With Growing Global Calls to Abolish Nukes, Trump Vows to Abandon Historic Nuclear Treaty
October 23, 2018
Alice Slater / World BEYOND War & Institute for Public Accountability & Fox News & The Guardian
With 122 nations having voted last summer to adopt a treaty for the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons, just as the world has banned chemical and biological weapons, it seems that the world is locked in a new Cold War time-warp, totally inappropriate to the times. Donald Trump has confirmed the US will leave an arms control treaty with Russia dating from the cold war that has kept nuclear missiles out of Europe for three decades.
"This is the most severe crisis in nuclear arms control since the 1980s. 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."
-- Malcolm Chalmers, Deputy Director General of the Royal United Services Institute
Time Out for Nukes!
Alice Slater / World BEYOND War
(October 22, 2018) -- With 122 nations having voted last summer to adopt a treaty for the complete prohibition of nuclear weapons, just as the world has banned chemical and biological weapons, it seems that the world is locked in a new Cold War time-warp, totally inappropriate to the times.
We were warned last week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that prior calculations about the risk of catastrophic climate change were off, and that without a full scale immediate mobilization humanity will face disastrous rising sea levels, temperature changes, and resource shortages.
Now is an opportunity to take a time-out on nuclear gamesmanship, new threats, trillions of wasted dollars and IQ points on weapons systems that Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev acknowledged, back in 1987 at the end of the Cold War, could never be used, warning that "A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought."
Now in 2018, more than 30 years later, when 69 nations have signed the treaty to ban the bomb and 19 of the 50 nations required to ratify the treaty for it to enter into force have put it through their legislatures, the United States and Russia are in an unholy struggle to keep the nuclear arms race going with the US accusing Russia of violating the Intermediate Nuclear Force treaty which eliminated a whole class of land-based conventional and nuclear missiles in Europe, and Russia planning new weapons systems in response to a whole stream of US bad faith actions, the most egregious of which was President Bush walking out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty negotiated with the Soviet Union to ratchet down the nuclear arms race.
An honest appraisal of the bad actors in this frightening scenario for the destruction of all life on earth, must conclude that the US has been the constant provocateur in the relationship, starting with Truman's refusal of Stalin's 1945 request to put the bomb under international control at the newly established UN, the mission of which was to "end the scourge of war."
Of course Russia got the bomb. Further, Reagan refused to forego his Star Wars program to "dominate and control the military use of space," so Gorbachev backed off on any further talk of nuclear abolition.
Then Clinton rejected Putin's offer to cut the arsenals of some 18,000 bombs at the time, to 1,000 each and call everyone to the table to negotiate for their elimination, provided the US didn't put its missiles in Eastern Europe.
The US now has them in Romania, with a new missile emplacement to open this year in Poland, and NATO has been expanded up to Russia's borders despite assurances to Gorbachev, when the wall came down and he miraculously freed all of Eastern Europe without a shot, that NATO would not move "one inch" to the East.
At this time, none of the nine nuclear weapons states -- US, Russia, UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea -- and their nuclear alliance states are supporting the new ban treaty. This is the time for Russia and China to step forward, with whichever other nuclear weapons states would be willing to join them and call for a time out on any further nuclear weapons development.
Mother Earth can ill-afford another nuclear arms race to nowhere.
Alice Slater is a member of the World BEYOND War Coordinating Committee
As Many Call for Abolishing Nukes, US Pulling Out of Treaty
Institute for Public Accountability
(October 22, 2018*) -- AP reports: "US National Security Adviser John Bolton faces two days of high-tension talks in Moscow beginning Monday after President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw from a landmark nuclear weapons treaty.
"Trump's announcement that the United States would leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, treaty brought sharp criticism on Sunday from Russian officials and from former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who signed the treaty in 1987 with President Ronald Reagan."
Russia Slams Trump's
Decision to Abandon Nuclear Treaty
(October 22, 2018) -- Russia says the US leaving the treaty will make the world a more dangerous place; Amy Kellogg reports on the fallout from the decision.
Trump Says US Will Withdraw from
Nuclear Arms Treaty with Russia
Experts warn of 'most severe crisis in nuclear arms control
since the 1980s' as Trump confirms US will leave INF agreement
Julian Borger and Martin Pengelly / The Guardian
WASHINGTON and NEW YORK (October 20, 2018) -- Donald Trump has confirmed the US will leave an arms control treaty with Russia dating from the cold war that has kept nuclear missiles out of Europe for three decades.
"We'll have to develop those weapons," the president told reporters in Nevada after a rally. "We're going to terminate the agreement and we're going to pull out."
Trump was referring to the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF), which banned ground-launch nuclear missiles with ranges from 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, it led to nearly 2,700 short- and medium-range missiles being eliminated, and an end to a dangerous standoff between US Pershing and cruise missiles and Soviet SS-20 missiles in Europe.
The Guardian reported on Friday that Trump's third national security adviser, John Bolton, a longstanding opponent of arms control treaties, was pushing for US withdrawal. The US says Russia has been violating the INF agreement with the development and deployment of a new cruise missile. Under the terms of the treaty, it would take six months for US withdrawal to take effect.
US hawks have also argued that the INF treaty ties the country's hands in its strategic rivalry with China in the Pacific, with no response to Chinese medium-range missiles that could threaten US bases, allies and shipping.
Bolton and the top arms control adviser in the National Security Council (NSC), Tim Morrison, are also opposed to the extension of another major pillar of arms control, the 2010 New Start agreement with Russia, which limited the number of deployed strategic warheads on either side to 1,550. That agreement, signed by Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev, then president of Russia, is due to expire in 2021.
"This is the most severe crisis in nuclear arms control since the 1980s," said Malcolm Chalmers, the deputy director general of the Royal United Services Institute. "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."
Speaking to reporters in Nevada, Trump said: "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.
"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 honoured the agreement but Russia has not unfortunately honoured the agreement so we're going to terminate the agreement, we're going to pull out."
Asked to clarify, the president said: "Unless Russia comes to us and China comes to us and they all come to us and they say, 'Let's all of us get smart and let's none of us develop those weapons,' but if Russia's doing it and if China's doing it and we're adhering to the agreement, that's unacceptable. So we have a tremendous amount of money to play with with our military."
Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia nonproliferation program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, said: "This is a colossal mistake. Russia gets to violate the treaty and Trump takes the blame.
"I doubt very much that the US will deploy much that would have been prohibited by the treaty. Russia, though, will go gangbusters."
Russian state news agencies on Saturday cited a foreign ministry source as saying Washington's move to pull out of the treaty is motivated by a dream of a single global superpower.
"The main motive is a dream of a unipolar world. Will it come true? No," a foreign ministry source told Ria Novosti state news agency.
The official said that Russia has "many times publicly denounced the US policy course towards dismantling the nuclear deal".
Washington "has approached this step over the course of many years by deliberately and step-by-step destroying the basis for the agreement," the official said, quoted by Russia's three main news agencies.
"This decision is part of the US policy course to withdraw from those international legal agreements that place equal responsibilities on it and its partners and make vulnerable its concept of its own 'exceptionalism'."
Russian senator Alexei Pushkov wrote on Twitter that the move was "the second powerful blow against the whole system of strategic stability in the world, with the first being Washington's 2001 withdrawal from the anti-ballistic missile treaty".
"And again the initiator of the dissolution of the agreement is the US," Pushkov wrote.
The Pentagon has been generally supportive of the INF treaty but defense secretary James Mattis warned other Nato ministers earlier this month it would no longer be tenable if Russia did not withdraw its Novator ground-based missile, which the US has argued for nearly four years violates the INF range restrictions.
Nato ministers issued a joint statement saying the INF agreement "has been crucial to Euro-Atlantic security and we remain fully committed to the preservation of this landmark arms control treaty". But they urged Russia to come clean about the capabilities of its new missile.
The Chinese arsenal has also been a source of concern for the US Pacific Command. Its former commander, Adm Harry Harris, told the Senate in March: "We have no ground-based capability that can threaten China because of, among other things, our rigid adherence, and rightfully so, to the treaty that we sign on to, the INF treaty."
Lewis disagreed that the INF leaves the US at a significant disadvantage in the Pacific.
"The China stuff is nonsense," he said. "INF does not prohibit sea- and air-based systems, not does it prohibit South Korea and Japan from developing long-range missiles. If China were a real problem, the US and its allies could have acted long ago."
Alexandra Bell, a former senior state department official and now senior policy director at the Centre for Arms Control & Non-Proliferation, said: "When problems arise in arms control, you work and fix them.
"What shocks me is that this president who is constantly telling us he is deal-maker has failed utterly to save Reagan's nuclear legacy. He did nothing with his relationship with Putin. There were trades to be made to fix this treaty and he couldn't pull it off."
She added: "Why would the North Koreans have any reason to believe in any deal made with this president, with Bolton whispering in his ear."
Agence France-Presse contributed to this report.
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