Iran Deal Abandoned, INF Next. US Steadily Dismantling Arms Control

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Written by Alex Gorka; Originally appeared on strategic-culture.org

The US has just pulled out of the Iran deal. The INF Treaty is next. The campaign to render defunct yet another major arms-control agreement is already gaining momentum. On May 10, the House Armed Services Committee endorsed a measure authorizing President Donald Trump to decide the fate of the INF Treaty with Russia. This addition to a draft defense bill states that the agreement is no longer binding. The bill includes funds for developing a ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM), which, if tested, will violate the treaty terms.

The US has accused Russia of noncompliance but has never publicly provided any evidence to back up its claim. The alleged violations are used to justify the hawks’ newest favorite thing — lowyield nuclear munitions installed on SLBMs and sea-based long-range cruise missiles. And this isn’t just an empty wish or fantasy but an actual recommendation from the 2018 Nuclear Posture Review. Actually, the idea to abandon the treaty is not new; that’s something that’s been floated for some time, pushing that landmark agreement toward the brink of oblivion.

Iran Deal Abandoned, INF Next. US Steadily Dismantling Arms Control

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The plan for a nuclear-tipped cruise missile is another example of how the US is chipping away at the arms-control regime — the Presidential Nuclear Initiatives (PNI). These initiatives are not agreements, but rather commitments that have done much to deter the potential threat of sea-based tactical nuclear weapons, including intermediate-range cruise missiles. The initiatives have been more efficient and more important than any of the agreements that have been approved or ratified by parliaments. Once they have been unraveled, the genie will be out of the bottle, triggering an unprecedented arms race.

It won’t exactly make the US safer if Russia puts nuclear warheads on its technologically advanced Kalibr naval missiles. So why provoke it? The PNIs have been a success story, a good example of what can be achieved if both sides want it. But no, Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, “strongly agrees” that the Pentagon should procure the above-mentioned weapons, including the sea-based cruise missile.

A low-yield warhead on an SLBM may not be strategic but since there is no way to know, any launch would probably trigger a response from the entire Russian nuclear arsenal, sending them hurtling toward US shores. Such a warhead would be a very destabilizing weapon, especially given the overall superiority of US and NATO conventional forces. There is no reasonable explanation why the US would need non-strategic munitions installed on strategic delivery vehicles, when it has air-based tactical nuclear weapons already in its Air Force inventory? It has “mothers” and “fathers” of all bombs, bunker busters, and other conventional weapons that are able to work wonders, so why should it use a nuclear weapon, low-yield or high-yield, when the same missions can be carried out without any nukes at all?

Another angle worth mentioning here is that the desire for low-yield weapons reflects the US readiness to use nukes against non-nuclear adversaries. Just imagine how irresistibly tempting it might be to strike Iran’s key infrastructure sites with low-yield munitions! And what if N. Korea becomes a problem again?

According to Gen. Robert Brown, commander of the US Army Pacific, the American military needs ground-based missiles with a range of over 500 km, the range prohibited by the bilateral agreement. “I know there’s the INF Treaty … but we need to push beyond that,” he says. “The INF Treaty today unfairly puts the United States at a disadvantage and places our forces at risk because China is not a signatory,” claims Admiral Phil Davidson, the incoming commander of Pacific Command. “Deploying conventionally-armed ground-launched intermediate-range missiles may be key to reasserting US military superiority in East Asia,” emphasizes Eric Sayers, a CSIS expert.

The Army is working on long-range artillery rockets that can exceed the 500 km range. This weapon could be easily stationed in Europe. There would be no way to know whether or not it is nuclear or the extent of its operational range. If a projectile does not fall into the category of intermediate missiles, it is not covered by any treaty, but the effect is the same as if a medium-range missile were fired.

Actually, the INF Treaty is being violated right now in broad daylight. There is no need to declassify any hush-hush information to prove it. The Aegis Ashore Mk-41 launchers, which have already been installed in Romania and are soon to be deployed in Poland (2020), are also being used by the Navy to fire intermediate-range weapons as well as air-to-surface interceptors. This is an undeniable fact. The discussions that have been held under the auspices of the INF Treaty’s Special Verification Commission have not led anywhere.

If the INF Treaty is no longer binding, Russia would be free to deploy intermediate-range missiles to compensate for the West’s superiority in other weapons. The Iskander-M launchers can be used for firing intermediate-range missiles. This will include targets in Europe, although the US will be out of their range. This could lead to another rift among the allies at a time when that relationship is at a nadir because of trade wars and the rift over the Iran deal.

Finally, the unraveling of the INF Treaty will greatly complicate if not eliminate, any prospects, for the New START. And without the latter, there will be no agreement to curb the arms race at all. Arms control will be dead. We’ll be back to where we were in the late 1950s-early 60s. And if a spark should kindle a fire, we’ll all find ourselves back in the Stone Age.

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  • John Whitehot

    keep this in mind, next time someone calls you with a poll on which countries are to be considered rogue.

  • Dr. Pro Liv

    The INF Treaty is already dead.
    So either everything will be renegotiated again starting with the New START agreement or everything will fall apart.
    Whenever US launches in the future their BM “tactical nukes” to hit some nation too close to Russia or China they can trigger immediate response from Russia or China taking that BM as direct attack.

    • Promitheas Apollonious

      There is not much chance of re negotiating anything with west. Their economy is imploding and by the end of this year after the moves BRICS are making with also Eurasian nations to follow suit it be not only obvious, but disaster for the western debt based economy, that will not be able any more to be hidden.

      And they dont need to launch it close to russia or china any where they use it with the exception of Iran they will be russian personnel there, or chinese and will be response. If not against north american land, against the vessels who done the attack.

      • Dr. Pro Liv

        “There is not much chance of re negotiating anything with west”
        Well I guess you are talking about US (as “west”) because all those agreements are between Russia and US.
        But if you don’t I agree.
        They should involve every country with nukes not only Russia and US.
        And they should be pushed as main agenda on U.N.
        It is the biggest problem world has at the moment.
        I do not see Russia particularly alarmed with the present situation due to the fact that they even started to cut their military spending with objective to arrive to only 3%GDP in few years time. And that is much less than they have spent last year fr. example.
        I do not see them actively preparing for WW3 scenario or they might know something we do not know?
        It is more like they got up their forces on very high level on readiness and they intend to keep it that way.
        And now they start finally to heal long term internal problems of Russia like economy and industry,social problems – quality of life in rural parts of Russia etc.

        • Promitheas Apollonious

          There is no us or canada or australia, are just colonies to the city of london same as all puppet states of europe. All of you learn to suck on what they been drilling your brains for generations, even if reality hit you over the head with a sledge hammer you will still ignore the facts and go base on your programming.

          None of you understand also why Uk left so conveniently, from EU one she created and put the foundations putting germany as the convinient idiot in front along with belgium.

          Russia unlike america is not spending her defense budget either to support some 200 bases around the world or to bribes or disappearing in a black hole. Every ruble they spend counts and is been proven over the years, not it is run by perverts with a single digit I.Q.

          So why worry? They are not the ones their economies imploding. And is a rising power along with China beside the fact she is the richer country in the world as far natural resources goes.

          • Dr. Pro Liv

            What the hell are you talking about?!
            Where did I mention Canada or Australia ?!?
            Canada or Australia do NOT even have nukes!
            You have ego problem – you think that you are super intelligent.
            Where did we mention Brexit?
            You are TOTALLY of the TOPIC !
            So there you go on your bollocks runt again…and WHY do I have to read crap like that?

            “So why worry?”
            We all should “worry” !
            Well even Russians should “worry” at least little bit (if they are normal) because West has over 2000 nuke warheads.
            If war starts whose “economies imploding” will not be on the top of agenda at all!

          • Promitheas Apollonious

            you have comprehension problems or your english are very limited. And if you want to worry and think that makes any difference, in the real world then who stooping you?

            And no i dont have ego problems you just too ignorant and just blabbing thinking you say something of importance, by repeating like a broken record yourself.

            There is global war going on and some of us are in the middle of it participating in it, by all means at our disposal. Now if you think by saying what you saying and worry makes any difference then you more ignorant than already understood you are.

            And kid when I answer I dont really give a toss what you said or someone else especially when I am pointing out your ignorance of what really going on and by whom. You have a lot to learn before you have opinion from the way you answering or what you post so… forgive me if I dont give you attention again.

            walk in peace and stop worrying get ready to fight or find a hole and hide.

      • TiredOfBsToo

        Negotiating only works when the countries or people that uphold the agreements they sign.

    • TiredOfBsToo

      Sounds to me like any short range missile fired will not leave much time to analyze whether it’s nuclear or not hence, will have to be retaliated to immediately with nukes. Why is it that US Generals get dumber with each generation?

      • Dr. Pro Liv

        True for short range …Let us not forget that US has no short range BM and they never had them..
        But they have had medium range BM so it would be no surprise if they reappear if US chooses that path…
        For now the only “tactical nukes” are gravitational bombs B-61 and nuke Tomahawks. Everything launched from ABM launchers in Romania or Poland or South Korea in the shape of cruise missiles salvo towards Russia would trigger immediate response ( because Russia is too close – no time for anything else )

        “Why is it that US Generals get dumber with each generation?”
        I don’t know ….How can I answer that when I’m not even American.
        Makes me think that these new generations of US officers are just moral midgets….They are not made of the same quality fabric like older generations…Moral values among high ranking officers and politicians are DEAD !!
        Those people are zombies, satanists and what not…they are just not human beings making the wars main reason of their existence and carrier….

  • You can call me Al

    The US are now behaving like headless chickens, they are absolutely insane, which makes them dangerous.

  • Rob

    UK and US the child butchers army have traveled for 6000 miles and have intruded into the countries of Middle East Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan and are holding these nations hostage like terrorists. Russia, China and other sensible nations should stand together against these child butchers and kick out all these terrorist forces from Middle East and rescue the hostage nations from these terrorists.

  • Rob

    http://www.palestineportal.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Maps_1897-Present.jpg
    Notice in the left map there is no Israel. Israeli migrants scaring from this map very much. Israeli migrant state is like ISIS state created by UK, US, France and Saudi regimes. They all are one gang.

    After full liberation of Syria all Muslim nations Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Russia, China and Pakistan will come together to liberate full Palestine and rescue the Palestinian hostages from illegal European migrants Israel, US and UK. They will not stay calm until to erect the Palestinian flags on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

    • Dr. Pro Liv

      It looks very bad.
      But despite appearances situation is still far from desperate!
      They can, use as much green as they want the Muslims are still THERE and Jews still have not won the war!
      As long as Palestinians are in big numbers in Israel and as long as Israel is just tiny boat in Muslim sea THE GAME IS NOT OVER YET!