Welcome to the new arms race

From CNN (click on screenshot):


From CNN:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Friday that the US is suspending the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a key pact with Russia that has been a centerpiece of European security since the Cold War.

“Russia’s violations put millions of Europeans and Americans at greater risk,” Pompeo said, adding, “It is our duty to respond appropriately.” Pompeo, speaking from the State Department briefing room, said the US had provided “ample time” to Russia to return to compliance. “For years, Russia has violated the terms of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty without remorse,” Pompeo said.. . . The suspension, which raises concerns about a renewed arms race with Moscow and has put European allies on edge, goes into effect on Saturday. Pompeo’s announcement starts a 180-day clock to complete withdrawal unless Russia returns to compliance with the 1987 agreement.

What do we have to lose by keeping our end of the bargain? We already have enough missiles to destroy the major cities of Russia several times over, and they can’t be stopped because they’re on submarines (sea-launched nukes aren’t even covered by the treaty).

This is unlike our withdrawing from the Iran deal, where we had little to lose by withdrawing from a treaty the other side was violating. In this case, we risk an arms race, which means an increased threat of nuclear war and an increase in the already-bloated defense budget to build new missiles.

Meanwhile, Trump is trusting North Korea to get rid of its nukes should we reach an agreement, which is about the dumbest thing he’s done with respect to foreign policy.



  1. Mike
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Could the Religious nuts want to hasten Armageddon? it sure looks like it.

    • Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Some of those nuts have actually publicly taken that position.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    I am not sure what we have to lose by ditching the treaty accept to say this administration seems to have no ability to actually accomplish diplomacy of any kind and appears to have no responsibility. I would disagree on the Iran issue because I do not see that Iran violated the agreement. Our intel agencies just said the other day they were actually still in compliance. I tend to believe them.

    • Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      There was the recent post describing how an Iranian admitted that they had faked their actions to make it look like they were doing their part. They did not believe the Americans would not keep the agreement so they cheated from the very beginning.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        That is fine Mark but I am kind of picky on things like this and I will go with our professional intel from our people. There was no reason to kill this agreement other than it was Obama who made it and the pure jackass we have in charge now had no other reason to junk it. Meanwhile he plays happy with Russia and N. Korea.

        • Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

          It’s wasn’t Obama who made the treaty. It was Reagan and Gorbachev. All presidents until Trump upheld this treaty. The fact that Trump wants to play this leathal lose- lose game is disturbing.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

            I guess I was not clear on which one I was speaking of. Certainly that treating goes back a long way. I was referring to the treating with Iran, which included others besides us and Iran by the way.

            • Mark Sturtevant
              Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

              And to be clear about the mercurial nature of our POTUS, he canceled on the deal with Iran before it came out that Iran was cheating on it.

      • Bob
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        RE: “This is unlike our withdrawing from the Iran deal, where we had little to lose by withdrawing from a treaty the other side was violating.”

        I, too, believe this to not be an accurate statement. All of the reports I have seen by U.S. intelligence officials indicate that Iran was (and is still) in compliance with the agreement. And, that is the reason given by European officials for sticking with the agreement. The Drumph was mad because Iran was interfering in the affairs of other countries (perish the thought), and because the Saudis and the Israelis told him to be mad, and because Putin told him it would be a good idea to withdraw, or else someone with a crazy haircut might get hurt.

      • David Coxill
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

        The rascals .

    • eric
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      We lose leverage for doing things like sanctioning Russia or pressuring them into a better inspection regime. Having a treaty partner out of compliance lets you negotiate with them from a position of strength; eliminating the treaty altogether cuts the legs out from under our own negotiation position.

      Of course, I expect Trump is perfectly fine losing leverage over Russia, since he doesn’t want to sanction them or put any other sort of international regulation on them anyway.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        It is very likely this is what Putin wanted Trump to do. They are the only one who benefits and that is what Trump is all about.

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:12 am | Permalink

          I was wondering why the POTUS would want to do this after osculating Putin’s rump for so long, but that seems like a reason: No treaty, no need to have sanctions from violating the treaty.

          Can’t believe I typed ‘osculating Putin’s rump’. I need to wash my hands now.

    • eric
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Here’s another ‘gain we stand to lose’: treaty effects are not binary. If the INF treaty slows proliferation down, or makes it more expensive (because they have to hide things), or causes them to choose to proliferate only some capabilities but not others in order to at least pretend they’re in compliance, then those are all partial wins for nonproliferation. It’s better to have Russia committing *some* IRBM expansion in a slow and expensive fashion, than to have them committing lots of it quickly and cheaply.

      Still, the big loser here probably isn’t the US or even NATO. I think if Putin has his way, in the next several decades we’ll see Russia invade (after creating some ‘unrest’ related reason) several of the old USSR satellite states – and the UN, NATO, and EU will do nothing about it because of their fear of the consequences of a direct military conflict with Russia.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Earlier this week, the US’s three chief intelligence officers — the heads of the CIA and FBI, and the Director of National Intelligence — testified jointly before congress and swore Iran was still in compliance with its treaty to denuclearize and that North Korea had no intention of actually getting rid of its nukes.

    That’s what prompted Trump to tweet that (unlike the Donald himself) the intelligence chiefs he himself appointed were all “extremely passive and naive” and “should go back to school.”

    • Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink


    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      There is the report from the Iranians that they were cheating on the deal from the very beginning. See for example: https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2019/01/25/iran-probably-continuing-its-nuclear-program/

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        Yeah, I saw that. I’m sure the US intelligence agencies saw it, and analyzed it, before we did, and gave it such weight as they felt it was due in making their Worldwide Threat Assessment.

        • Randy Bessinger
          Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink


      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        ‘From the Iranians’? That was one interview with one Iranian. Does everything an American says when interviewed constitute ‘American policy’?

        Translated by Israeli ex-intelligence officers, and they should know because Israel officially doesn’t have any nukes either.

        I think I’ll go with the US Intelligence community on this one.


  4. Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Unfortunate, as is the fact that China was never a signatory, & probably the Russians have been developing these weapons anyway. What is the point? MAD?

  5. GBJames
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    My own guess is that Vladimir told the Orange Menace to do this. It will excuse further nuclear development by Russia.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The chief beneficiary of this, as in all Donald Trump’s moves upon the world stage, is Russia, which now no longer need even to pretend to limit its mid-range missiles that pose a threat to Europe.

    Were I a citizen of the Baltic states of Estonia or Lithuania or Latvia, or of Albania or Montenegro in the Balkans, I’d be nervous. Yond Vladimir has a lean and hungry look.

  7. Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Fact is, Russia has never violated that treaty, despite the USA’s repeated allegations that it had, this with neither proof nor evidence. On the other hand, the United States’ deployment of antimissile systems in Romania and Poland contradicts the treaty provisions, so it is the USA and not Russia who is in violation of that treaty.

    • mikeyc
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      “Fact is, Russia has never violated that treaty…”

      I do not believe this for a minute.

      • Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        You do not believe it, this means you do not know but prefer to not believe it.

        • mikeyc
          Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          That’s right, I don’t know of any violations by either Russia or the US. But I do know that everyone lies and when it comes to a country’s arsenal, and especially if that country is Russia, the default assumption is they’re lying. YMMV.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

          From the US Intelligence communities just-released Worldwide Threat Assessment:

          “Russia has developed a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM) that the United States has declared
          is in violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

          Care to share with us how it is that you know more about this than does the CIA and the US Director of National Intelligence?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Boris and Natasha.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:19 am | Permalink


      Since you seem to be a soi-disant expert in matters Russian, tell us:

      1) Did the GRU hack into the computers of the DNC and John Podesta?

      2) Did the Russian Internet Research Agency conduct an active-measures and malign-influence campaign in an effort to interfere with the 2016 US presidential election?

      3) Does the Russian government possess kompromat on the United States president, Donald Trump?

      • Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        1) No

        2) No

        3) No

        • Mark R.
          Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

          So you obviously don’t live in a fact based world. Looks like I won’t be paying much attention to your posts in regards to world politics. Maybe you’re knowledgeable in other areas?

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Good questions, Ken.
        1 – Yes, probably, about all US intelligence agencies suspect it was Russian agencies, probably GRU.
        2 – Yes, definitely, about all US intelligence agencies concur there.
        3 – We don’t know, but we suspect…

    • eric
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Here is a picture of the system that violates the treaty.

      • Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        It is what Washington believes and pretends is in violation of the landmark 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty.

        • mikeyc
          Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          FFS, vierotchka this is the very first paragraph of the treaty;

          The Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, commonly referred to as the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty, requires destruction of the Parties’ ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, their launchers and associated support structures and support equipment within three years after the Treaty enters into force.

          (emphasis mine)

          You are Putin troll and as someone said upthread, clearly not a reliable source for this kind discussion.


          • Ken Kukec
            Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

            vierotchka could at least have given us a weather report from Putin’s troll farm outside Petrograd. 🙂

  8. Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  9. rustybrown
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Russia is in violation of the treaty, the US is demanding they destroy the offending missiles, withdrawal from the treaty would allow the US to counter the Russian threat by expanding our own arsenal, NATO is fully behind the announced withdrawal, and the White Houses stated goal is to strengthen the treaty by bringing China in to it, and you think this benefits Russia?!

    Another characteristic of a conspiracy theory is that no matter how contradictory new evidence is to the theory, one can always torture the logic to make it fit.

    • mikeyc
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      “… withdrawal from the treaty would allow the US to counter the Russian threat by expanding our own arsenal,…”

      And here we go again. Maybe you’re young, rustybrown, but I remember the cold war. I remember the nuclear attack drills (hide under your desk and kiss your ass goodbye). That anyone is foolish enough to see a return to those days as a positive thing can only be attributed to malice or ignorance. I’m assuming you’re young so know nothing about that time.

      • Randy Bessinger
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        Remember this well and the dog chains that were given to me to wear. I wonder whatever happened to it. At the time, I thought it was cool. The Stronium (sp?) 90 in the milk not so much. Ah, the good old days.

      • rustybrown
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        If there’s someone on this thread who seeks a return to the tenser days of the cold war it’s certainly not me. If you read what I wrote again carefully you’ll note that I didn’t advocate for or against Pompeo’s recent announcement but merely expressed my incredulity that the action could be seen as Russia-friendly.

        For the record, I think there may be some positive outcomes from the decision. Bringing China into the agreement would be an obvious one. At the time the treaty was ratified, China wasn’t nearly as much of a nuclear concern as it is today.

        • mikeyc
          Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for the clarification, rustybrown, and I agree there are some positive things that could come out of this if the treaty is re-negotiated. I was commenting one just one of your phrases – the rest I haven’t much of an opinion on as this topic is FAR beyond my knowledge. The Cold War and the stupid constant foundational fear it instilled in people should be avoided, if at all possible.

          • rustybrown
            Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

            I agree.

  10. Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Here is some idle speculation without evidence:

    Trump taking so long to fire Flynn and continuing to speak highly of him despite him flipping is not because of some convoluted plot; and Trump being so oddly obsessed with declaring North Korea nuclear free and meeting with Kim Jong Un is the same reason. Obama warned him not to hire Flynn and told him NK is a big problem, and he wants to prove Obama wrong.

    My bold prediction, based exclusively on this reasoning: he will continue to act like a f—ing moron about these issues.

  11. Dave137
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Orange Swamp-Thing can actually prove how tremendously tremendous his negotiating skills are by crafting a robust treaty that truly limits the insanity of nuclear weapons: maybe to levels where the world can kill itself only ten times over, for instance.

    But I’m guessing the Steak-Salesman is interested only in using every ounce of geopolitical capital this country has built in order to acquire short-term domestic gains, much like the Home Alone 2 cameo-actor’s failed businesses, exploitation of the courts while not paying his share of taxes for those courts, and settlements that range from $25 million for T**** University to paying off pornstars from cheating on his newborn-holding third-wife.

    With that said, Russia has been tangibly breaching that treaty for some time, and consequences (in some form) should occur.

    • Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      The Yellowing Yeti will do *anything* to stay out of jail.

      • mikeyc
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

        HA! I’m loving the pseudonyms for the orange moron in the white house. “Orange Swamp-thing”, “Yellow Yeti” and just yesterday someone here referred to the “Mango Mussolini”. I expect (and hope) someone somewhere on the intertubes is collecting these.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

          I got a phishing email today:
          ‘Make America Great Again!’
          from ‘Donald J Trump’

          ‘Grab your free Trump Commemorative coin’

          The link (as usual) leads to some dodgy site. I’m just amused that the scammers have got round to preying on the Trump faithful. It would be invidiously snarky to suggest that anyone wanting a Trump commemorative coin would be a few points light in the IQ department. So I won’t…


          • Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

            Really, it said grab your coin??!! I can only imagine what the image on the coin must be

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

            Free? Then indeed phishing. The White House Gift Shop sells a bunch of different commemorative coins for around $100 a pop including one for the Space Faorce ~ see HERE & even for the cancelled Helsinki bash.

            The TRUMP STORE has stopped selling the coins, but plenty of other crap available.

            I notice that there are a number of companies [Franklin Mint etc] on Amazon selling “official” Trump coins – Trump taking a cut I assume.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      ” [Mr Trump] is interested only in using every ounce of geopolitical capital this country has built in order to acquire short-term domestic gains” ..
      I’m far from sure if that is all of it. I think that on international level, Mr Trump is just doing what his ‘groomer’, Mr Putin, wants him to do,

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

        Mr Trump is just doing what his ‘groomer’, Mr Putin, wants him to do,

        “Handler” is the normal term in at least EN_GB, and I thought in EU_US too. The root is from German “handel”, “trade”, and I’d bet there is a close relative in Afrikaans too.
        “Grooming” is something you do to cats and potential sexual victims.
        Which … would be a novel interpretation of the Putin-Trump relationship.

  12. rustybrown
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    By the way, I think the talk here of Trump being nothing more than an orange bumbler is a bit absolutist. Recently, his negotiating stance has resulted in the NATO allegiance coughing up $100 billion in spending.


    And as unwritten as the final chapters of NK might be, seems to me things are a whole lot calmer than they used to be before Trump took the reigns. I live on the West Coast and I can remember the tangible fear of reading about the latest missile launch combined with Kim’s promises to hit the US.

    • Dave137
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

      Trumpkin was right to call out our NATO partners: but using the threat of withdrawal from NATO as leverage was, and is, crazy. Not to mention that most of those underpaying countries were already on the path to meeting their assigned percentage, pre-Zoolander Actor.

      Regarding North Korea, things are calmer? The rhetoric of “fire and fury”, coupled with the rest of his bluster, only escalated the risk of conflict; it wasn’t calming in the least. And it easily could have turned into a hot war, out of miscalculation or sheer ego.

      (This is separate from the fact that “diplomacy” with North Korea over decades has only allowed their nuclear/missile programs to advance: so I was in favor, in principle, of a change in tone by the US.)

      As you point out, it’s true that there hasn’t been any testing by North Korea. Hooray?

      Considering the Commander-in-BoneSpurs terminated our military-drills with South Korea, the lack of testing isn’t very surprising. But don’t forget: North Korea still has its nuclear weapons, maybe more now, and it still has its missiles, maybe more now. The threat, if anything, is greater (plans to attack the US are still being made by North Korea, irrespective of loving rhetoric), as the regime has since invested further in their arsenal since the summit in Singapore.

      But the world did win in Singapore, and will win again in Vietnam, because we got lots and lots of tremendously fantastic, tremendously successful photographs of a tyrant and wanna-be tyrant shaking (small) hands. Amazing progress, incredible.

      • rustybrown
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Trump’s “crazy” stance with NATO led to $100 billion from our recalcitrant partners. Bring me more crazy.

        As I said, much remains to unfold in the NK drama but I think it’s objectively true that things have moved in the right direction since Trump’s hardline stance. I’m sorry, just a couple years ago the problem seemed intractable. And remember, this was a mess that Trump 100% inherited due to the inaction and missteps of his predecessors. American pundits were openly talking about a possible assassination attempt, military coup, or even limited nuclear war to rid ourself of the threat. There were discussions about how many would die if we were forced to invade, millions or merely hundreds of thousands?

        Today, NK doesn’t come up too often. And when it does it’s with a completely different and less hostile frame of reference.

        • Mark R.
          Posted February 1, 2019 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

          Are they really our “partners” at the moment? They sure don’t think so. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the reasons they started to invest more in the military is to defend themselves against dangerous authoritarians like America’s current fool-in-chief.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      “… things are a whole lot calmer than they used to be before Trump took the reigns.”

      I think you mean “reins.”

      I always try to remember what Prof. Henry Higgins said: the reign in Spain stays mainly with Juan Carlos. 🙂

      • rustybrown
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:29 pm | Permalink


  13. Posted February 1, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I suspect something untoward is happening even closer to our shores, in none other than Cuba.

    • mikeyc
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

      Orly? Based on what?

    • Filippo
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Do you mean Venezuela? Of course Marco Rubio is playing to the U.S. Cuban community, making noises about the Cuban-Venezuela connection and “consequences” (U.S. invasion of Venezuela, I gather). No doubt Kim is taking note of this re: NK survivability/ nuclear capability.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      @Smoked I assume you mean “Havana Syndrome”? i.e. American & Canadian diplomatic personnel in Cuba experiencing a range of seemingly ear/brain related health problems.

      • Posted February 1, 2019 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        Yes. It’s unsettling not knowing what the hell that’s all about. It does seem we’re not wanted there.

        • Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

          It seems even more suspicious, given the friendly overtures Canada have had for decades towards Cuba, and more recently the U.S. towards Cuba.

  14. Peter Welch
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    A statement of fact must be based on multiple unbiased sources. Your “statement of fact” that Iran was violating the treaty with the US is not based on multiple sources or even one unbiased source. Your “statement of fact” is based on a single, likely very biased source who had ample incentive to deliver disinformation. Jerry, you are better than that.

    • Filippo
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 3:19 pm | Permalink


  15. Mark R.
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Occam’s Razor: it’s all about the Military Industrial Complex. Many American arms makers are drooling at the trough.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      Did anyone for one second think anything else?

  16. CAS
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Trump has tried to minimize the negative effects of sanctions on Russia and been friendly/forgiving in every other way possible.
    So why start an arms race now? Paranoid thought: Russia has severe economic problems with a growing opposition, heightened tensions with the US will increase support for Putin at home. In this scenario, Trump would still be helping Putin with this seemingly counter intuitive action.

    • Posted February 1, 2019 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

      Right. You can always tell what side of an issue Trump is really on by whether he chooses to talk about it. If he thinks something his administration does is a great idea, he lets everyone know that he made it happen. The few times he’s been forced to say something he doesn’t really believe, he looks like an abductee being forced to read a ransom note. Given his proven ability to tell lies as if he believes them, we know he’s winking at his supporters the whole time.

  17. Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    What do we have to lose by keeping our end of the bargain?


    The current situation means that Russia has intermediate range weapons in Europe, but the USA does not. However, by withdrawing from the treaty, the USA has the option to deploy intermediate range nuclear weapons in Europe. If they do this, it will lead to an arms race that Russia cannot win.

    Russia’s GDP is about the same size as that of Texas. Russia cannot afford a new arms race. So the theory is that rather than have the expense of such an arms race, Russia will agree to comply with the treaty.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      It is more so USA can deploy such ‘banned’ weapons on the Chinese Pacific rim, S. Korea etc where the US has a missile range gap due to the treaty. The broken US/Russian treaty is a global treaty.

      • Posted February 2, 2019 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Is it? Is that your opinion or is it based on actual statements by the US government (for what they are worth)?

        To show good faith, what I wrote was based on an analysis given by an American expert on Radio 4 yesterday, so it is just an opinion but one from somebody who knows a lot more about the situation than I do.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

          Hi Jeremy

          I included all the below because they each have something to add & it’s interesting how far back the China thing goes. Many of the sources don’t actually agree with the reasoning expressed in the articles – it’s the reasoning of the rather hawkish chaps currently at the controls

          It is my belief that the hawks in Washington [Bolton & friends] have at last begun the process of a China political confrontation. It has been on their minds for half a decade.

          Although China is small militarily [only one? crap aircraft carrier & very inexperienced crew/pilots] it is coming up with some rather nasty surprises to which there is absolutely no direct countermeasure such as hypersonic ship killer missiles. China is accelerating its acquisition of blue water capabilities – a 40 year goal

          To continue projecting power into that area of the rim the USA needs the co-operation of Japan & South Korea at a minimum – unsinkable aircraft carriers in effect


          While the United States and Russia have been prohibited from fielding intermediate-range missiles (and many shorter-range missiles as well) for more than twenty-five years, other nations haven’t been so restrained—especially the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Beijing has amassed a sizable arsenal of missiles that would be proscribed under INF, including highly accurate road-mobile missiles that represent a serious threat to its neighbors, as well as significant danger to U.S. military facilities in East Asia. These missiles could someday pose a threat to Russia too.

          [2] FORBES.COM – 3 MONTHS AGO

          retired Admiral Harry Harris, former commander of Pacific Command, and America’s new ambassador to the Republic of Korea commented on this topic earlier this year: “We have no ground-based [missile] capability that can threaten China because of, among other things, our rigid adherence to the [INF] treaty.”

          In testimony submitted to Congress last year, Harris observed that the Chinese Rocket Forces had more than 2,000 ballistic and cruise missiles, most of which would violate the INF treaty if China was a signatory. He went on to state, “Over the past two decades, China has developed numerous ground and air launched missile systems that far outrange U.S. systems. They have done this at a fraction of the cost of some of our more expensive systems. Constrained in part by our adherence to the INF treaty, the U.S. has fallen behind in our ability to match the long-range fires capabilities of the new era.”

          [3] FORBES.COM – 3 MONTHS AGO

          The removal of the constraints of the INF treaty could better position the United States and its allies to put military and diplomatic pressure on the Chinese to reduce their increasingly aggressive posture in the Pacific. Without the INF restrictions, the U.S. could achieve the following through the deployment of a cost effective, medium range conventional missile force:

          Negate the one-sided conventional missile advantage currently held by the Chinese;

          Hold at risk the Chinese Navy throughout the region in the same manner the Chinese have achieved against our Navy;

          Reverse the waning in Asian-Allied confidence in the U.S. extended deterrent, countering, in part, the Chinese investment in its nuclear, space and cyber-attack capabilities;

          Provide a new deterrent of North Korea absent an agreement to eliminate its nuclear arsenal;

          Provide the medium and intermediate range conventional missiles with which the United States could deploy land and sea based anti-satellite missile systems;

          Provide an air launched ballistic missile capability to enhance deterrence of Chinese military adventurism;

          Offer conventional intermediate range offensive missile capability to our allies in the region supplementing the U.S. deterrent;

          Provide rapidly deployable cruise and ballistic missile system options to augment U.S. basing in the region;

          Couple U.S. passive regional missile defense capabilities with an offensive capacity;

          Cause China to spend more on missile defense than previously anticipated altering their budget priorities and therefore slowing other military programs, or adding to their defense spending;

          Provide a tangible incentive—as President Reagan did with the deployment of the Pershing IIs and BGM-109 ground launched cruise missiles (GLCMs)—so that faced with U.S. deployment of modernized versions of these capabilities, Russia and China may realize the benefits of genuine arms control.

          As National Security adviser John Bolton quipped recently, it is perfectly understandable that the Chinese want the United States to stay within the framework of the INF treaty: “If I were Chinese, I would say the same thing. Why not have the Americans bound, and the Chinese not bound?” Indeed—from the U.S. perspective the status quo is untenable.


          Because of the lack of adequate locations for ground-based U.S. intermediate-range missiles to be based in the Asia Pacific, Washington would need to work closely with its regional allies to find appropriate deployment sites. From Beijing’s perspective, this means that Washington has an inherent interest in exaggerating the so-called China threat in the region to make its allies afraid and more willing to host U.S. intermediate-range missiles in countries like Japan and South Korea. Beijing sees efforts to stir up tensions to encircle China with an anti-China alliance as both a means and an end of U.S. strategy.

          Abandoning the INF Treaty also removes any obstacle for the United States to develop and deploy other cutting-edge ground-based medium- and intermediate-range weapon systems, such as missiles with trajectory shaping vehicles that are effective at neutralizing enemy defenses and are cheaper and less complicated to build than hypersonic weapons. U.S. Army officials have spoken for months about the need for long-range precision fires, even before any mention by U.S. officials of an INF withdrawal. It is highly likely that China would try to counter new U.S. capabilities by doubling down on its own investments in similar technologies and other countermeasures. A broader arms competition that spills over into additional technological domains other than traditional ballistic and cruise missiles seems hard to avoid.


          Just about China?

          More to the point, it is likely that the Trump administration is concerned more about the build-up of Chinese nuclear forces than it is about Russia. The INF Treaty applies only to the US and Russia, and China has been steadily expanding its stable of medium- and intermediate-range nuclear forces for decades.

          More importantly, it has significantly built up its strategic nuclear forces, which now stands at about 50-60 ICBMs, particularly road-mobile, solid-fueled rockets.

          The US argument inferred here is that Washington lacks the capacity to deploy countering nuclear forces closer to China and that it therefore needs ground-based INF in Asia.


          China and the INF Treaty
          Gregory Kulacki, China project manager and senior analyst

          Some US analysts and officials argue the United States should withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty because it prevents the United States from responding to China’s deployed short- and intermediate-range ground-based missiles. They argue the United States should abandon a bilateral arms control agreement intended to prevent Russia from threatening Western Europe to make it easier for the United States to threaten China.


          U.S. officials say that the major reason for withdrawing is to contest China’s growing military power and assertiveness. They argue that the United States needs to deploy conventional ground-based, intermediate-range missile systems (GBIRs) against China — systems that the INF Treaty prohibits the United States from fielding. And because Beijing is not a party to the treaty, officials argue, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has a tremendous advantage.

          China presents a real military challenge to the United States. The PLA’s advanced integrated defenses against U.S. air, missile, and naval capabilities include substantial numbers of Chinese GBIRs, which create a high-risk environment for U.S. forces that stretches thousands of kilometers from the Chinese coast into the Pacific. In the event of a conflict, such anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities could give China the ability to severely impede U.S. forces surging west to defend allies, as well as U.S. naval and air forces operating in China’s periphery. Consequently, China’s A2/AD systems may prevent the large-scale operations necessary to attack PLA operations against allied territory or forces in the South or East China Seas, or, if necessary, PLA forces carrying out strikes from the Chinese mainland.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 3, 2019 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      However, by withdrawing from the treaty, the USA has the option to deploy intermediate range nuclear weapons in Europe.

      Many of us who grew up under the shadow of American intermediate-range bombs would refuse them. It would mean even more public unrest on top of the current schisms.
      Then again, the US doesn’t have a good record of paying attention to ally’s disagreements, much preferring slavish adulation from it’s foreign peons. I think they call it “exceptionalism” when they sell it to their children as part of their birthright. Straight out of Trump’s play book.

  18. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted February 2, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Russia’s response was, as expected, not to comply after the failure of the fall talks and US withdrawal, but to withdraw too. It suits them, their main threat is China.

    This is unlike our withdrawing from the Iran deal, where we had little to lose by withdrawing from a treaty the other side was violating.

    There was more to lose here, since there were no obvious violations as US officials claims [ https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/statements/statement-by-iaea-director-general-yukiya-amano-2-october-2018 ]. The beef with Russia was specific and seems supportive, or Russia would have complied in the fall talks.

  19. Zetopan
    Posted February 4, 2019 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    “… which is about the dumbest thing he’s done with respect to foreign policy”

    No need to fret about that at all since Trump will soon render that policy “not the stupidest” in the near future. Trump gets whatever Trump wants is only secondary to Putin gets whatever Putin wants since Putin owns the Trumps.

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