Wednesday 20th of February 2019

waiting for Strangelove ...

waiting for Strangelove ...

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The intermediate range nuclear forces treaty (INF) was signed by the United States and Russia in December 1987 and ratified the following year. It was designed to limit the development of missiles with a range from 500 to 5500 kilometres.

At the time, the treaty had a number of strategic advantages, quite apart from the general virtue of limiting the development of nuclear weapons. Europe was most obviously the primary beneficiary.

The treaty also had a number of limitations, not least that it was a two party arrangement, excluding the other nuclear powers, China, France, India, Israel, Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

The United States was prepared initially to abide by the treaty because it believed that it had military superiority over the USSR (still in existence at that time) and that belief was reinforced by the deterioration in Russia’s position following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the disastrous Yeltsin years.

The first intimation that this belief in their superiority had some tentative doubts came when George W Bush unilaterally abandoned the anti-ballistic missile treaty in 2002. That sent a clear signal to Russia that the United States could not be trusted.

In his seminal speech to the Munich Security Conference in February 2007 Russia’s President Putin foretold the dangers of the US policy path. He said that “the unipolar world is not only unacceptable, but also impossible in today’s world.”  He went on to say that “we are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law……….one State, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way.”

Later in the speech Mr Putin drew attention to the expansion of NATO (contrary to Bush senior’s undertaking) and it said that it “represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust.”

It was a measure of The US’s disregard for other, and particularly Russian opinion, that Putin’s words were ignored. Putin himself, in his later March 2018 speech drew attention to this American attribute when he noted that “you ignored us then, perhaps you will listen to us now.”

That Russia would take steps to protect itself should have been obvious. The results of those steps that Russia did indeed take were outlined in Putin’s speech on 1 March 2018 in which he revealed an array of new weaponry that placed Russia at least a decade ahead of the United States in military technology.

US Withdrawal From INF Treaty Further Evidence of Delusion & Decline