Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 03, 2019

Why The End Of The INF Treaty Will Not Start A New Arms Race

Yesterday the U.S. left the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. The end of this and other treaties that eliminated or restricted the deployment of nuclear systems is seen by some as the beginning of a news arms race:

William J. Perry - @SecDef19 - 7:37 PM · Aug 2, 2019

The U.S. withdrawal from the INF Treaty today deals a great blow to nuclear arms control and global security, we are sleepwalking into a new arms race.

The former Secretary of Defense is wrong. The race will not happen because Russia (and China) won't run. Or said differently, they already won.

To understand why that is the case we have to look at the history of the nuclear treaties and their demise.

In 1976 the Soviet Union started to deploy nuclear armed SS-20 (RSD-10 Pioneer) intermediate range missiles in Europe. The west-Europeans, especially Germany, feared that these missiles would decouple the U.S. from western Europe. The Soviet Union might tell the U.S. that it would not use its intercontinental nuclear missiles against the U.S. mainland as long as the U.S. would not fire its intercontinental missiles into the Soviet Union. It could then use the SS-20 to attack NATO in Europe while the U.S. would refrain from nuclear counter strikes on the Soviet Union. Europe would become a nuclear battle field while the U.S. and the Soviet Union would be left untouched.

The German chancellor Helmut Schmidt urged the U.S. to station nuclear armed intermediate range missiles in western Europe to press the Soviets to eliminate the SS-20. In 1979 NATO made the double track decision. It would deploy U.S. made Pershing II missiles in Europe and at the same time offer the Soviet Union a treaty to ban all such intermediate range weapons. The effort was successful.

The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) between the U.S. and the Soviet Union (later Russia) banned all of the two countries' land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and missile launchers with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers (310-3,420 mi). All SS-20 and Pershing II missiles were withdrawn and destroyed. A nuclear war in Europe became less likely.

Another successful treaty was the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. It prohibited both sides from deploying more than one ABM system. It was necessary because the side that thought it had a working anti-ballistic missile defense could launch a massive first strike on the other side, destroy most of its forces, and defend itself against the smaller retaliation strike that would follow. Both sides were better off with prohibiting ABM in general and to rely on Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) for the prevention of a nuclear war.

In June 2002 U.S. President George W. Bush, under the influence of one John Bolton, withdrew from the ABM treaty which led to its termination. The U.S. deployed ABM system in Alaska and California but during tests the systems proved to be unreliable.

The U.S. claimed at that time that ABM was needed to defend against nuclear missiles from North Korea and Iran. That was always obvious nonsense. At that time North Korea had no missile that could reach the United States and Iran has no nukes and limits the range of its missiles to 2,000 kilometer.

Russia saw the U.S. step as an attempt to achieve a first strike capability against it. It immediately started the development of new system that would make the U.S. anti-missile defense irrelevant.

The U.S. also pressed NATO to deploy ABM systems in Europe. Iran was again cited as the main danger. Plans were developed to deploy Patriot and THAAD anti-missile system in Poland and Romania. These did not immediately endanger Russia. But in 2009 President Obama canceled the deployment and came up with a more devilish plan. The AEGIS system used on many U.S. war ships would be converted into a land based version and deployed in an alleged ABM role. AEGIS consist of radar, a battle management system and canister missiles launchers. The big issue is that these canisters can contain very different types of missiles. While the Standard Missile-2 or 3 can be launched from those canisters in an ABM role, the very same canisters can also hold nuclear armed cruise missile with a range of 2,400 kilometer.

Russia had no means to detect which type of missiles the U.S. would deploy on these sites. It had to assume that nuclear intermediate range nuclear missiles will be in those canisters. In 2016 the U.S. activated the first of these AEGIS ashore systems in Romania. It was that step that broke the INF treaty.

That Obama had earlier signed a nuclear agreement with Iran that made sure that Iran would never build nukes made it obvious that Russia is the one and only target of those system:

During a visit to Greece intended to repair ties with the EU, Vladimir Putin said that Russia has “no choice” but to target Romania, which has recently opened a NATO missile defense base, and Poland, which plans to do so within two years.

“If yesterday people simply did not know what it means to be in the crosshairs in those areas of Romania, then today we will be forced to carry out certain measures to ensure our security. And it will be the same with Poland,” Putin said during a joint press conference with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens on Friday.
“At the moment the interceptor missiles installed have a range of 500 kilometers, soon this will go up to 1000 kilometers, and worse than that, they can be rearmed with 2400km-range offensive missiles even today, and it can be done by simply switching the software, so that even the Romanians themselves won’t know,” said Putin, who is in Greece for a two-day tour.

Russia urged the U.S. to negotiate about the issue but the U.S. rejected that. A year after the U.S. deployed its system in Romania it alleged that Russia itself was in breach of the INF treaty. It claimed that Russia deployed the 9M729 missile, an extended range version of a previous missile, with a range that exceeds the limits of the INF treaty. Russia says that the missile is just a technical upgrade of an older one and has a maximum range below 500 kilometers. The U.S. never provided evidence for its claim.

In January 2019 the U.S. rejected a Russian offer to inspect the new Russian missile and started to pull out of the INF treaty. It gave a six month notice on February 2 and yesterday the INF treaty terminated.

Neither the New York Times obituary of the treaty nor the CNN write-up mention the ABM system in Romania and Poland that were the first to breach of the treaty. Both repeat the unproven claim that Russia deployed new intermediate range systems as fact.

The Europeans in NATO are not happy about the treaty's end:

The official demise of a landmark arms control pact between the US and Russia is a "bad day" for stability in Europe, the military alliance's Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CNN Friday, hours after the US withdrew from the pact.

Speaking to CNN's Hala Gorani, the Norwegian politician called the end of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Moscow a "serious setback."

"I'm part of a political generation that was shaped during the 1980s, where we all were concerned for the risk of nuclear war and where we were actually able to reach the INF treaty that didn't only reduce the missiles but banned all intermediate range missiles and weapons," he said.

Stoltenberg went on to blame Russia without mentioning the fake U.S. "ABM" sites in Romania and Poland.

It was John Bolton who was behind the demise of the ABM treaty and it was John Bolton who convinced Trump to terminate the INF treaty. With Bolton in the lead the New Start treaty, which limits intercontinental systems but ends in 2021, will likely not be renewed. Soon the whole system of treaties that limited U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons and delivery means will be gone.

Why is the U.S. so eager to end all these? It is known John Bolton hates anything that restricts the U.S., but there is also a larger strategy behind it. The U.S. believes that it defeated the Soviet Union by creating an arms race that the Soviets lost. It hopes that it can do the same with a recalcitrant Russia. But that calculation is wrong. President Putin has long said that Russia will not fall for it:

Moscow will not engage in an exhausting arms race, and the country’s military spending will gradually decrease as Russia does not seek a role as the “world gendarme,” President Vladimir Putin said.

Moscow is not seeking to get involved in a “pointless” new arms race, and will stick to “smart decisions” to strengthen its defensive capabilities, Putin said on Friday during an annual extended meeting of the Defense Ministry board.

As Patrick Armstrong explains well:

Putin & Co have learned: Russia has no World-Historical purpose and its military is just for Russia. They understand what this means for Russia's Armed Forces:

Moscow doesn't have to match the US military; it just has to checkmate it.

And it doesn't have to checkmate it everywhere, only at home. The US Air Force can rampage anywhere but not in Russia's airspace; the US Navy can go anywhere but not in Russia's waters. It's a much simpler job and it costs much less than what Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev were attempting; it's much easier to achieve; it's easier to plan and carry out. The exceptionalist/interventionist has to plan for Everything; the nationalist for One Thing.

Russia already has all the weapons it needs to defend itself. U.S. warfare depends on satellite communication, air superiority and missiles. But Russia's air defense and electronic warfare systems are first class. They demonstrated in Syria that their capabilities exceed any U.S. systems.

When the U.S. left the ABM treaty Russia started to develop new weapons. In 2018 it was ready and demonstrated weapon systems that defeat any ABM system. The U.S. can not longer achieve first strike capability against Russia no matter how many ABM systems and nukes it deploys. There is no defense against hypersonic systems, nuclear torpedoes or nuclear powered cruise missiles with unlimited reach.

If the U.S. wants to start a new arms race with Russia or China it will be the only one to run. It will have to run fast to catch up.

Unlike the U.S. neither Russia nor China try to achieve world wide hegemony. They only have the need to defend their realm. The U.S. threat against both of them made them allies. If China needs more defense capabilities Russia will be happy to provide these. A U.S. nuclear attack against either of them, from Europe, Japan or the U.S. itself, will be responded to with a nuclear attack on the U.S. mainland. As the U.S. has no ability to defend itself from the new Russian systems it will continue to be deterred.

Posted by b on August 3, 2019 at 18:55 UTC | Permalink

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The US's legacy nuclear arsenal may be effective, but that doesn't mean the $trillions spent on "updating" it will make it more effective. The fact the US gov't can't even make their own rocket engines, (have to buy from RUSSIA!!??!!) and the "private" corporate ones fail regularly shows how badly lacking the US/NATO is when it comes to developing technology, even basic rocket tech. As for new-high-tech, how about that F35?

The US knew it was not at the actual forefront of aerospace tech in the 1950's, which is why the US ordered Canada to scrap the AVRO Arrow, the most advanced fighter-bomber of the time. And when I say scrapped, I mean EVERYTHING was destroyed, blueprints, test info, models, aircraft. I actually saw one of the engines in a local scrapyard, being literally cut to pieces so no parts could ever be reverse-engineered. The engines were sent out to many scrapyards, to reduce the chance enough could be hidden away for future use. NASA and AECL became the new workplaces for many AVRO employees. Many years later, my Applied Mechanics instructor was ex-AVRO, and he explained the whole thing in great detail. Then I worked at AECL and heard EXACTLY the same story from the senior engineers there. Two independent sources, a rare thing even back then.

The US has been running scared for 70 years, hoping Russia and China never managed to get their economic and military feet under themselves. But now China and Russia can stand against the US directly, and increasingly in proxy-wars/colour-revolutions the US/Zionist warmongers are so fond of. Syria will be the example the US now knows it faces in places like Venezuela. Russia saved Syria with minimal expense, and showed that not responding in kind to nasty-but-mostly-for-show US/NATO/Zionist provocations showed the FUKUS/Israeli/Saudi alliance to be weak, not strong as has been incessantly peddled in the MSM.

Posted by: A P | Aug 5 2019 1:42 utc | 101

@103 A P

Excellent comment, thank you.

Posted by: Grieved | Aug 5 2019 1:54 utc | 102

A P @103--

Yes, an intriguing comment requiring deep reflection. It prompted a search which brought numerous hits, one of which was this: "The Avro Arrow Home Page: keeping the memory alive: The page dedicated to the collection and dissemination of Avro Arrow Information." Then there's this curious article calling what A P describes a "conspiracy theory;" however, the writer royally screwed up by writing this phrase: "The controversial decision is the stuff of Canadian mythology..." [My Emphasis] There's no prior mention of any "controversial decision" regarding the airplane; so, for a person like myself who had never heard of any of this, the writer immediately renders itself unfit credibility-wise. And given the site, it's likely disinfo.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 5 2019 2:26 utc | 103

@103 a.p... thanks.. very informative comment...

Posted by: james | Aug 5 2019 2:36 utc | 104

It's virtually a Thought Crime to assert this, but America's sociopathic elites are only reflective of the sociopathic American people themselves.

At base, America is the spawn of the British Evil Empire--just like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, and (to a degree) Apartheid South Africa.

As such, these Anglo Colonizer nations share a common civilizational delusion in their Manifest Destiny to colonize ... I mean... "democratize" the world in the name of Freedom, Liberty, and Human Rights.

But these precious "Western" (really, Anglo-American) values are merely their Goebbelsian version of the White Man's Burden and Western Civilizing Mission.

Moreover, Anglo predator countries led by America will instinctively demonize any nation or government that stands in the way of their New World Order, which is just an Orwellian euphemism for the Anglo American world dictatorship--all the while slaughtering millions of people from Korea to Vietnam to Latin America to Iraq to Afghanistan to Libya to Syria to achieve this Anglo World Dictatorship.

But what is the reaction of the (snicker) peace-loving Anglo American people to the crimes of their own nations?

They will predictably spindoctor and deflect blame away from themselves, tacitly or directly--and project it onto other countries--while pathetically playing the victim of some foreign "threat."

What Anglo Americans simply don't have the balls to admit is that the "true existential threat" is THEMSELVES--the Anglo American Axis of Evil.

They cannot admit this unvarnished reality because, like Donald Trump, they are a nation of narcissistic sociopaths.

And the United States of America is in reality the United Sociopaths of America--from the White House to Main Street, USA.

A pox on them all.

World Conquest: The United States’ Global Military Crusade (1945- )

Posted by: AK74 | Aug 5 2019 7:00 utc | 105

O @ 101 crowed: "Lol is that your attempt to insult me?"

You're not that important.

[sarc] But thank's for the empire's corporate mass media manufactured narrative on "forced technology transfers"! I would never have known what the empire thought about it if you hadn't posted that![/sarc]

Posted by: William Gruff | Aug 5 2019 11:31 utc | 106

@ karlof1

What logical person would think the Canadian gov't would voluntarily give up its entire investment in the domestic aerospace industry? As MoA readers know, the first go-to of the MIC caught in their lies is to deride real info by labeling it "conspiracy theory". AVRO Canada was bankrupted, all the workers let go. It took a snowmobile company (Bombardier) to begin making aircraft in Canada after the others were absorbed into the US MIC fold. Dief also allowed the US to jam the Bomarc (a Boeing product of dubious quality, where have wee seen that?) down our throats, and the execution of the Arrow came shortly after.

Remember the CanadaArm, how big a deal it was that a Canadian company produced it? That company is now owned by a US MIC corporation (L3, or whatever they call themselves this week). The same company produced the first steady-cams, which ended up being used in such harmless aircraft as Apache helicopters...

Global Security is a militarist think-tank. As but one example of their recent handiwork:
Apparently the INF was a bad thing... according to Global Security. And we all know it was the US that violated the INF, not Russia. Warmongers will warmonger.

I literally heard the sonic booms from the Arrow being tested over Lake Ontario, saw the engine in the scrapyard and had personal interaction with ex-AVRO engineering employees... but I'm not a "reliable source"?

Posted by: A P | Aug 5 2019 12:36 utc | 107

Hilarious to watch you Guff repeat the stages of dogmatic cliches over and over. Whenever you use words to the effect "you are aping the MSM/Empire's narrative" what you really mean is "I have no factual response for what you posted with links so I will attack you instead with nonsense hoping to score cheap political points against you with my fellow commenters."

Guff, read this carefully and grow up as a blogger. Your schtick wore out about a decade ago.

Maybe you simply slept through that era, a Rip Van Winkle of Dogmatic Slumber?

Dogma is so dangerous to the Alt-Media Community because it leads to the self-censorship or sometimes even aggressive bullying of a member’s well-intended viewpoints and ultimately blurs the lines between this informational space and the MSM one that people are presumably trying to escape from.

It's old bro, and enlightening to anyone but definitely you.

Posted by: donkeytale | Aug 5 2019 14:12 utc | 108

A P @109--

Sorry if I confused you, but the disinfo artist is the pseudo global security stink tank, not yourself. The first link I provided is to a site run by a person very much like yourself regarding the Arrow.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 5 2019 15:33 utc | 109

@Krollchem #61
Um, no. Not even an enormous one directly over the Eastern population centers would do that.

Posted by: c1ue | Aug 5 2019 18:11 utc | 110

@Jackrabbit #60
What do you call the ongoing fight between the "Russia should be allied with against China" (i.e. Kissinger) vs. "China should be allied with against Russia" (i.e. Brzezinski) vs. "U.S. Uber Alles" (i.e. Bolton)?
Isn't that precisely elites, within the same complex, with different aims?
Political manichaeism is just as crippling as religious.

Posted by: c1ue | Aug 5 2019 18:17 utc | 111

@A P #109
I'm no expert, but I do know that there was a fairly widespread cancellation of national fighter development programs in the late 1950s - UK among others (as well as Canada).
Equally, while the Arrow was indubitably fast, the focus by the late 1960s was more on the "Soviet Missile Gap" (JFK, 1958) due to Sputnik (1957) than interception of bombers.
Thus while there may well have been a conspiracy, it was far more likely one based on strategic goals vs. proprietary ones.

Posted by: c1ue | Aug 5 2019 18:26 utc | 112

Concerning AVRO and a lot else.

This might be wrong (or it could be much more well known than I am aware of) but my understanding is that soon after the Cold War started it was decided that the US should be the bank vault or safe house for more than just gold in Fort Knox (or wherever it might be) but also for military technology (except for some munitions and small arms where the eventual NATO standards were plenty enough). The reasoning was sold as being geographical since the US had been the furthest away from the front lines of WWII and particularly Europe was seen as geographically vulnerable.

This didn't happen overnight or completely but piecemeal and once in a while the US wasn't interested until well afterwards (Harrier Jump Jets). France objected from the start and did their own thing. The UK and anglosphere* were the most compliant. Sometimes the US tried to push for dual use technology and civilian capabilities/uses to be included (Space Shuttle, ITAR madness, attempted Concorde competitor). Both France and Germany rebelled when it came to space capabilities thus rockets like Ariane exist. Italy, Germany, and the UK (and maybe others) later once in a while did their own jets and helicopters.

It might still be more or less current policy but there isn't much talk about it and never really was except for at the beginning(?).

Think of it as a technological reversed lend-lease agreement where any sufficiently interesting technology, experience, and know-how was transferred to the US (and yeah the US shouldn't be complaining about not being paid; they've been paid many times over).

This arrangement might have (had) a name but I can't recall ever hearing or reading one ...and this is old stuff, not secret but perhaps only in the public eye somewhere around the beginning of the 1950ies —btw I'm not that old, I think I got this from some old books that someone (not me) sadly simply chucked away years ago without any thought.

* should use this word more often, much better than "western" in many cases.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Aug 5 2019 23:37 utc | 113

To wrap up the AVRO/tech aspect.

If the US could produce leading-edge post-WW2 technology in all the areas mentioned by myself and others, they would have. There would have been no need for Operation Paperclip. Now that all the ex-Nazi engineers and the next generation they trained are retired or dead, the US is incapable of generating its own new-technology class. DARPA may produce a few practical items, but most fail miserably when taken out of the testing cocoon.

As a prime example, the US has been buying Russian rocket engines, which exist because the bureaucrat in charge didn't scrap the N-1 (predecessor to the RD-180s) when ordered to. The US gained access to this Russian rocket tech during the sell-off of post-USSR resources in the 1990s. Even then, the US has not been able to fully replicate or improve on the Russian designs. Given all the BS Bush II, Obama and Trump have piled on Russia, and the fact Trump is again talking about weaponizing space, it is remarkable that Putin allows the US/RD-180 sales to continue.

Liars, thieves and thugs, US foreign policy in a nutshell.

Posted by: A P | Aug 6 2019 14:48 utc | 114

@ c1ue, The Arrow was a fighter/bomber, and was direct competition to US-controlled MIC offerings. The Harrier got built and later adopted by the US because there was no direct US MIC equivalent. Again, if the US knew how to build something like the Harrier, they would have already been doing it before the Brits.

Plus I doubt the British public would have tolerated the scrapping of the Harrier, unlike the ever-trusting Canadian electorate did with the Arrow debacle.

Posted by: A P | Aug 6 2019 15:17 utc | 115

Although the term's been around awhile, Economic Terrorism is making its way into the global lexicon thanks to the illegal sanctions and embargoes foisted on nations by the Outlaw US Empire. This is the latest use as the Russian Foreign Ministry calls out the just announced embargo against Venezuela for what it is. Earlier this year, Iran rightfully accused the Outlaw US Empire of waging Economic Terrorism against it, which marked the term's usage escalation. Of course, the term is censored by BigLie Media, but its increasing use in international forums like the NAM Conference that just took place and G-20 prior to it helps to further isolate the Empire and its dwindling number of vassals. Thirty years ago, most of the world's nations would kneel and obey US Imperial diktat without question. Now, that situation's reversed, but the credit doesn't all go to Trump for Obama/Clinton/Kerry laid the groundwork whose crimes still exceed those of Trump's.

The embargo against the newly communist China failed; the same happened with Cuba; it's again failing against Iran; and the string of failures will continue with Venezuela. All have lessened the international standing and proven the nature of the Outlaw US Empire; so, why does it persist in this insane behavior pattern--essentially 70 years of policy failure? Is it blinded so well by its own dogma and doctrine to the point where it drinks its own Koolaid? Or is all the bluster, bullying and pontification only meant for domestic consumption? Quien Sabe? Well, looks like the Fed stepped in before the opening of US markets and temporarily stopped the slide.

Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 6 2019 16:45 utc | 116

Thank you for the good summary.

Some of the points made here are very similar to the ones in Patrick Armstrong's July 29 article in the Strategic Culture Foundation:

There are enough similarities for me to wonder if there was some coordination going on among you guys.

Posted by: E | Aug 7 2019 8:20 utc | 117

Oops, I see the reason is that you quoted his article directly (albeit from another URL). :p

Posted by: E | Aug 7 2019 8:24 utc | 118

@A P #117
The Harrier was a specialty craft: VTOL. It was adopted only by the USMC as opposed to the Air Force, Army or even Navy. The USMC is an outlier for any number of purchasing decisions, rightly or wrongly.
In any case, you didn't address my primary point: the Arrow was built against a need which was largely superceded by missile development. The Mig-21 - another delta winged craft - was super fast but turned like a train (i.e. not really).
Did the Arrow not get chosen because the US Air Force etc preferred their own designs? Very possibly.
Was it superior given the tasked missions the US Air Force etc was delivering against? Not at all clear.

Posted by: c1ue | Aug 7 2019 23:54 utc | 119

Not unlike Chuck Norris, Putin is so eclipsingly powerful that he both wins and loses any contest he turns his hand to. Like a boulder hurled by Zeus himself, no eventualities exceed the grasp of truly spanning omnipotence.

Posted by: FSD | Aug 14 2019 13:06 utc | 120

Perrys serious warning is about hair-trigger in that Russia as the article concedes wont know whether missiles in Poland Hungary and Romania are offensive or not and will have no time for reasonable deduction nor for even a tel call- this is the danger these fools have thrust upon the world.The article dangerously omits this .

Posted by: bill | Aug 26 2019 11:58 utc | 121

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