Well, the Sky Hasn’t Fallen… Yet: America’s Planned Withdrawal From INF Treaty Sends World Spinning
The sky hasn't fallen. The USA's withdrawal from the INF Treaty, announced by Trump from the lawn of the White House, has caused such a feeble reaction around the world that one might think it's some minor secondary issue.
Donald Trump, President of the USA: «It's a threat to whoever you want, and it includes China, and it includes Russia, and it includes anybody else that wants to play that game. You can't play that game with me. Have you discussed it with them? I don't have to speak to them. I'm terminating the agreement».
No articles and no urgent newscasts. Everything but the treaty: the Saudi journalist, the Guatemalan migrants, the elections, the new iPhone, the sales season. 30 years ago the world would've been shocked. Back then, the threat of nuclear war wasn't treated like a Hollywood cliche. Gorbachev's peacekeeping visit to the US in the winter of 1987 was a sensation. Millions of people breathed a sigh of relief, at least in Europe which was living at nuclear gunpoint.
Ronald Reagan, President of the USA (1981-1989): «Mr. Foreign Minister, I'm pleased to have you sign this agreement today and look forward to the day when the General Secretary and I will have an opportunity to sign even more historic agreements in our common search for peace».
Eduard Shevardnadze, Foreign Minister of the USSR (1985-1990): «It's a tangible step in the implementation of the agreement which Mikhail Gorbachev and you, Mr. President, reached in Geneva. We've tried to ease the heavy burden of fear, uncertainty, and anxiety which the people and the Earth are tired of».
The INF Treaty paused the arms race. The idea behind the treaty was to destroy the missiles with the shortest flight time which could behead the enemy in moments. Such a strike lowered or even eliminated a chance for retaliation, ensuring the victory in a possible conflict, as it was seen by Pentagon strategists. We both had guns at our heads: the US Pershing II systems deployed in the German Schwäbisch Gmünd and the Soviet RSD-10 Pioneer and OTR-23 Oka systems.
This week, it became clear that we're playing Russian roulette again. But back then, the Pershings could be blocked by German pacifists such as future Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. Today, we face complete indifference, tranquility, and serenity. Only by the end of the week, the New York Times opinions section published a timid comment by the former president of the USSR under this picture.
Mikhail Gorbachev, President of the USSR (1990-1991): «I am being asked whether I feel bitter watching the demise of what I worked so hard to achieve. But this is not a personal matter. Much more is at stake. A new arms race has been announced. The President of the US has a very different purpose in mind. It is to release the US from any obligations, constraints, and not just regarding nuclear missiles».
There's another thing to recall just briefly, to make sure we don't forget it.
Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the LDPR: «I want to congratulate every American who contributed to Donald Trump's victory. They are celebrating. It's a big day in the US today. I want to congratulate all of our citizens who were indirectly supporting Trump. To victory! To Donald Trump! Let's all drink champagne. Thank you».
Donald Trump: “Under the leadership of the Republicans, America is winning again. America is respected again because we are putting America first. But radical Democrats want to turn back the clock You know what a globalist is? A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, not caring about our country so much. We can’t have that. They call us nationalists. And I say really, we're not supposed to use that word. You know what I am? I’m a nationalist, okay? I’m a nationalist.”
And now, the anti-globalist nationalist has a free hand holding, surprise, a nuclear club, plus a plan to upgrade the missile arsenal, develop new weapon prototypes, create a space force, and finish the construction of the missile shield in Europe. Does this make other nationalists any happier?
The history knows at least two sorry examples when well-armed conservative patriots failed to reach an agreement. Each of them loved their own fatherland too much.
Bruce Gagnon, Head of the Global Network against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space: «I refer to Mussolini's definition: „Fascism is the marriage of government and corporations.“ That’s what we have in America today. We don't have democracy. Oligarchs are running our foreign policy and economy from Washington. And since many Americans aren't happy with the economic situation the government arms the police to repress the protests».
The Foreign Affairs Magazine dedicated an issue to possible nuclear war scenarios. The cover is rather impressive. Elbridge Colby, one of the authors of the Defense Doctrine that the Pentagon published in January says that the fight against terrorism is a thing of the past and the next trend will be an arms race between the two powers. The title is indeed inspiring: «If You Want Peace, Prepare for Nuclear War».
“The risk of a nuclear confrontation can be colossal. However, the victory from acquiring nuclear superiority over the enemy is equally colossal. In future, any confrontation of the US against Russia or China could obtain a nuclear dimension. In this difficult and unpredictable fight, each participant might reach for the nuclear blade to raise the bets and test the resolve of the other country".
Colby concludes that the best way to avoid a nuclear war is… to be ready for its local version. That's why the US needs to demonstrate its ability to conduct local but efficient nuclear operations.
The other patriotic magazine, the National Interest, also informs the narrow circle of its readers about the return of the era of global conflict. The National Interest experts point out a curious detail. Trump's withdrawal from the INF, as it was with his other seemingly impulsive decisions, isn't aimed at igniting a conflict with Russia. Generals and White House oligarchs don't consider Russia to be a serious long-term threat. The US has another dangerous rival and enemy.
«America’s withdrawal from the INF Treaty is not really about Russia nor is it even about nuclear weapons. In the era of strategic competition, America's move is focused squarely on its contest with China in the Asia-Pacific region».
True, China didn't sign the INF Treaty. According to the authors of the article, the US will now be able to surround it with missiles stationed on the unsinkable aircraft carriers of Japan, the Philippines, Australia, and Taiwan. Obviously, China won't leave that unanswered and will fight off the bully. There are enough Chinese patriots as well.
Speaking of Russia, whom Trump would like to keep from cooperating with Beijing, we also choose the stick over the carrot. The NATO drill Unified Trident is the largest since the end of the Cold War. 29 countries, 50,000 soldiers, 10,000 vehicles, and 130 aircraft. Who are they fighting? It's pretty clear.
Knut Fleckenstein, MEP: «Russia, of course. These soldiers aren't training to fight against Guatemala but against someone on the outside; and Russia is on the outside».
The drill will be conducted 300 miles away from the Russian border in the skies over Finland and the Baltics. It's worth mentioning, that out of those 50,000 soldiers 10,000 represent the Bundeswehr, and two squadrons of 500 men represent the Luftwaffe. Germany is supplying almost half of the vehicles, including 100 tanks. The formal reason is that next year, Germany is taking the lead with the Response Force. But there's also an overtone that can be hardly ignored by those who remember history.
Bruce Gagnon: «Drills are not just a source of enormous profits for the military-industrial complex. They're also doing it for control and domination. The US is arming itself and its allies to put a loaded gun at the head of Moscow or Beijing at some point and make it follow orders. It's madness, but that's what Washington is planning».
Agitation and Propaganda