Endangering a Landmark Nuclear Treaty

Official Washington’s political game of heightening tensions with nuclear-armed Russia to get better control of President Trump could destroy a landmark nuclear arms control treaty, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

By Jonathan Marshall

On Aug. 3, President Trump told millions of Twitter followers to “thank Congress” for the fact that “our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low.” The immediate impetus for his remark was congressional passage of new economic sanctions against Russia, but Trump might just as well have pointed to moves by the body to jeopardize a landmark arms control treaty negotiated in 1987 by President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

President Reagan meeting with Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev at the Soviet Mission during the Geneva Summit in Switzerland, Nov.20, 1985. (Photo from Reagan presidential library)

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was remarkable for prohibiting an entire class of existing weapons, with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. Ratified by the Senate in 1988, following one of the darkest periods of the Cold War, it led to the destruction of 2,700 missiles, both nuclear and conventional, over a period of about three years.

The treaty also opened the door to on-site inspections and other verification measures that made possible the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in 1991, under President George H.W. Bush. Greg Thielmann, a former top State Department intelligence official who advised on the INF treaty negotiations, has called its success “unprecedented” and “one of the world’s most dramatic achievements in curbing the nuclear arms race.”

Putting those great accomplishments at risk, the proposed new National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House in July, authorizes the development of a new land-based missile banned by the INF treaty. A companion Senate bill, which will be considered after the August recess, would fund initial Pentagon development of a similarly prohibited missile.

In each case, the real target of the new missiles proposed by congressional hawks like Republican Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas isn’t any particular Russian military capability, but the spirit of cooperation and shared interests that made arms control possible in the years from Nixon to Obama.

Objections to Risk

“The INF Treaty is fundamental to European security,” declared a team of distinguished U.S., German, and Russian nuclear arms experts in April. “If the treaty unravels, it will open the door to an arms race in ground-launched intermediate-range missiles, which will diminish security in both Europe and Asia . . . and undermine the entire regime of nuclear arms control between the United States and Russia.”

Sergey V. Lavrov, Russia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, addresses the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23, 2016. (UN Photo)

The missile-rattling by members of Congress is rooted in Washington’s concern that Russia recently began to deploy an upgraded version of an existing ground-launched cruise missile, dubbed the SSC-8, with a prohibited range beyond 500 kilometers. Russia denies any violation of the treaty, but the U.S. responding to a possible violation by blowing up the entire treaty would be an act of strategic folly.

Tom Collina, an arms control expert with the Ploughshares Fund, told me that he and other independent analysts can’t assess the evidence because it’s so highly classified. But he was impressed by the fact that key members of the Obama administration vouched for it: “These were people I know supported arms control with Russia, and finding this [breach] was very inconvenient. The last thing they wanted was to have to tell the U.S. Senate that Russia is cheating.”

Gen. James Mattis told the Senate Armed Services Committee during its consideration of his nomination to President Trump’s Secretary of Defense, “If Russia is permitted to violate the treaty with impunity, such actions could erode the foundations of all current and future arms control agreements and initiatives.”

But the U.S. response doesn’t have to be hasty or extreme. U.S. defense planners aren’t losing any sleep over the limited Russian deployment of its questionable missiles.

“Given the location of the specific missile and the deployment, they don’t gain any advantage in Europe,” said Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Senate hearings last month.

Evidence and Inspections

A reasonable approach advocated by many experts is to start by confronting the Russians with more specific evidence of their alleged violation. At a press briefing in June, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his government was ready for an “honest but specific dialogue” and had “no intention to break the treaty.”

A busy tourist scene in St. Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Robert Parry)

The Russians may be using their cruise missile deployment as leverage to force discussion of their own complaint that NATO’s missile-interceptor systems in Eastern Europe have potential offensive uses. Russian military experts claim the launchers used in those systems can house intermediate-range cruise missiles prohibited by the INF treaty.

Russian military leaders have expressed public concerns about the threat of a surprise attack on their command and control centers from such stealthy and precision-targeted missiles. The short flight times of those missiles to Moscow could facilitate the “decapitation” of Russia’s political and military leadership.

Russia’s fears may be misplaced or overblown, but they are fanned by the blatant dishonesty of NATO’s claims that its interceptors are merely designed to defend against ballistic missiles from Iran. Iran has no missiles capable of striking most of Europe. Nor does it have a nuclear weapons program, as confirmed by regular international inspections and the State Department’s own certification.

Moscow’s claims, like Washington’s concerns over Russia’s recent missile deployments, should be amenable to inspection and resolution by panels of technical experts, say nuclear arms experts. The INF treaty created a Special Verification Commission (SVC) to address just such issues.

“U.S. willingness to allow Russian access to deployed [missile interceptor] launchers and Russian willingness to accept on-site monitoring of SSC-8 [cruise missile] launchers at test sites and challenge inspections at suspect deployment sites could lead to a breakthrough in the current compliance stalemate,” writes Thielmann.

Political Obstacles

The technical challenges are real, but Thielmann and other experts suggest the political challenges are even greater. Many congressional hawks evidently don’t want a cooperative resolution of the issue. Although President Trump has sought to work with President Putin, he has also expressed contempt for arms control. (“Let it be an arms race,” Trump told an interviewer in December. “We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”)

Last but not least, the Pentagon is pushing for a trillion-dollar nuclear “modernization” program and a new generation of smaller nuclear warheads it deems suitable for “warfighting.” Russia, of course, is not standing still, either.

Jon Wolfsthal, the top White House arms control expert under President Obama, reminds us that in today’s poisonous political atmosphere, “The danger(s) of an accidental or unintended conflict . . . are as high as they have been since the collapse of the Soviet Union.”

Given the immense stakes for all humanity, Trump should invoke the spirit of Ronald Reagan to quell moves by congressional conservatives to derail the INF treaty. Their misguided attempts to grab a temporary lead in the nuclear arms race, instead of pursuing a mutual end to that race altogether, will only put U.S. security more at risk.

Jonathan Marshall is a regular contributor to Consortiumnews.com.

35 comments for “Endangering a Landmark Nuclear Treaty

  1. Sandy
    August 12, 2017 at 07:24

    June 26, 1960. On this date a nuclear explosion due to B50 crash was averted by a daring young pilot who went on to train later in life the Korean Airline pilot who flew KAL007 over Kamchatka sensitive Soviet air space, resulting in yet again a Cold War standoff. Guam, Wake Island, Okinawa, have always been key nuclear playgrounds for the USAF. http://kal007mystery.tripod.com/satellite-escapades.html … We need more Parrys & Pilgers & Hershes to inform us, that is certain.

  2. eric
    August 9, 2017 at 17:34

    it is not worth me posting they don’t show up

  3. eric
    August 9, 2017 at 17:10

    You don’t really believe the treaties mean much do you ? Hitler and Stalin had a agreement over Poland . What became of it ?. Nations and their armies behave more like common criminals than anything else .We promised Russia NATO would not try to move east Why are we in Ukraine and the Baltic states ?

  4. john wilson
    August 7, 2017 at 03:58

    If the INF nuclear inspectorate are anything like the chemical weapons inspection outfit, then they are not worth a cent of anyone’s money. Anyway, as both countries already have enough nukes to destroy the planet inspecting them to see if they have a few more seems pointless to me.

    • mike k
      August 7, 2017 at 12:43

      Well John, do you believe the propaganda lie that Assad used chemical weapons? Otherwise I see no reason to doubt that the inspectors managed to rid Syrian forces of those weapons. Did you also disbelieve Scott Ritter and his inspection team when they reported Saddam had no such WMD’s?

  5. BobS
    August 7, 2017 at 00:10

    Any discussion of the INF Treaty needs to mention that former Warsaw Pact members Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, & Slovakia, as well as much of former Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro) have been incorporated into NATO since that treaty was negotiated, extending NATO to Russia’s western border. Not to mention western meddling in Georgia and Ukraine.
    If in fact Russia has violated the treaty, it can be argued it wasn’t without considerable provocation and understandable concern for it’s security.

  6. August 6, 2017 at 21:25

    August 6, 1945, 72 years ago today, the United States dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 6, 2017 at 23:08

      Jessica I hope you like reading David Swanson, because this link is his remarks at Hiroshima-Nagasaki Commemoration at Peace Garden at Lake Harriet, Minneapolis, Minn., Aug. 6, 2017.


    • Joe Tedesky
      August 6, 2017 at 23:48

      Truman spoke over the radio to our having the ‘bomb’ during his Potsdam Conference, he ended his speech with these following words;

      “We must constitute ourselves trustees of this new force–to prevent its misuse, and to turn it into the channels of service to mankind.

      It is an awful responsibility which has come to us.

      We thank God that it has come to us, instead of to our enemies; and we pray that He may guide us to use it in His ways and for His purposes.”

      It may be worth knowing that in the beginning of this Truman speech, he had said that Hiroshima was a Japanese military base. You can read about this on globalresearch.com written by Prof Michel Chossudovsky.

      • Zachary Smith
        August 7, 2017 at 00:38

        In 1946 Masuo Kato published his book titled The Lost War. He had been a Domei reporter in the US at the time of Pearl Harbor, and throughout the book did a lot of “name dropping” of important Japanese officials to strongly imply he had inside information. At one point he said one of his unusual “perks” was access to a shortwave radio to listen to Western radio broadcasts.

        Anyhow, on page 228 of my copy the author made this statement:

        It is no exaggeration to say that at least 120,000 of the civilian population were killed and many others injured. There were stationed in the area 80,000 troops of which fully half were killed in addition to the civilians, although this fact wasn’t announced.

        He went on to say that the commander of this force and many high-ranking officers were killed as well. After making these firm numerical claims, he went on to say that the later “official” death counts were drastically reduced, but without speculating why this had happened.

        Not that the “military base” business would have mattered either way – there were only a handful of relatively untouched Japanese cities which hadn’t already been destroyed by the fire bombs. As the same author said, Nagasaki was full of Japanese Catholics, and it had met the same fate.

      • Bob Van Noy
        August 7, 2017 at 10:26

        Here is where Henry Wallace would have made the difference going forward and why he probably why he was replaced by Truman. (I know you know this but America may not).


    • mike k
      August 7, 2017 at 12:37

      I was sitting in a movie theater that August afternoon, when the film was stopped and an announcement was made that the atomic weapon had been used against the Japanese. At the age of fourteen I had studied atomic physics a bit, and understood what that weapon must have been, and how powerful it was. I was simply excited and somehow exultant that this weapon had worked as theory predicted it would. My remorse and sadness for what we had done, and those who had suffered it’s horrible effects only came later, as I grew more mature and outgrew my worship of the military and it’s explosive powers.

  7. August 6, 2017 at 20:42

    Hello, Joe, but how long for this insanity? According to Google “Now”, calls for “Rexit” have reached “fever pitch”. Forces want Rex Tillerson gone, the NYT saying he is “possibly the worst Secretary of State”. What, they approve of Hillary Clinton’s destruction of Libya? Undoubtedly they want him gone because he does not want hostility toward Russia, he just met with Lavrov.

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 6, 2017 at 22:46

      This author of the link I am providing, Jean Perier says, that now that President Trump has signed the Russia-Iran-N Korea sanctions bill, that he and his administration are lame ducks. Perier also makes mention that inside this bill is some very exact language, whereas Trump admits that there was foreign intervention in this past 2016 election. Think about that for a moment, that after all of this nonsensical Russia stuff and the past presidential election controversies, that Trump collapses to sign such a stupid thing.


      Jessica what we all have been watching for these last few months is a bureaucratic coup taking down a democratically elected sitting U.S. president. You really got to hate Trump, in order to rationalize that by taking out a President in such a manner, that this is quite okay. I mean, okay then, hate Trump for the policies he is or has been able to put in place. I could mention a few, like what his administration is doing to the EPA, or his constantly going after minority’s, but to use the media which has been done, and to flip a majority Republican House and Senate against a Republican president while in office, is not only scary by the rules of good governess, but this also goes against the conduct of strategic party politics. To be very honest, there is only one powerful enough lobby to whom could have pulled this off, and that is America’s only Middle East democracy and ally, who is capable enough to have done this much damage, and have this much influence over our U.S. Congress.

      • CitizenOne
        August 7, 2017 at 00:12

        I really do not think anyone used the media to take down Trump. There is a logical chain of events that the Russians themselves have outlined. The first offensive action was the Supreme Court which ruled in two cases to eliminate all regulations for campaign donors and to give billionaires the ability to send billions of dollars in dark money into the election. The first result was 14 republican candidates for president. That should give you an estimate of the amount of money that was given to the republican candidates. Enough to fund 14 candidates. These court rulings uncorked the demon that 100 years of campaign regulations sought to keep in check. Unchecked, the flow of dark money was the prize piggy bank the media sought to collect. They needed a horse they could inject into the race to use as a means to extort money from the Super PACs. Despite the open confusion by the media as to how Donald Trump was somehow able to gain the limelight, game the media corporations and manipulate them to his advantageisl a lie by the media in an attempt to coverup their complicity to put Trump out into the media sphere for their own financial gain. Trump was no genius who masterminded a way to manipulate the press. The press was the mastermind behind their own concerted efforts to give him unlimited free airtime ad nausea while they watched and waited for Super PACs to funnel all their money into advertising which went straight to the top line of the mega media corporations. This is the result of the Supreme Court’s decisions which threw out every campaign finance reform going back 100 years.. The Russians know it and we should also know it.

        Once the media extorted all the cash and Trump was elected they faced a problem. They needed a way to let themselves off the hook for the results of the election. In the typical way they formed a strategy to blame a long time adversary thus shielding themselves from criticism. It worked just like it worked when they formed the Tea Party to turn public anger against the Wall Street billionaires and use public outrage to their advantage by blaming the tax code and the government. The strategy they formed was as old as the hills. They mounted an offensive against the Russians and began spewing the line that the Russians were at the heart of the election results. In fact, the media was at the heart of the election results which meant they had one other thing they needed to take care of. That was to confuse the critics and blame everything on fake news which was their specialty to further obfuscate their complicity.

        It was not an outside coup. It was an inside job.

        There is a catch. The people see through it and Trump most certainly sees through it. So the press doubled down on dumb and engaged in big lie propaganda to convince us that they were not the bad guys. It was the Russians.

        There are more than convincing reports that the media knew what it was doing all along to fool all of the people all of the time. But as it was said a long time ago you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.

        Now they have a problem of their own creation. They have caused the election results and they have to clean up after their plot to rake in billions of dollars. The scheme is misdirecting everyone and blaming the Russians.

        It was the same story with Iraq. History has proven that all of the lies which led to the Iraq war were just that. Lies.

        If we are going to ever learn any lessons the biggest lesson to learn is that our media is lying all the time and that our politicians follow the fake news as if it was a bible.

        I agree that Trump has gone down the wrong path with his mindset that the government is to blame for everything. But to blame Trump for the actions of the neocons is to ignore how neo-conservatives and their handmaiden press have pushed off blame for a whole bunch of disastrous plans based on their profit motives to convince us that some other thing is responsible for the election. Our politicians have bought it completely since they know that the limelight will cast a favorable light on those politicians who tow the line.and pillory anyone who bucks the system.

        No foreign agent is required to find the root cause of the election. The Washington establishment and the press corps which dominate the discussion are to blame.

        As usual, the problem lies right here at home.

        What they most want is to convince us that an enemy is responsible for current events when they are responsible for what has happened.

        • Joe Tedesky
          August 7, 2017 at 01:41

          I’m not always a great wordsmith, and I agree with all you said. Where is the line between the CIA and the MSM? To support what you said CitizenOne the MSM gave candidate Donald Trump 4.6 billion dollars worth of free television coverage, then like you said, blamed the Russians for Hillary’s loss.

          Well explained there CitizenOne. Joe

        • Bob Van Noy
          August 7, 2017 at 09:35

          Citizen One And Joe. Thank you for the give and take. Citizen, your explanation sounds right. I often say that the truth jumps off the page, and this seems about right. Two thoughts…

          I get along these days by imagining a massive trial environment, roughly like the Sam Ervin Watergate hearings, televised nationally, with a device that allows for public input and opinion. I take some pleasure in calling a liar, a liar, in public. I must say (and I’m not particularly proud of this) that I enjoyed Nixon’s public humiliation, not so much for Watergate, but for his Vietnam policy. I imagine each of the Neocons testifying realizing that they, by type, are classic bullies, with no real fight in them. Then my better side kicks in and I say to my self, “hell, if they admit it, let them go.” Yesterday, I remembered Richard Pearle selling the Iraq War, and in light of the damage caused to the Country and Iraq, I thought, execution is appropriate!

          Its been a long battle, one gets weary, this congressional vote was devastating, they’ve humiliated us as a Country.

          Democratically, somehow we must find a way to replace all of them and a way to do it cheaply, so that there is a glaring difference between the people’s candidates and those of Oligarchy. One More Election, that’s all we have…

          • Bob Van Noy
            August 7, 2017 at 12:23

            Thinking further: I realize that going Way Back; America Not Native America, but the first generation of Americans, born in America (largely European), sought to engage in the ongoing European Enlightenment, but they were not totally confident in their assumptions. You realize this in the writings of people like Jefferson, Emerson and Margret Fuller. Later, American Scholars became much more confident their own assumptions, based upon better knowledge of the Our Country’s great wealth and isolation. Leo Tolstoy understood this positive leap, and tried to project it onto his beloved country. This sort of positive, common man thinking, was and still is a large part of mankind trying to resolve injustice and inequality. We would do well to continue this tradition by recognizing our unique differences (Sovereignty) and re-finding the now lost art of diplomacy. The Neocons are trying to destroy diplomatic relations. It really is that simple.

            Both Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski are still regarded as acclaimed scholars but I disagree, they lack totally the positive position Our Early American Intellects tried to project. I reject their old thinking as unnecessarily negative… Our great foreign policy mistake is it Always presumes duplicity, unnecessarily.

            Also, to keep things focussed, l know there is a much larger World Discussion that does not fit this context.

            AND, here in America, we desperately need to Throw the Rascals Out

  8. August 6, 2017 at 19:10

    Mark is exactly right, the US is the world’s major violator of treaties, all the while blathering to its sheeple that it is the arbiter of truth in the world. The power structure began violating their word from Day One, the Native Americans will tell you that, and have never stopped. The rest of the nations for the most part have had it with the world’s bully, and it’s about time somebody bloodies the nose of this warmongering imbecilic nation.

    If I thought that the US bully could continue such behavior ad infinitum, I might possibly subscribe to the notion, sometimes expressed, that evil aliens have taken over this planet. But i do think the comeuppance is on the way for the US government psychopaths.

    Can you see the entry for “belligerents” in a mock Wikipedia listing of “WWIII”, one ‘belligerent’, United States of America?

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 6, 2017 at 20:04

      It does seem unsustainable.

  9. mark
    August 6, 2017 at 18:43

    It is completely pointless trying to negotiate any treaty, agreement or understanding with the US. The US, like Nazi Germany before it, has broken every treaty it has made that it has ever entered into of its own volition with other countries acting in good faith. They have reneged on the ABM Treaty, the INF Treaty, the Iran nuclear agreement, cooperation agreements in Syria, the Korea nuclear deal of the 1990s, NATO enlargement, the list is endless. N.Korea only has a nuclear weapons programme because the US refused to honour its obligations and commitments – supplying fuel oil and 2 nuclear power plants of a type unsuitable for making weapons if N.Korea dismantled its nuclear weapons programme. Duplicity and bad faith are in the US DNA.

    • August 6, 2017 at 22:48

      Usa is developing a new generation of warheads and doing virtual testing at Los Alamos.

    • Call A Spade
      August 7, 2017 at 06:15

      How many treaties did Nazi Germany break okay it was 1 with help from those that made the treaties i.e. Britain and France. So don’t compare the NEW fascists will their long destroyed forbears the new are a whole new level on every level.

  10. CitizenOne
    August 6, 2017 at 17:05

    There is little doubt that the only thing which has preserved peace in Europe and elsewhere is our nuclear arsenal. It seems like a paradox but Mutual Assured Destruction MAD works because there can be no winner. Only losers. However, there ate developments in technology and increased capabilities which destabilize the balance. All the treaties are to prevent one side from creating a “winnable” nuclear war. Actually it is to keep even the thought away.

    It is also clear that all through the post WWII era and ensuing Cold War, there have been folks on either side who have been for or against various initiatives. Sometimes mutual agreements were made to increase stability and other times both sides have done things to provoke and prod and push. Putin is in this class or at least he has not stopped some actions which were clear provocations.

    But we are no better. We have done plenty to provoke them. Like starting a civil war in Ukraine. Like our trashing of the ABM treaty.

    Although ABM technology is unreliable and only leads the other side to aim more weapons to account for losses, it is mainly for psychological reasons. Nobody should even think that they have a magic nuclear bomb proof shield.

    So both sides need to talk like in the past and agree that breaking treaties and knocking each other over is not good for anybody.

    Are we going to spend a trillion dollars to modernize our nuclear program? Sure. We do it all the time and so do the Russians. Each party does not want a bunch of old tech. This is how the military works. It is like that everywhere.

    What is bad however is that there seems to be no way of stopping or ratcheting down the escalation of tensions. Obama just went along with the plans. He didn’t really ever do any of the things he promised to do like bring the troops home but he sure helped make a mess in Syria, Ukraine and Libya.

    But just as soon as Donald Trump says enough is enough, the Congress goes and passes laws like this which aim to hog tie him and strip away his power. That is the unacceptable part.

    It is like Flag burning. A truly stupid thing to do. Not only does it dishonor those who sacrificed and died to protect our freedoms and defend our Constitution but it is destroying the symbol of our Constitution. In effect, one is burning the Constitution of the United States and all that it stands for. Protesters who are angry at politicians have often burned the flag and it is not illegal because of our protected free speech. We are free to protest. It states our right to do so clearly in the Constitution.

    The scary part is what would happen if we removed free speech from the Constitution to prevent people from protesting. That is in a way what this law does. By taking away the right of the president to negotiate like former presidents just because we don’t like the guy in the White House and by making it illegal to even meet with Russians or conduct “exchanges” with them unless he risks being prosecuted is just like a law banning flag burning by eliminating free speech.. It seeks to remedy a problem by creating a much bigger problem.

    I am fairly sure the Supreme Court is going to strike this law down. I sure hope so. These politicians need to be booted from office so some hopefully better folks will be able to forge a better way.

    All this because of a bunch of sore losers? That’s nuts!

  11. Chumpsky
    August 6, 2017 at 15:25

    By placing treaty obligations that have been successfully verified and in compliance in jeopardy is perhaps less of an indictment of the Trump presidency as it is acknowledgement that the “official Washington” policy via the new trade sanctions law is of officially kicking-off Cold War II. Russian “hacking”, or even “missile envy”, is nothing more than a Gulf of Tonkin or Kuwaiti baby incubator type of raison d’etre to vilify Russia–all necessary for increasing the coffers of the military-industrial-complex by using NATO, et al. as convenient cover. Both Trump, republicans and democrats alike, are for growing this parasitic industry and archaic institution of post-war Europe. It’s just that Trump represents an overt attempt to temper such blundered funds by diverting more of them to fund a domestic agenda and to reduce taxation in order to “Make America Great Again.”

    The truth is that the failing petro-dollar is driving this bus and jeopardizing the NPT and START are just useful footballs as cover to force conformity of all nations’ trade into using USD based securities for settlement of international obligations. It is a clear message to the new kid on the block to temper its enthusiasm for its own system of international trade settlements.

    Yes, the American Empire is progressing towards ineluctable collapse. Such may hasten, as Wolfshal aptly stated, with more trigger mechanisms and physical sites for unintentional conflict and accidents to take place through an expanding circle of nuclear and conventional so-called defensive deterrents, most in countries and states of which are operated by CIA backed bogeymen.

  12. Michael Kenny
    August 6, 2017 at 12:52

    Russia may well deny any violation of the INF but both Mr Marshall himself and the “distinguished experts” to whom he refers accept that Russia is indeed in violation and the Russian counter-accusation seems to be little more than the classic “accuse your enemy of what he’s accusing you” tactic, which dates back to Lenin (old habits die hard!). The experts propose inspection as a means of resolving the question and that is a very good idea, but what happens in the interim? If you suspect your enemy of building up its arsenal, do you sit back and wait for an inspection while your enemy continues to build up its arsenal? By the time your suspicions are confirmed, the enemy has a huge lead over you. So there has to be some immediate reaction and development of the new missile gives the US leverage in the negotiations. The fundamental problem with Putin is that he is untrustworthy and therefore, unpredictable, something that wasn’t true of the Soviet leaders in 1987. And when it comes to “blowing up” treaties, Putin has already stolen a march on the US! By invading Ukraine, annexing part of its territory, fomenting rebellions elsewhere, threatening to make war on Ukraine if it seeks to assert its sovereign rights in those territories, seeking to dictate to Ukraine the contents of its constitution and its internal administrative structure and stalling all negotiations on a peaceful settlement, Putin has violated nine of the ten fundamental principles of the Helsinki Final Act, which the, much wiser, Soviet leaders negotiated in 1975. He can thus be said to have “blown up” that entire treaty, which was supposed to provide us all in Europe with peace and security and, indeed, did so until Putin violated it. There are two options in Europe: Helsinki or confrontation. Putin has chosen confrontation and forcing him into the kind of expensive arms race that helped bring down the Soviet Union and very definitely didn’t set off a nuclear war! If the ideology-based communist system didn’t fight, why would Putin’s gangster state fight? As Don Corleone famously said, it’s bad for business!

    • Mulga Mumblebrain
      August 6, 2017 at 15:52

      Always interesting to see psychotic liars, a true Yankee type, projecting their own crimes onto others. In fact, in the real world, not the fantasy world of ‘Exceptionalist’ psychopaths, the USA has been relentlessly aggressive against the rest of humanity since 1620, and against the Soviet Union and Russia since 1917,
      At very step of the Cold War, the US psychopaths were the aggressors, seeking the opportunity to attack and devastate the USSR or Russia with relative impunity. In this case, despite the typical lying treachery of extending NATO right to Russia’s border in contravention of solemn promises made to Gorbachev, and installing nuclear first-strike so-called ‘missile defence’ systems under the moronic, lying, pretense of defending against IRAN!!, Russia patiently hoped for Europeans, who will all die in a conflagration for the right of Yankee psychopaths to rule the Universe with ‘Full Spectrum Dominance’, to reverse Washington’s psychotic aggression. That hope died when the USA installed fascists in power in Kiev through a violent putsch. The rest will be history, and soon, judging by the blood-thirsty psychopathy of creatures like this.

    • DocHollywood
      August 6, 2017 at 16:34

      And when it comes to “blowing up” treaties, Putin has already stolen a march on the US! By invading Ukraine . . .

      “. . .the evidence is even clearer that U.S. government operatives, particularly Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt, helped orchestrate the 2014 coup that overthrew Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych. Indeed, journalists knew more about the coup-plotting in Ukraine in real-time than we did about the coups in Iran and Guatemala six decades ago.

      In the Ukraine case, there was even an intercepted phone call just weeks before the Feb. 22, 2014 coup revealing Nuland handpicking the new Ukrainian leaders “Yats is the guy,” she said referring to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who would become the post-coup prime minister as Pyatt pondered how “to midwife this thing” and Nuland dismissed the European Union’s less aggressive approach with the pithy remark, “Fuck the EU!”

      . . .Nuland and Sen. John McCain personally cheered on anti-government protesters in Kiev’s Maidan square. Nuland literally passed out cookies, and McCain, standing on stage with right-wing extremists from the Svoboda Party, told the crowd that the United States was with them in their challenge to the Ukrainian government. Meanwhile, Pyatt advised the coup-makers from the U.S. Embassy.

      The U.S. interference was so blatant that George Friedman, founder of the global intelligence firm Stratfor, called Yanukovych’s ouster “the most blatant coup in history.”

      Blatant to anyone, that is, who wasn’t part of the U.S. government’s propaganda team, which included the foreign desk of The New York Times and virtually every mainstream U.S. media outlet. Following the script of the State Department’s propagandists, the Times and the MSM saw only a glorious people’s “revolution.” – Ukraine Rightists Kill Police; Putin Blamed

      . . .annexing part of its territory, . . .

      “. . .However, ethnic Russians from Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the key bases of support for Yanukovych, resisted the new order in Kiev. The people of Crimea organized a referendum in which 96 percent of the voters favored seceding from Ukraine and rejoining Russia, ties that went back to the Eighteenth Century. When Putin and Russia agreed to accept Crimea, the Times and the MSM announced a “Russian invasion,” although in this case the Russian troops were already stationed in Crimea under the Sebastopol port agreement.

      Ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine also rose up demanding independence or at least autonomy from the hostile regime in Kiev. The new government responded by labeling the dissidents “terrorists” and mounting an “Anti-Terrorist Operation,” which killed thousands and was spearheaded by neo-Nazi and Islamist militias. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Ukraine Merges Nazis and Islamists.”]

      Although the Times at times would acknowledge the key role played by the neo-Nazis and other ultra-nationalists, that troublesome information along with the Nuland-Pyatt phone call and other evidence of the coup would disappear into the Memory Hole when the Times was summarizing the Ukraine narrative or was decrying anyone who dared use the word coup” – Ibid

      . . .fomenting rebellions elsewhere. . .

      “The Russians did not overthrow the government of elected Iranian leader Mohammed Mossadegh in order to put Shah Reza Pahlavi on the Peacock Throne, to then murder and torture his way into history via his dreaded secret police SAVAK, leading to the revolution which made Iran an Islamic Republic. No, that was the United States. . .

      The Russians did not use the CIA to support Osama bin Laden and other islamist jihadis fighting the Soviet client government in Afghanistan in the late 1970s, provoking the Russian invasion, and resulting in the birth of Al-Qaeda. . .

      The Russians did not support and arm Saddam Hussein in Iraq for years, ignoring his brutal crimes against his own Shiite population and backing him in his war of aggression against Iran. That would be, yet again, the United States. . .

      The Russians did not invade Iraq in 2003. . .and the same Russians did not mount a massive propaganda campaign with the help of presstitute media such as CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. . .

      The Russians did not join together with the UK and France in 2011 to destroy the Libyan state in a major bombing campaign which killed an estimated 30,000 civilians, following US/UK support for Libyan rebels designed to set up the “revolution” in Africa’s most prosperous nation. The Russians then did not abandon the country to its fate, which soon turned out to be rival governments and militias, a growing ISIS presence, actual slave markets where helpless refugees are sold like cattle, and thousands of refugees drowning in the Mediterranean after paying human traffickers to take them to Europe in tiny, overloaded boats. . .

      The Russians did not provoke the war in Syria. . .The Russians did not encourage demonstrations in Syria which produced a predictable heavy-handed response, and the Russians did not then proceed to arm and fund islamist fighters from both inside and outside of Syria in a war which has killed half a million persons. . .

      Which brings us to Ukraine. . .It was not the Russians who spent (by Nuland’s own recorded admission) five billion dollars to lay the groundwork for a NATO-EU presence in Ukraine. No Russian accompanied her and Senator John McCain to pass out cookies on the Maidan in Kiev and encourage crowds to finally overthrow Ukraine’s elected President Viktor Yanukovych, which shortly thereafter came to pass with the help of a number of participating murderous snipers who have yet to be identified. Once he was out of power – in a US-supported coup directly on Russia’s borders in violation of numerous commitments. . .” – The Russians Didn’t Do It

    • Joe Tedesky
      August 6, 2017 at 16:48

      Victoria is that you? How’s about some cookies? Yeah, after we enjoy these delicious cookies you handed out, then can we FU the EU? Also the 5 billion we spend to arrange our Color Revolutions did finally pay off. Yay soon American LNG can gouge the eyes out, and empty their walllets out as well, of every European who thought we Americans were working towards their interest….crazy Europeans. Wow, I’m so jacked up, is this Lee Greenwood I hear singing in the background? Yes, and I’m proud to be an American, that’s for sure. Love and kisses Victoria, and as always FU the EU, and let them eat cookies. Dick Darth Vader Cheney

      Ps Victoria don’t be ashamed to use your real name….the English sounding one that is.

    • Zachary Smith
      August 6, 2017 at 20:39

      Russia may well deny any violation of the INF but both Mr Marshall himself and the “distinguished experts” to whom he refers accept that Russia is indeed in violation and the Russian counter-accusation seems to be little more than the classic “accuse your enemy of what he’s accusing you” tactic, which dates back to Lenin (old habits die hard!).

      From what I can make out of all this, everybody is cheating on the INF treaty. Russia has this new pygmy ICBM which they once tested at the treaty distance, but it is obviously designed to work at much shorter distances.


      On the other side, the US is NOT deploying ground-launched cruise missiles in defiance of the treaty – just ask the Powers That Be. But on the other hand, sea-launched extreme range Tomahawks are perfectly legal.


      Naturally the US and A, being a totally Exceptional Nation, would never do evil – we’re just too darned good and pure. But one thing which is being done by the Good Guys is installing a system called Aegis Ashore. This involves taking the radars and missile systems which would normally go aboard a big Naval ship and bolting them to concrete foundations on land. By some odd coincidence, right on Russia’s border.

      The missile launchers are labeled Mk-41, and Navy missiles are standardized so you can stuff just about any useful weapons into the neat steel tubes. Including those treaty-breaking Tomahawks. But I think I’ve mentioned how we in the US of A are the Good Guys, and will never tell a lie or break a treaty. Trust us not to ever put a few dozen Long Range Tomahawks into those Mk-41 tubes.


      Since Putin is a known criminal clear through to his bone marrow, HE is the person to watch. Focus only on HIS potential crimes.

      Thus saith the tireless smiter of evildoers Michael Kenny.

  13. mike k
    August 6, 2017 at 11:17

    In the twilight of the American Empire, it is doing the predictable: making war to deny the inevitable collapse already in progress.

  14. mike k
    August 6, 2017 at 11:12

    President Trump did not have to sign the Russia Sanctions Bill. His doing so is another major mistake in his incoherent role as President.

  15. mike k
    August 6, 2017 at 11:05

    Any stance that regards the US Congressional Bill sanctioning Russia as anything other than a Declaration of War, is out of touch with the reality of this incredible decision made entirely on the basis of lies about Russia interfering in our phony election. This casually made decision will turn out to be a decisive moment in the history of our world. Russia and China certainly understand this, and are arming themselves rapidly now for the imminent WAR.

    • eric
      August 9, 2017 at 17:16

      And Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul were the only two senators that thought differently , The House only had 3 voters that peace would better than war .

  16. mike k
    August 6, 2017 at 10:16

    It is the nature of hubris that it knows no limits, and the stronger it becomes the more irrational and uncontrollable it is. This is happening at the heart of the American Empire, and it is threatening the continuation of human life on this planet. We may soon join the many other species we have caused to go extinct ourselves. Most people do not understand the advanced form of insanity known as runaway addiction. This is where we stand today, with this fatal disease careening into it’s final stages.

    Unless we recognize this underlying dynamic behind the happenings of our times, we will be unable to summon the resolve to take the corrective measures necessary to reverse this descent into madness and extinction. Members of the public have a sense that something is very wrong in our present behavior and thinking, but it is not clear to them what it is. The ceaseless drumbeat of propaganda blinds us to the real source of our imminent disaster. It is easier to deny the seriousness of our position, or to blame it on others, and convert them into supposed enemies, than to turn and confront ourselves and our flawed culture as the real culprits.

    Time is very short now, and I fear it may be too late for us to look deeply and honestly at ourselves, before we plunge blindly over the precipice that is now yawning wide before us.

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