Written by Caitlin Johnstone; Originally appeared at her blog
Yesterday the news broke that Swamp Monster-In-Chief John Bolton has been pushing President Trump to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the 1988 arms control agreement between the US and the Soviet Union eliminating all missiles of a specified range from the arsenals of the two nuclear superpowers. Today, Trump has announced that he will be doing exactly as Bolton instructed.
This would be the second missile treaty between the US and Russia that America has withdrawn from since it abandoned the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002. John Bolton, an actual psychopath who Trump hired as his National Security Advisor in April, ran point on that move as well back when he was part of the increasingly indistinguishable Bush administration.
This is why John Bolton shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near US foreign policy. This would undo decades of bipartisan arms control dating from Reagan. We shouldn’t do it. We should seek to fix any problems with this treaty and move forward. https://t.co/xj5FqyCyS6 #FoxNews
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) October 20, 2018
“This is why John Bolton shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near US foreign policy,” tweeted Senator Rand Paul in response to early forecasts of the official announcement. “This would undo decades of bipartisan arms control dating from Reagan. We shouldn’t do it. We should seek to fix any problems with this treaty and move forward.”
“This is the most severe crisis in nuclear arms control since the 1980s,” Malcolm Chalmers, the deputy director general of the Royal United Services Institute, told The Guardian. “If the INF treaty collapses, and with the New Start treaty on strategic arms due to expire in 2021, the world could be left without any limits on the nuclear arsenals of nuclear states for the first time since 1972.”
“A disaster for Europe,” tweeted Russia-based journalist Bryan MacDonald. “The treaty removed Cruise & Pershing missiles, and Soviet ss20’s from the continent. Now, you will most likely see Russia launch a major build up in Kaliningrad & the US push into Poland. So you’re back to 1980, but the dividing line is closer to Moscow.”
“Russia has violated the agreement. They’ve been violating it for many years and I don’t know why President Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out,” Trump told reporters in Nevada. “We’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and do weapons and we’re not allowed to. We’re the ones that have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honored the agreement but Russia has not unfortunately honored the agreement so we’re going to terminate the agreement, we’re going to pull out.”
What Trump did not mention is that the US has indeed been in violation of that agreement due to steps it began taking toward the development of a new ground-launched cruise missile last year. The US claims it began taking those steps due to Russian violations of the treaty with its own arsenal, while Russia claims the US has already been in violation of multiple arms control, nonproliferation, and disarmament agreements.
#Ryabkov: US seeking pretext for breakup of #INFtreaty. Liability for destruction of one of the pillars of the system of arms control will fall on Washington
➡️ https://t.co/r8Qj2KUO0h pic.twitter.com/g68j83KeZH
— Russia in USA 🇷🇺 (@RusEmbUSA) December 19, 2017
So, on the one front where cooler heads prevailing is quite literally the single most important thing in the world, the exact opposite is happening. Hotter, more impatient, more violent, more hawkish heads are prevailing over diplomacy and sensibility, potentially at the peril of the entire world should something unexpected go wrong as a result. This is of course coming after two years of Democratic Party loyalists attacking Trump on the basis that he has not been sufficiently hawkish toward Russia, and claiming that this is because he is Putin’s puppet.
In response to this predictable escalation the path for which has been lubricated by McResistance pundits and their neoconservative allies, those very same pundits are now reacting with horror that Putin’s puppet is now dangerously escalating tensions with Putin.
“BREAKING: Trump announces that the United States will pull out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty that the US has been in for 31 years,” exclaimed the popular Russiagater Brian Krassenstein in a tweet that as of this writing has over 5,000 shares. “Welcome back to the Cold War. This time it’s scarier And no, It’s not Obama, or Hillary or the Democrat’s fault. It’s ALL TRUMP!”
“Hilarious to listen to all this alarmed screaming about US withdrawal from INF Treaty emanating from those who for 2 years have been demanding that Trump get tough with Russia,” tweeted George Szamuely of the Global Policy Institute. “Now that they’ve got their arms race I hope they are pleased with themselves.”
“Are those who have spent the past two years warning of a Trump-Kremlin conspiracy & cheering confrontation w/ Russia ready to shut the fuck up yet?” asked Aaron Maté, who has been among the most consistently lucid critics of the Russiagate narrative in the US.
Are those who have spent the past two years warning of a Trump-Kremlin conspiracy & cheering confrontation w/ Russia ready to shut the fuck up yet? https://t.co/SnOCgKS8vb
— Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) October 20, 2018
Are they ready to shut the fuck up? That would be great, but this is just the latest escalation in a steadily escalating new cold war, and these blithering idiots didn’t shut the fuck up at any of the other steps toward nuclear holocaust. They didn’t shut the fuck up after Trump’s capitulation to the longstanding neoconservative agenda to arm Ukraine against Russia. They didn’t shut the fuck up after Americans killed Russians in Syria as part of their regime change occupation of that country. They didn’t shut the fuck up when this administration adopted a Nuclear Posture Review with greatly increased aggression toward Russia and blurred lines between when nuclear strikes are and are not appropriate. They didn’t shut the fuck up when Trump started sending war ships into the Black Sea “to counter Russia’s increased presence there.” They didn’t shut the fuck up when this administration forced RT and Sputnik to register as foreign agents. They didn’t shut the fuck up when this administration helped expand NATO with the addition of Montenegro, at the assigning of Russia hawk Kurt Volker as special representative to Ukraine, at the shutting down of a Russian consulate in San Francisco and throwing out Russian diplomats in August of last year, when Trump threw out dozens more diplomats in response to shaky claims about the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, or when he implemented aggressive sanctions on Russian oligarchs. Why would they shut the fuck up now?
As signs point to Mueller’s investigation wrapping up in the near future without turning up a single shred of evidence that Trump colluded with the Russian government, it’s time for everyone who helped advance this toxic, suicidal anti-Russia narrative to ask themselves one question: was it worth it? Was it worth it to help mount political pressure on a sitting president to continually escalate tensions with a nuclear superpower and loudly screaming that he’s a Putin puppet whenever he takes a step toward de-escalation? Was it worth it to help create an atmosphere where cooler heads don’t prevail in the one area where it’s absolutely essential for everyone’s survival that they do? Or is it maybe time to shut the fuck up for a while and rethink your entire worldview?
This is the top response under a tweet by @krassenstein about how Trump is escalating nuclear tensions with Putin. You know you've hit peak conspiracy theory when the evidence disproving the conspiracy theory is interpreted as proof of the conspiracy theory. https://t.co/IFLMZ9n30t
— Caitlin Johnstone (@caitoz) October 21, 2018