Trump Regime Withdraws from Landmark INF Treaty

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Trump Regime Withdraws from Landmark INF Treaty

by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.orgHome – Stephen Lendman)

The Trump regime is abolishing the historic INF Treaty, agreed to by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.

What stood the test of time for over 30 years is ending based on a Big Lie, Trump regime hardliners falsely accusing Russia of breaching the treaty. 

Not a shred of evidence suggests it. Moscow debunked them,  including about its newest 9M729 missile, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov 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. 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,” adding:

Russia “does not recognize the United States’ unilateral decision to suspend the operation of the INF Treaty.”

General Mikhail Matveevsky, commander of Russian Missile and Artillery Troops, presented details about the 9M729 missile, the weapon Washington falsely said violates the INF Treaty.

No one from the Trump regime or Pentagon attended the presentation, uninterested in facts debunking false US accusations, according to Ryabkov. The missile’s range is below the INF Treaty’s permitted threshold. 

Washington is a notorious treaty violator, not Moscow, breaching the INF Treaty before announcing withdrawal, falsely accusing Russia and other countries of its own illegal actions.

Pulling out of the JCPOA and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty risk greater conflicts and chaos than already, along with assuring a hugely dangerous arms race, what America’s military, industrial, security, media complex wants.

INF provisions required elimination of all nuclear and conventional missiles with ranges of 310 – 620 miles (short-range) and 620 – 3,420 miles (intermediate range), along with their launchers.

Compliance is monitored by technical means, on site inspections and cooperative measures. The agreement was the first bilateral treaty designed to reduce nuclear arms. Previous ones only established ceilings.

On Friday, Pompeo turned truth on its head, unjustifiably claiming “Russia remains in material breach of its treaty obligations not to produce, possess, or flight-test a ground-launched intermediate-range cruise missile system with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.”

Fact: Russia fully complies with INF provisions. No evidence suggests otherwise. The US is in material breach of the treaty.

Pompeo: “Russia’s violation puts millions of Europeans and Americans at greater risk. It aims to put the United States at a military disadvantage, and it undercuts the chances of moving our bilateral relationship in a better direction.”

Fact: The above remarks apply to the US, not Russia, notably with hardline extremists Pompeo and Bolton in charge of the Trump regime’s imperial agenda, humanity’s greatest threat.

Effective February 2, the US officially abrogated its INF obligations, what it’s done unofficially for years.

Trump earlier rejected the 2010 New START Treaty with Russia, falsely calling it “a bad deal,” saying the US “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability…Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”

Putin earlier said “it’s not us who have been speeding up the arms race.” Responding to hostile US actions, he stressed that Russia “need(s) to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces, especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems.”

“When one party unilaterally withdr(aws) from (an arms control) treaty and sa(ys) (it’s) going to create an anti-nuclear umbrella, the other party has to either create a similar umbrella…or create effective ways to overcome this anti-ballistic missile system and improve its strike capabilities.”

New START expires in February 2021 if not renewed – or may be abrogated sooner by a Trump regime pullout if this is what its hardliners have in mind.

Bolton and Pompeo favor withdrawal from all treaties and agreements restricting US efforts to develop super-weapons, wanting them deployed close to borders of nations targeted for regime change, notably Russia, China, and Iran.

New Start calls for reducing the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers by half. It limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,500.

It also limits the number of ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missile launchers, and nuclear capable heavy warplanes. 

It calls for satellite and other monitoring, as well as annual on-site inspections to assure both sides comply with terms agreed on.

Bolton, Pompeo, and other Trump regime hardliners want no restraints on Washington’s permanent war agenda. Putin earlier warned that the US geopolitical agenda “could lead to the destruction of civilization as a whole and maybe even our planet,” adding:

“We are witnessing the breakup of the arms control system,” heightening the threat of possible nuclear war by accident or design.

Putin stressed that Moscow has no intention of “gaining unilateral advantages. We aren’t seeking advantages. We are trying to preserve the balance and ensure our security.”

The US “need(s) an (invented) external threat to cement NATO unity…As for ruling the world, we know where the headquarters trying to do that (is) located, and the place isn’t Moscow.”

“(W)e are ready and will use nuclear weapons only when we make sure that someone, a potential aggressor, strikes at Russia, at our territory.”

“The aggressor must know that retribution is inevitable, that it will be destroyed. And we, the victims of aggression, will go to heaven as martyrs, while they will simply die, because they will not even have time to repent.”

On Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said “Moscow reserves the right to corresponding reactions and response measures” to the Trump regime’s INF Treaty withdrawal. “Naturally, it will be done, adding:

US actions are “part of” its pattern of “breaking down and abandoning a great number of international agreements.”

What’s going on “is not about Russia’s guilt of violating this treaty. It is not about China or any other factor of international security. It is about the United States’ strategy of” abandoning its international obligations.

Invoking Article 15 of the INF Treaty triggers a six-month period for the Trump regime’s pullout.

The die was cast. It’s a fait accompli, the world a more dangerous place because of US actions hostile to world peace, stability and security.

A Final Comment

On February 2, Vladimir Putin said Russia will suspend participation in the INF Treaty in response to the Trump regime’s withdrawal, adding: 

“(T)it-for-tat response(s)” will follow US actions going forward, including development of “land-based hypersonic missile(s) with intermediate range.”

“I agree with the Defense Ministry’s proposal to develop a land-based hypersonic missile with intermediate range.”

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said “(t)he US’ unilateral withdrawal from the Treaty may have a whole number of implications. China will closely monitor the developments.”

Russia, China, and other nations consider the US pullout from the INF Treaty a major blow to controlling weapons of mass destruction and world peace.

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My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

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Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman
Stephen Lendman was born in 1934 in Boston, MA. In 1956, he received a BA from Harvard University. Two years of US Army service followed, then an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1960. After working seven years as a marketing research analyst, he joined the Lendman Group family business in 1967. He remained there until retiring at year end 1999. Writing on major world and national issues began in summer 2005. In early 2007, radio hosting followed. Lendman now hosts the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network three times weekly. Distinguished guests are featured. Listen live or archived. Major world and national issues are discussed. Lendman is a 2008 Project Censored winner and 2011 Mexican Journalists Club international journalism award recipient.