US withdrawal from INF Treaty to threaten whole world and to cause new arms race
6 July 2017. PenzaNews. A group of US congressmen led by House Armed Services Strategic Forces Chairman Mike Rogers, whose committee oversees nuclear weapons, sent a proposal to Donald Trump Administration to unilaterally withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, referring to the alleged failure of Russia to comply with the terms of the agreement.
“It would be irresponsible for us to continue to adhere to a treaty when the only other participant has long moved on from it,” Mike Rogers told Politico.
At the same time, many American politicians strongly oppose such steps, pointing out possible negative consequences, in particular, a new round of arms race, which can seriously damage socio-economic situation of the country.
“We are at an inflection point. The whole structure of the arms control regime is in danger of falling apart, and we are going to find ourselves in a nuclear arms race. Before pulling out of the INF Treaty, we need to take a deep breath,” said Ambassador Richard Burt.
Commenting on the situation, the Bundestag member and representative of the Left Party of Germany Stefan Liebich stressed that the future of the INF treaty is now in danger.
“The so far unproven claims of the US-Administration that Russia is apparently violating the treaty and the Russian claims, that the NATO-anti-missile-system that was installed in Europe, could not only be used as a defense mechanism but also for active military actions could lead to the failure of the treaty,” the politician told PenzaNews.
In his opinion, such a development will have a negative impact on the security situation in Europe and worldwide.
“The INF treaty slowed down the arms race and it wanted to stop a very dangerous and expensive arms branch altogether. It would be very sad if this was backed away from now,” Stefan Liebich said.
According to him, a new arms race would endanger peace and security in the entire world.
“It would waste financial resources that are desperately needed for other things and the system of trusting and controlling each other would have failed. Going back into the times of the cold war are makes absolutely no sense since the main actors – socialism and capitalism – do not exist as any longer,” he stressed.
In his opinion, the situation around the INF Treaty requires detailed consideration.
“The German government should ask the USA to present the evidences to their claims [about Russia’s alleged non-compliance with the INF Treaty]. If they are actually true then Russia must be asked to act as it is implemented within the treaty. However, Europe should not stick to its NATO-anti-missile-system any longer,” the Bundestag member explained.
In turn, Greg Thielmann, Board Member of the Arms Control Association and former office director in the State Department's intelligence bureau, INR, drew attention to the change in the political course of the new US leadership.
“The Obama administration had already taken Russia's violation of the INF Treaty into consideration in adjusting its security policies, but it had decided against committing a reciprocal violation such as developing and deploying US ground-launched cruise missiles. It also refrained from threatening to withdraw from the treaty. Both of these options now appear to be under more active consideration in the Trump administration and among members of congress,” the analyst explained.
However, from his point of view, abandonment of the INF Treaty by either side would, at a minimum, be a significant impediment to further progress on nuclear arms control between the US and Russia.
“It would also increase the impatience of many other governments with inadequate US and Russian progress toward their disarmament obligations under Article 6 of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and strengthen the determination of the majority of countries to pursue a nuclear ban treaty. Unless INF Treaty compliance issues can be resolved, it is unlikely the US Congress would ratify any future strategic arms reduction treaty. An accelerated arms race would be the likely consequence,” Greg Thielmann said.
He reminded that the INF Treaty was extremely important in removing Cold War tensions when it was concluded.
“It established precedents in verification measures, which laid the foundations for the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I). It could be similarly important today in relieving current tensions over the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the buildup of NATO forces. Renewing bilateral treaty discussions could lead to agreeing on new precedents for the next round of nuclear reductions,” former office director in the State Department's intelligence bureau said.
Meanwhile, Georgios Epitideios, Member of the European Parliament from Greece, expressed that view that today the Russia-Us INF Treaty is no more in effect.
“There is a lack of trust between both sides which is leading to a misunderstanding and a conflict of interest. This situation becomes more and more worsening, precluding any possibility to come to a solution,” the politician said.
According to him, today there is a change in the balance of strategic forces in the world.
“The fact that third countries namely China, North Korea, India, Iran, Pakistan, Israel have acquired intermediate-range missiles, has changed the balance of strategic forces. As far as all the aforementioned countries are closer to Russia, the Russian security concerns have increased. Russia is now forced to increase her intermediate-range missiles capability in order to counter third countries forces,” the MEP said.
Meanwhile, in his opinion, the development of the situation around the INF Treaty is important for the whole world.
“Nowadays the play became free and the stronger wins with all the resulting consequences open. Definitely this could lead to a great arms race,” Georgios Epitideios said.
Assessing the possible consequences of the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty, Pal Steigan, Norwegian politician, publisher, writer, independent entrepreneur in the field of culture and information technology, also pointed to the threat of destabilization of the world security situation.
“By raising the issue of a unilateral US break with this accord US politicians are stepping up the war preparations and threaten to destabilize the military situation in Europe even more. These weapons are weapons particularly adapted to a European war theatre and would add significantly to the danger of war. With US bases and weapons systems readied for nuclear weapons brought up to the Russian border the danger even of a war by mistake would be increased further,” the expert said.
He stressed that the INF Treaty was an important step to reduce the nuclear arms race.
“If the US withdraws from the treaty Russia would have no other option but to start developing these weapons herself. This will greatly further the nuclear arms race,” the Norwegian politician said.
In his opinion, compliance with the INF Treaty makes the security situation more calm.
“As long as there are binding treaties and detente between the nuclear powers the situation is less dangerous. But with unilateral withdrawal the rules of the game are changed in dangerous ways,” Pal Steigan said.
A specific problem is that in some circles in the US politicians believe that a nuclear war can be won, and they have started to talk about coming wars with Russia and China, he added.
“The nuclear scientists have set the Doomsday Clock to two and a half minutes before midnight. With a US withdrawal from INF I am afraid they’ll have to put it another minute closer,” the analyst concluded.