[The United States made the unilateral decision to pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty on December 2018; the official withdrawal begins on February 2, 2019. Despite Russia consistently complying with the terms, the U.S. had always been looking for an excuse to not keep its end of the bargain. Just before the official U.S. announcement to withdraw was made, Vladimir Putin stated that Russia would easily make and deploy new defensive missiles if that were to happen. Such a statement is not an unreasonable response considering Washington’s long history of aggressions towards Russia, especially with the creation of NATO after World War II. Following the April 1949 signing of the Atlantic Pact and led by then-U.S. Secretary of State Dean Acheson, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was founded by 12 member states in London on May 18, 1950. Its purpose, as they claimed, was the “preservation of peace” and the defense of Western Europe against supposed military threats.
However, NATO also extended its invitation to West Germany on May 9, 1954 with the intent of re-arming it. This was a violation of the 1945 Potsdam agreement which stated that the partition of Germany was supposed to be temporary and that all of Germany was to be ‘de-Nazified‘; instead, we saw the development of West Germany into a Western puppet state. The Soviet Union saw the aforementioned invitation to West Germany and its re-arming as a provocation and, in the following year, established the Warsaw Pact in response. Essentially, NATO was established as a Western military alliance against the Soviet Union. After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, and completely contradicting the promise it made to Gorbachev that they would not do so, NATO expanded Eastward and added the Baltic states, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary — which are geographically very close to Russian borders — to its membership in addition to making them hosts to U.S. military bases. The goal was, and still is, to surround and contain Russia, as well as attacking other states that are not friendly towards U.S. global capital interests. If there is a lesson to be learned here, it’s that one should never trust the U.S. when it promises not to militarily expand. –Janelle]
US to begin INF Treaty withdrawal from February 2, Washington confirms
By RT editorial staff
The US will begin its withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia on February 2, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control Andrea Thompson told NATO officials in Brussels.
Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the treaty – originally signed by the United States and Russia in 1987 – comes after negotiations in Geneva, Switzerland, fell through on Tuesday. Thompson claimed that Russia is in breach of the treaty, and that Moscow’s 9M729 missile system violates the terms of the agreement.
Under the agreement, signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, land-launched nuclear missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 km are banned. Washington claims, without evidence, that the 9M729 has a range greater than 500 km and is therefore in violation of the treaty.
The Russian delegation at Geneva accused the US of “exacerbating the situation,” and Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told reporters that “Russia is strictly complying with the INF Treaty.”
Russia “has no interest in a new arms race” with the US, President Vladimir Putin said in an interview published on Wednesday, but warned the Trump administration against withdrawing from the treaty, saying “such a course will have the gravest consequences.”
Trump first threatened to pull out of the landmark agreement last October, telling reporters “we’ll have to develop those weapons.”Reacting to Trump’s announcement, Gorbachev issued a warning similar to Putin’s, calling Trump’s planned withdrawal a “dire threat to peace.”
US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said on Wednesday that Russia will have six months after the US withdrawal to prove compliance with the treaty, if Moscow wishes to preserve the agreement.
The INF treaty was penned at a time when the United States and Soviet Union were the world’s chief nuclear competitors. Visiting Moscow in October, Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton revealed that Washington feels hamstrung by the treaty, because it applies only to Europe and does not restrict rising powers like China.
“There’s a new strategic reality out there,” Bolton told reporters, describing the INF as a Cold War relic, a “bilateral treaty in a multipolar ballistic missile world,” that does not apply to countries like China, Iran or North Korea.
Russia has suggested that rather than dropping the agreement, both sides could negotiate expanding it to include China, Iran, North Korea and other states thought to possess short- and intermediate-range missiles.
Source: https://www.rt.com/news/448966-inf-withdrawal-treaty-russia/ (RT.com)
Featured image above: Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan signing the INF Treaty on December 8, 1987.