaty.

The Pentagon’s recent cruise missile test is “regretful” as it shows that “the US has clearly embarked on a path of inciting military tensions,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said.

Over the weekend, the US test-fired a ground-based cruise missile that hit a target more than 500km away. Such weapons would have been banned under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which outlawed all ground-based missiles with the range of 500km to 5,500km, as well as their launchers. Washington officially withdrew from the agreement earlier this month, citing alleged violations by Russia, and Moscow followed suit.

Ryabkov said that the new test by the US proves that it was actually the Pentagon that has been secretly violating the INF Treaty. “There can’t be more striking and obvious proof that the US has been developing such systems for a long time,” he told reporters, adding that Moscow will not jump the gun in response.

“We have been assuming this turn of events. We will not allow ourselves to be dragged into an expensive arms race.”

“We don’t fall for provocations.”

The diplomat reiterated that if Russia ever obtains missiles that were previously banned under the INF Treaty, it will not deploy them unless the US does so first.

During his trip to France on Monday, President Vladimir Putin had said that if short- and mid-range missile systems are “produced by the US,” Moscow will do the same. Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said that Russia will deploy such missiles only if Washington does so in Europe or Asia-Pacific.

August 21, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , | 1 Comment

New US Pentagon Chief – Vested Interest in War & Conflict

Strategic Culture Foundation | July 19, 2019

Mark Esper is expected to be confirmed in coming days as the new US Secretary of Defense. His appointment is awaiting final Congressional approval after customary hearings this week before senators. The 55-year-old nominee put forward by President Trump was previously a decorated Lieutenant Colonel and has served in government office during the GW Bush administration.

But what stands out as his most conspicuous past occupation is working for seven years as a senior lobbyist for Raytheon, the US’ third biggest military manufacturing company. The firm specializes in missile-defense systems, including the Patriot, Iron Dome and the Aegis Ashore system (the latter in partnership with Lockheed Martin).

As Defense Secretary, Esper will be the most senior civilian executive member of the US government, next to the president, on overseeing military policy, including decisions about declaring war and deployment of American armed forces around the globe. His military counterpart at the Pentagon is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, currently held by Marine General Joseph Dunford who is expected to be replaced soon by General Mark Milley (also in the process of senate hearings).

Esper’s confirmation hearings this week were pretty much a rubber-stamp procedure, receiving lame questioning from senators about his credentials and viewpoints. The only exception was Senator Elizabeth Warren, who slammed the potential “conflict of interest” due to his past lobbying service for Raytheon. She said it “smacks of corruption”. Other than her solitary objection, Esper was treated with kid gloves by other senators and his appointment is expected to be whistled through by next week. During hearings, the former lobbyist even pointedly refused to recuse himself of any matters involving Raytheon if he becomes the defense boss.

As Rolling Stone magazine quipped on Esper’s nomination, “it is as swampy as you’d expect”.

“President Trump’s Cabinet is already rife with corruption, stocked full of former lobbyists and other private industry power players who don’t seem to mind leveraging their government positions to enrich themselves personally. Esper should fit right in,” wrote Rolling Stone.

The linkage between officials in US government, the Pentagon and private manufacturers is a notorious example of “revolving door”. It is not unusual, or even remarkable, that individuals go from one sector to another and vice versa. That crony relationship is fundamental to the functioning of the “military-industrial complex” which dominates the entire American economy and the fiscal budget ($730 billion annually – half the total discretionary public spend by federal government).

Nevertheless, Esper is a particularly brazen embodiment of the revolving-door’s seamless connection.

Raytheon is a $25 billion company whose business is all about selling missile-defense systems. Its products have been deployed in dozens of countries, including in the Middle East, as well as Japan, Romania and, as of next year, Poland. It is in Raytheon’s vital vested interest to capitalize on alleged security threats from Iran, Russia, China and North Korea in order to sell “defense” systems to nations that then perceive a “threat” and need to be “protected”.

It is a certainty that Esper shares the same worldview, not just for engrained ideological reasons, but also because of his own personal motives for self-aggrandizement as a former employee of Raytheon and quite possibly as a future board member when he retires from the Pentagon. The issue is not just merely about corruption and ethics, huge that those concerns are. It is also about how US foreign policy and military decisions are formulated and executed, including decisions on matters of conflict and ultimately war. The insidiousness is almost farcical, if the implications weren’t so disturbing, worthy of satire from the genre of Dr Strangelove or Catch 22.

How is Esper’s advice to the president about tensions with Russia, Iran, China or North Korea, or any other alleged adversary, supposed to be independent, credible or objective? Esper is a de facto lobbyist for the military-industrial complex sitting in the Oval Office and Situation Room. Tensions, conflict and war are meat and potatoes to this person.

During senate hearings this week, Esper openly revealed his dubious quality of thinking and the kind of policies he will pursue as Pentagon chief. He told credulous senators that Russia was to blame for the collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. That equates to more Raytheon profits from selling defense systems in Europe. Also, in a clumsy inadvertent admission he advised that the US needs to get out of the INF in order to develop medium-range missiles to “counter China”. The latter admission explains the cynical purpose for why the Trump administration unilaterally ditched the INF earlier this year. It is not about alleged Russian breaches of the treaty; the real reason is for the US to obtain a freer hand to confront China.

It is ludicrous how blatant a so-called democratic nation (the self-declared “leader of the free world”) is in actuality an oligarchic corporate state whose international relations are conducted on the basis of making obscene profits from conflict and war.

Little wonder then than bilateral relations between the US and Russia are in such dire condition. Trump’s soon-to-be top military advisor Mark Esper is not going to make bilateral relations any better, that’s for sure.

Also at a precarious time of possible war with Iran, the last person Trump should consult is someone whose corporate cronies are craving for more weapons sales.

July 19, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

The « American Party » within the institutions of the European Union

By Manlio Dinucci | Voltairnet | March 20, 2019

« Russia can no longer be considered as a strategic partner, and the European Union must be ready to impose further sanctions if it continues to violate international law » – this is the resolution approved by the European Parliament on 12 Mars with 402 votes for, 163 against, and 89 abstentions [1]. The resolution, presented by Latvian parliamentarian Sandra Kalniete, denies above all any legitimacy for the Presidential elections in Russia, qualifying them as « non-democratic », and therefore presenting President Putin as a usurper.

She accuses Russia not only of « violation of the territorial integrity of Ukraine and Georgia », but also the « intervention in Syria and interference in countries such as Libya », and, in Europe, of « interference intended to influence elections and increase tensions ». She accuses Russia of « violation of the arms control agreements », and shackles it with the responsibility of having buried the INF Treaty. Besides this, she accuses Russia of « important violations of human rights in Russia, including torture and extra-judicial executions », and « assassinations perpetrated by Russian Intelligence agents by means of chemical weapons on European soil ».

After these and other accusations, the European Parliament declared that Nord Stream 2 – the gas pipeline designed to double the supply of Russian gas to Germany across the Baltic Sea – « increases European dependence on Russian gas, threatens the European interior market and its strategic interests […] and must therefore be ended ».

The resolution of the European Parliament is a faithful repetition, not only in its content but even in its wording, of the accusations that the USA and NATO aim at Russia, and more importantly, it faithfully parrots their demand to block Nord Stream 2 – the object of Washington’s strategy, aimed at reducing the supply of Russian energy to the European Union, in order to replace them with supplies coming from the United States, or at least, from US companies. In the same context, certain communications were addressed by the European Commission to those of its members [2], including Italy, who harboured the intention to join the Chinese initiative of the New Silk Road. The Commission alleges that China is a partner but also an economic competitor and, what is of capital importance, « a systemic rival which promotes alternative forms of governance », in other words alternative models of governance which so far have been dominated by the Western powers.

The Commission warns that above all, it is necessary to « safeguard the critical digital infrastructures from the potentially serious threats to security » posed by the 5G networks furnished by Chinese companies like Huawei, and banned by the United States. The European Commission faithfully echoes the US warning to its allies. The Supreme Allied Commander in Europe, US General Scaparrotti, specified that these fifth generation ultra-rapid mobile networks will play an increasingly important role in the war-making capacities of NATO – consequently no « amateurism » by the allies will be allowed.

All this confirms the influence brought to bear by the « American Party », a powerful transversal camp which is orienting the policies of the EU along the strategic lines of the USA and NATO.

By creating the false image of a dangerous Russia and China, the institutions of the European Union are preparing public opinion to accept what the United States are now preparing for the « defence » of Europe. The United States – declared a Pentagon spokesperson on CNN – are getting ready to test ground-based ballistic missiles (forbidden by the INF Treaty buried by Washington), that is to say new Euromissiles which will once again make Europe the base and at the same time, the target of a nuclear war.

March 26, 2019 Posted by | Russophobia | , , | Leave a comment

Former UN Arms Inspector: Europe as Much to Blame for Demise of INF Treaty as US

Sputnik –  06.03.2019

WASHINGTON – The European member nations of NATO are as much to blame for the destruction of the intermediate Nuclear-Forces (INF) Treaty as the Trump administration, former United Nations Chief Weapons Inspector on Iraq Scott Ritter told Sputnik on Tuesday.

“Europe is as much to blame for the demise of the INF Treaty as is the US,” Ritter said. “NATO’s slavish echoing of the US accusations void of any demonstrable proof that the US claims had any validity provided the diplomatic cover the US needed to proceed to withdraw from the treaty.”

On Monday, the Kremlin press service said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had signed a decree suspending Russia’s obligations under the INF Treaty until the United States resumes its compliance with the agreement. Putin’s decree came into effect on the day it was signed.

The United States formally suspended its obligations under the INF Treaty last month and gave Russia six months to comply with its demands, prompting Russia to do the same.

Putin said Moscow did not want a costly arms race but ruled out any new talks on arms controls, saying all earlier proposals remained on the table.

Ritter pointed out that the Trump administration had falsely accused Russia of being in violation of the INF Treaty.

“The US demands vis-à-vis the 9M729 missile were unreasonable. The missile had not been demonstrated to be in violation of the INF Treaty. US accusations were not backed up with any evidence that corroborated the claimed violations,” he said.

There were measures that could have been taken to ascertain whether the 9M729 was in compliance with the INF Treaty, such as a technical inspection of the missile itself, Ritter pointed out. However, the US government refused to pursue those options, he said.

Instead, the US government declared “the Russians to be non-compliant, and demanding that the 9M729 be destroyed. This was an unrealistic and unreasonable demand, purposefully designed to prompt a Russian refusal and as such trigger a US withdrawal — which was the goal all along,” he said.

The US already had the physical infrastructure in place to deploy INF systems in Europe. The Mk 41 Aegis Ashore sites in Poland and Romania could be modified to fire Tomahawk cruise missiles with little effort, Ritter pointed out.

“It seems NATO has little or no institutional memory … NATO doesn’t seem to have woken up to this reality, and the fact that these facilities are in two nations that welcome this kind of anti-Russian provocation means that local protests are unlikely,” he said.

If the US seeks to develop a new INF-type system along the lines of the former Pershing II missile, then the issue will become more complicated, Ritter cautioned.

“It is unlikely any European nation would allow a new INF system to be deployed on its soil, and the consensus-driven reality of NATO is such that getting unanimous consent for such deployment is unlikely,” he said.

Europe was given a reprieve from the reality of living under the threat of imminent nuclear destruction by the INF Treaty, but that era has now ended, Ritter warned.

“Now they will once again know what that nightmare is like. Europe will need to relearn the lessons from the 1980s. The INF Treaty was a unique agreement forged out of the reality of US-Soviet arms control talks during the height of the Cold War. This environment is not likely to be replicated,” he said.

It was unrealistic to think the INF Treaty could be brought back to life, Ritter explained.

“Any effort to create a new treaty vehicle involving China, India, Pakistan, etc. would have to be linked to US and Russian strategic weapons as well. This kind of broad-based multilateral approach to nuclear arms control is virtually impossible to consider under current global conditions,” he said.

In this Aug. 29, 2017, file photo, Japan Air Self-Defense Force demonstrates a training to utilize the PAC-3 surface to air interceptors at the U.S. Yokota Air Base on the outskirts of Tokyo

Moreover, without the INF Treaty, it is likely that the New START Treaty will be scrapped as well, Ritter pointed out.

“There is not the kind of diplomatic foundation for meaningful arms control talks between Russia and the US, and one is not likely to exist while Trump remains president,” he said.

Ritter was one of the first INF inspectors and was assigned to the Votkinsk Portal Monitoring Facility from June 1988-July 1990. He also carried out other INF inspections, as well as handled other treaty-related tasks.

See also:

Japan to Host US Missiles Despite Russian Claim That They Violate the INF Treaty

March 6, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , , | Leave a comment

Tulsi Gabbard presents bill to stop Trump from pulling out of INF treaty

RT | February 15, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard has introduced a bill to Congress which would prevent President Donald Trump from withdrawing the US from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

Speaking at a press conference on Friday morning, Gabbard said that Trump’s decision to pull out of the 1988 treaty was “reckless,” was “exacerbating a new Cold War” with Russia, and could spark another arms race.

“Walking away from this agreement doesn’t solve our problems, it makes them worse. It doesn’t bring us closer to peace, it moves us closer to war,” she said.

Gabbard said she was introducing the bill, called the “INF Treaty Compliance Act,” not only to prevent the escalation of a new Cold War, but to “stop more American taxpayer dollars from being wasted on military adventurism that makes our people and our country less safe.”

She said that rather than scrapping the treaty, the US should be working to expand it and bring in other countries, including China.

The bill would prohibit “a single taxpayer dollar from being used for weapons that would breach the treaty,” she said.

The bill is co-sponsored by three of Gabbard’s House colleagues including freshman congresswoman Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Both Washington and Moscow have repeatedly accused each other of violating the terms of the nuclear pact — and earlier this month, Russia said it would quit the treaty in a “mirror response” to Trump’s decision.

February 15, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , | 2 Comments

Hillary Clinton: Trump’s INF Treaty Withdrawal is “Gift to Putin”

Sputnik – 07.02.2019

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington would suspend its obligations under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and begin a six-month withdrawal process. The following day Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Moscow was providing a mirror response.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has slammed the Trump administration’s decision to pull out from the INF Treaty as a “gift to [Vladimir] Putin”.

Speaking at an event hosted by Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and its Institute of Politics and Public Service on Wednesday night, she claimed that the current administration withdrew “without really holding Putin accountable for his cheating on the treaty”.

“I think there is agreement, it started in the Obama administration, that the Russians were not only developing intermediate-range capacity, but deploying it — and so, when that happens… it seems to me that you want to do some public diplomacy. We clearly have pictures and we clearly know a lot about their cheating, and we should have done a better job in making it abundantly clear, not only to the American people but the Russian people, and Europeans, and others who are on the front lines, that the Russians were evading responsibilities in the INF”, Clinton said.

She went on to tell the crowd that instead of demanding talks on the matter, the US decided to pull out, and claimed that Russia was going “to go forward and develop even more of these” weapons.

Looking at the situation from a global perspective, Clinton suggested that the world could face some bleak prospects following the collapse of the landmark treaty:

“It increases the unpredictability, and I believe the danger, that can come from throwing around more missiles and weapons of all kinds, but particularly nuclear ones, within the European theatre. […] The last thing the world needs right now is a nuclear arms race”.

Last week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Washington would be suspending its obligations under the INF Treaty starting on 2 February.

He further said that the accord would be entirely terminated if Russia doesn’t meet Washington’s demands regarding the alleged treaty violations, namely to destroy all ground-based 9M729 missiles and their launchers, as well as other associated equipment that purportedly breached the agreement.

Pompeo stated that Russia has six months to save the deal while the US goes through the process of withdrawing from it.

Shortly after the withdrawal announcement, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, during which the head of state said that Moscow was suspending its obligations under the INF Treaty in response to Washington’s move. While saying that Moscow was still open to negotiations, President Putin instructed the ministers not to initiate talks on the matter.

In addition, President Putin stressed that the use of target rockets and the deployment of Mk 41 launchers in Europe since 2014 by the United States was a direct violation of the arms control treaty and reiterated that Moscow had been fully complying with the agreement.

Putin further emphasised that notwithstanding reciprocal measures, Russia should not and would not be drawn into an arms race.

In December, the US gave Russia a 60 day warning about withdrawing from the treaty, asking Moscow to return compliance by destroying the missiles that allegedly violate the treaty. The 60 days were up at the beginning of February.

The United States has repeatedly accused Russia of violating the 1987 treaty with the development of its 9M729 ground-based missile systems (known as the SSC-8 under US classification), which Washington claimed had a range of over 1,000 km, while the agreement bans missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 km.

Moscow has vehemently denied the claims, citing a lack of proof, and stressed that the range of these weapons was 480 km, which is in full compliance of the INF.

The INF Treaty was signed by the Soviet Union and the US, and envisages the destruction of all nuclear-armed ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometres (about 300 to 3,400 miles).

February 7, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Militarism | , , , | 4 Comments

Russia rejects US demand to destroy new missile system

Press TV – January 21, 2019

Russia has rejected a US demand for Moscow to destroy a new cruise missile system, a weapon Washington alleges is in violation of the landmark Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Monday it was unacceptable for Washington to demand Moscow destroy its SSC-8/9M729 cruise missile, denying the missile system is in breach of INF.

INF was a Cold-War era treaty signed in 1987 that eliminated all nuclear and conventional missiles with ranges of 1,000–5,500 km (620–3,420 mi).

Ryabkov also said Russia has proposed putting on a demonstration of the missile for the United States, the Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.

“We are ready to show unprecedented transparency on the 9M729 missile, which alarms the Americans so much. We offered them a presentation and a briefing on the missile, which absolutely does not follow from the content of the treaty itself,” he said.

“But at the same time, we insist that the Americans take practical steps to alleviate our concerns on the Aegis Ashore systems, deployed in Romania, whose deployment is also scheduled in Poland soon.”

The statement comes after earlier in the day US disarmament ambassador Robert Wood called on Russia to “verifiably destroy” the missiles in order to save the INF treaty and accused Moscow of destabilizing global security.

Wood said the system was capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads and represented a “potent and direct threat to Europe and Asia” as it had a range of 500 to 1,500 kilometers (310-620 miles).

“Unfortunately, the United States increasingly finds that Russia cannot be trusted to comply with its arms control obligations and that its coercive and malign actions around the globe have increased tensions,” Wood told the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament.

US President Donald Trump’s administration last week rejected an offer by Moscow to save the INF treaty, claiming it could not be properly verified, setting the stage for Washington to withdraw from the pact next month.

Moscow has refuted the US allegations, pointing out that Washington has provided no proof that Russia has, in fact, violated the treaty by deploying the missiles.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that Washington’s stance on the INF jeopardizes further nuclear disarmament and the sustainability of the non-proliferation treaty.

Ties between Moscow and Washington have plummeted to levels not seen since the Cold War due to the two countries’ disputes over the crises in Ukraine and Syria and after US officials accused Russia of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.

Western countries have levied broad economic sanctions against Moscow over its support for pro-Russia forces in eastern Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia.

US intelligence agencies allege that Russia had influenced the US presidential election in November that year to help Trump get elected, an allegation that the US president and Russia have strongly denied.

January 22, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Debris of INF treaty will fall far and wide

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | January 17, 2019

The US-Russia talks in Geneva regarding the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty have ended in failure. In a final call to salvage the treaty, Moscow offered that American experts could inspect a new suspect Russian missile, which Washington has been citing as the alibi for its decision to quit the treaty, but the US point-blank rejected the offer and instead went on to reconfirm that it intends to suspend observance of the cold-war era pact with effect from February 2.

We are entering uncharted waters in regional and international security. Russia anticipates increased US deployments near its borders. In an interview with government-daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Russia’s Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said on Tuesday, “In general, our analysis shows that the American presence near our borders will grow… As for Russia’s western borders, we note the course for the growth of military presence of the US and other NATO members in their vicinity. In 2019, placement of multinational battalion tactical groups in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland will continue. At the same time, Brussels does not hide the fact that its main goal is to contain our country. The strengthening of the European segment of the US global missile defense system continues. The inauguration of the missile defense complex in Poland in addition to the already functioning one in Romania is expected in 2020.”

Equally, new faultlines are appearing. Moscow anticipates further US missile deployments to Northeast Asia – specifically, Japan. Moscow estimates that it is unrealistic to expect Japan to adopt an independent foreign policy. This geopolitical reality in Northeast Asia is in turn casting shadows on the recent improved climate in Russo-Japanese relations. (See my blog Russia tamps down the Kuril hype.)

Following the foreign-minister level talks in Moscow on Monday between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono, the latter showed reluctance to hold a joint press conference, underscoring the rapidly changing climate of ties between the two countries. Lavrov’s remarks to the media later signaled a marked toughening of the Russian stance on the territorial dispute over Kuril Islands.

Lavrov demanded an outright Japanese recognition of Russian sovereignty over all the islands in the Kuril chain as part of the outcome of World War 2, as accepted under international treaties and by the UN – “Japan’s indisputable recognition of the entirety of results of World War 2, including Russia’s sovereignty over all of the islands of the southern Kuril chain,” as Lavrov put it.

Lavrov said Japanese domestic legislation must accordingly be changed in consultation with Russia. He added, “This is our base position and without steps in this direction it is very difficult to expect movement forward on other issues (such as peace treaty).”

Evidently, in the developing post-INF treaty scenario, Japan’s security alliance with the US now becomes a major hurdle in Russo-Japanese relations. Lavrov specifically pointed a finger at this: “The 1956 Declaration was signed when Japan did not have a military alliance treaty with the US. The treaty was signed in 1960, after which our Japanese colleagues departed from the 1956 Declaration. Now that we are resuming talks on the basis of this declaration, we must consider the drastic change that has taken place in Japan’s military alliances since then. At today’s talks we devoted attention to the US efforts to develop a global missile defence system in Japan with a view to militarising that part of the world and also to the actions that the US formally justifies by citing the need to neutralise the North Korean nuclear threat. In reality, these actions are creating security risks for Russia and China.”

Interestingly, Lavrov brought in the common concern of Russia and China with regard to the US-Japan security alliance and the American missile deployments to Japan. This is a snub to Tokyo inasmuch as recently, Abe’s aide in the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (which Abe heads) had made a provocative statement that the US should be interested in concluding a treaty between Russia and Japan, as this would “strengthen the bloc” to contain China. Lavrov called it an “outrageous statement” and put across as bluntly as he could the Russian indignation over any Japanese ploy to create misperceptions regarding Russia-China relations:

“The problem is that the president of the Liberal Democratic Party is Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. We have issued a serious warning about how inappropriate such statements are. We have also inquired more broadly about how independent Japan can be in addressing any issues at all with such heavy dependence on the United States. We were assured that Japan would make decisions based on its national interests. We would like it to be that way.” (See a detailed report by China Daily titled Russia tells Japan retaking Pacific islands not on horizon.)

As much as in regard of Russia’s western borders with Europe, the Asia-Pacific also becomes a region where Moscow’s policies will be significantly influenced by the new climate in international security. This holds good for other regions, too.

Most certainly, Russia will be even more wary of any open-ended US-NATO occupation of Afghanistan. The Russian-American contestation over Turkey will become more complex. (The US missile deployment in Turkey was a core issue during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.) Again, there are reports that a massive expansion of the US bases in Qatar is unfolding (where the US Central Command is headquartered.) Qatar is a potential site for the deployment of US missile systems. Indeed, in the circumstances, Russia’s relations with Iran assume a highly strategic character. Iran’s strategic autonomy is of vital interest to Russia.

The Balkans is another region that Russian strategies will prioritize. Putin is embarking today on a visit to Serbia, which is a key ally, but where conditions may arise for a potential standoff between the West and Russia as had happened in 2014 in Ukraine. In an interview with the Serbian media, Putin came down heavily on the NATO expansion policy, which he condemned as “a misguided, destructive military and political strategy.” He accused the Alliance of “trying to strengthen its presence in the Balkans.” No doubt, a period of heightened tensions in international security lies ahead with the US decision to abandon the INF treaty.

January 17, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News, Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

States that stood up for INF Treaty have now ‘de facto blessed’ US for scrapping it – Moscow

RT | December 22, 2018

The very same nations that blasted the White House for deciding to pull out of the landmark 1987 INF Treaty have now helped to defeat the UN resolution calling for its support, the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out.

Russia expressed “disappointment” as a resolution in support of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was voted down by a narrow margin in the UN General Assembly on Friday.

Forty-three states, including China and South American countries, voted for the document drafted by Russia.

Forty-six voted against the resolution, with 78 abstaining. The US’ allies in NATO and the EU voted ‘No’ despite previously speaking in favor of keeping the arms agreement intact, the Russian Foreign Ministry noted.

These countries, especially the NATO members – contrary to their own statements about the importance of the INF Treaty – acted as its opponents.

Friday’s vote shows how the US’ allies “de facto blessed” Washington for violating the INF deal, the foreign ministry stressed.

Moscow’s envoy to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya told Rossiya 1 TV channel that prior to the vote his American counterpart, Nikki Haley, sent out a letter urging everyone to vote down the Russian draft.

As the US announced its willingness to ditch the landmark INF Treaty back in October, many European politicians defended the need to keep the existing agreement and hailed its role in nuclear disarmament. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called Washington’s decision “regrettable” as the treaty is “hugely important” to the European continent.

EU foreign affairs chief, Federica Mogherini referred to the embattled treaty as the “key” and “a fundamental pillar” to European security architecture and urged for it to be “preserved and fully implemented.”

The INF Treaty bans Moscow and Washington from developing and deploying ground-based missiles with ranges from 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Both sides accuse each other of violating its terms, and likewise deny any wrongdoing.

Two weeks ago, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to pull the US from the deal in 60 days “unless Russia returns to compliance.”

Russia, in turn, warned that the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty will trigger an arms race across the globe.

December 22, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ex-Pentagon Analyst: US INF Ultimatum Part of Plan to Boost Nuke Arms Industry

Sputnik – 06.12.2018

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration’s decision to suspend its obligations under the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty is designed to open the way for a new tidal wave of spending to satiate the US military-industrial complex, former Defense Department analyst Chuck Spinney told Sputnik.

“The [US] Military-Industrial —Congressional Complex (MICC) [is] driving the nuclear arms race that is now locking the world into a new Cold War while lowering the threshold for a hot nuclear war,” Spinney said.

US leaders want to use the withdrawal from the INF to launch even more nuclear weapons armament programs, Spinney suggested.

“What is missing from this reincarnation of past Strangelovian madness? In terms of offensive capabilities, two stand out: A new ground launched cruise missile (GLCM) and a nuclear follow-on to the Pershing II medium range ballistic missile — precisely the weapons banned by the INF treaty,” Spinney said.

However this massive nuclear modernization program was setting in motion a money stream that would continue through 2060 or perhaps even 2080, Spinney warned.

“Jobs and money will be flooding into over 400 of congressional districts as the political engineers in the MICC target the political vulnerabilities of the system of checks and balances in the United States and those of our allies with a torrent of contracts and subcontracts,” he said.

From the Russian perspective, Spinney added, the United States is sharpening its nuclear sword while strengthening is nuclear shield, which is a formula for war-fighting.

US policymakers believed they could increase the military options for fighting and winning a nuclear war by increasing the precision of their capabilities to execute and control the escalation of limited nuclear strikes, Spinney explained.

Such thinking, he added, is a return to the discredited nuclear war-fighting theories of the 1970s.

“Only this time we are sleepwalking into the same old mad theory of nuclear war-fighting without a major strategy debate,” he concluded.

The INF Treaty was signed by the Soviet Union and the United States in 1987, and prohibited either country from possessing, producing or testing ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of between 300 to 3,300 miles.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said if the United States develops weapons currently banned by the INF, Moscow would follow suit. The State Department on Tuesday said US INF obligations will be suspended in 60 days unless Russia comes into compliance. Putin said the United States has still provided zero evidence to support allegations of noncompliance.

December 6, 2018 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment