The Obama administration has recently – and very belatedly – announced it has found Russia in violation of the INF treaty, which prohibits Moscow and Washington from developing, testing, deploying, or otherwise possessing ground-launched missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.
Russia has been flagrantly violating the treaty since at least 2010, and we conservatives have been warning about this since 2012, when credible reports of such violations first emerged. However, until now, the Obama administration and the pro-arms-control crowd have been denying this fact – until it became too obvious and too easily provable to deny it.
So now that Russia has effectively made the INF treaty a dead letter, the administration and its sycophants in the treasonous pro-unilateral-disarmament community are calling on the US to continue to unilaterally adhere to the treaty and to cut its own arsenal even further, while Russia is building up its own and deploying missiles banned by the INF treaty.
This pro-unilateral-disarmament opinion was recently expressed by Joe Cirincione, president of the treasonous Ploughshares Fund, and his “research assistant” on the extremely leftist “DefenseOne” website.
Cirincione falsely claims that
“Some arms control critics want to use the issue as an excuse to jettison a system of arms restraints carefully constructed over the decades.”
Completely false. We, critics of “arms control” (which in fact means America’s unilateral disarmament), simply want the US to stop unilaterally adhering to treaties that no one else complies with. The INF treaty is an excellent example.
It makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER for the US to continue to slavishly and unilaterally adhere to a treaty that Russia has been flagrantly violating for years, and continues to violate (and will certainly continue to).
Cirincione writes that
“Concerns are raised privately in hope of resolving them. When that fails, they are made public. When that fails tougher diplomacy is tried.”
But all of that has utterly failed – and was doomed to fail. Why? Because continuing to comply with the INF Treaty is decidedly NOT in Russia’s national interest, plain and simple. Russia faces a huge missile and nuclear threat right on its doorstep – China. China possesses over 1,200 short-range, and over 120 medium-range ballistic missiles (DF-4, DF-21, DF-25, DF-26), as well as hundreds of DH-10 and CJ-10 ground-launched cruise missiles. These missiles allow China to target virtually any spot within Russia without involving its strategic (intercontinental) missile force, leaving it free to focus on the US. See the map below (DOD, Annual Report to Congress on the Military Power of the PRC, 2008).
And “hope of resolving concerns” NEVER works. Hope is the mother of fools.
Cirincione also falsely claims that:
“Pulling out of a treaty that blocks the Russians from deploying weapons that we don’t have and don’t need would be foolish. “Releasing Russia from existing limits on strategic nuclear forces makes no sense, especially at this time of severe tensions between the West and the Kremlin,” says Tom Collina of the Arms Control Association.”
Utterly false. What is foolish and makes no sense is to continue to adhere to arms reduction treaties that NO ONE ELSE adheres to. Russia has already “released itself” from its arms control obligations – by simply violating them. There is no mortal force, no earthly force, that can bring them into compliance. There is no treaty that can “block” them from deploying weapons they want to possess. Treaties are just pieces of paper. If a rogue power like Russia decides not to comply with them – as Russia has decided – it will simply violate them.
And Russia has, for several years, been violating the INF treaty with impunity.
If the US doesn’t withdraw from these useless, suicidal arms reduction treaties, it will leave itself at a severe disadvantage. US withdrawal would be a mere formality. Russia itself has been grousing about formally withdrawing from INF for years, claiming (rightly) that the treaty is obsolete, unjust, and doesn’t serve its national interest, because it bars only Russia and the US – and no one else – from having intermediate-range missiles.
The question, therefore, is quite simple: Should the US continue to UNILATERALLY adhere to treaties Russia is not abiding by and has no intention of abiding by? Unsurprisingly, the pro-unilateral disarmament traitors at Ploughshares and the ACA say “yes, America should continue to unilaterally disarm itself.”
ACA’s Tom Collina further blatantly lies that:
“If the United States were to stop reducing its nuclear forces under the 2010 New START treaty, Russia would likely do the same, and could even build up its forces. (…) Rubio and his colleagues* go too far with a March 25 resolution that would hold Russia accountable for “being in material breach of its obligations” under the treaty by calling for a halt to U.S. implementation of further strategic nuclear reductions, a move that would likely trigger a similar Russian response.”
Those are also blatant lies – just like everything else ACA and Ploughshares claim. Russia is NOT reducing ANYTHING – except reducing arms control treaties to dead letters. Russia is ALREADY building up its nuclear arsenal, and has been for several years – with the Russian nuclear buildup ACCELERATING after New START was ratified. That’s because New START obligates only the US – but not Russia – to cut its strategic nuclear arsenal, and doesn’t even limit Russia’s tactical nuclear arsenal at all.
It is RUSSIA that is building up its nuclear arsenal, while the US is disarming itself unilaterally.
Cirincione then arrogantly and wrongly invokes Ronald Reagan in defense of the INF treaty, and of utterly failed arms control policies in general:
“Before letting loose the wrecking ball, they should check in with one of the principle architects of the regime and one of the toughest and most pro-arms control presidents inU.S. history: Ronald Reagan.”
Some REAL advice from the REAL Ronald Reagan is instructive here. When his administration found the Soviet Union in violation of the (signed but never-ratified by the US) SALT II treaty, it withdrew the US from it.
Reagan also wanted to withdraw the US from the ABM treaty to free the US to develop missile defenses as it wished, but liberal bureaucrats in the State Department (who hated him since he took office and hoped he would be gone by 1985) resisted the idea so fiercely that it took another 13 years and two Republican presidents to finally kill that useless treaty.
As Reagan himself has stated: “We adhere to our treaty obligations. Those who wish us harm don’t.”
Cirincione also falsely claims that:
“This violation is more than a technical violation, but since it is not an immediate threat to the U.S. or our allies, there is time to use the established arms control mechanism to pressure Russia to halt the cruise missile program, verifiably dismantle any missiles tested in violation of the limits and agree to abide by the treaty’s terms.”
Dead wrong again. This violation IS an immediate threat to the US AND its allies. These intermediate range missiles allow Russia to target its allies in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia (and all US bases there) with very accurate missiles carrying very deadly payloads. This is a very urgent threat. And the idea that “there is time to pressure Russia” to comply with the treaty is also utterly false. The US has known of Russia’s violation for at least 4 years, if not more, and has been trying to pressure Russia to comply for years – since at least 2012. Yet, it has failed.
Why? Because Russia, as it has already stated on so many occassions, will NOT abide by the INF treaty – which is disadvantageous to both Russia and the US.
Cirincione further lies that:
“We have nothing to gain from pulling out of the INF treaty. We already have long-range nuclear weapons trained on hundreds of targets in Russia. We don’t need a few dozen more.”
Also utterly false. Actually, Russia now has more ICBMs, strategic bombers, and nuclear warheads than the US, and plans on adding still more, so the US DOES need to build up its nuclear arsenal – and fast. Moreover, deploying IRBMs (nuclear- or conventional-armed ones) in Europe and Asia would enable the US to hold at least some Russian and Chinese targets at risk without involving America’s strategic missile force. It would also allow the US to expand its conventional precision strike options against any targets.
Contrary to Cirincione’s lies, America has nothing to gain by remaining a party to the INF treaty, to which only America adheres, thus essentially disarming itself. But disarming the US unilaterally, so that it will be vulnerable to Russia, is precisely Ploughshares’ and ACA’s goal.
Cirincione then claims further:
“If we built new intermediate-range missiles, where would we deploy them? Europe? The last time we tried that, millions of citizens took to the streets of Europe in protest of U.S. and Russian weapons. There is no reason to revisit the failed policies of the past.”
Actually, the REALLY failed policies of the past (and the present) are the arms control policies Ploughshares, the ACA, and the Obama administration advocate: disarming the US unilaterally, and unilaterally adhering to arms control treaties. This is supposed to encourage others to be nice and disarm themselves. In practice, it has never worked. It has always failed spectacularly.
Russia has NEVER complied with ANY arms control treaties it has signed. It has flagrantly violated every one of them. That previous US presidents have allowed Moscow to get away with that is NO justification for letting Russia off the hook today. THAT is one of the failed policies of the past.
By contrast, Reagan’s deployment of US intermediate-range missiles in 1983 – which Cirincione falsely claims was a “failed policy” – actually reestablished nuclear balance between the US and the USSR in Europe, countered Russia’s 1,200 intermediate-range missiles there, and forced Gorbachev, in 1987, to agree to dismantle all of these missiles. Gorbachev wanted to stop the arms race and reduce Soviet military spending to try save the stagnant Soviet economy. But he couldn’t do so unilaterally, so he had to agree to a treaty.
Because you can bring Russians into agreement ONLY when negotiating and acting from a position of STRENGTH, not weakness and appeasement. Unilaterally adhering to arms control treaties nobody else complies with leads to America’s weakness and dramatically REDUCES America’s security.
Cirincione also approvingly quotes two Russian propagandists saying that:
““In the history of U.S.-Soviet and U.S.-Russian arms control there have been dozens of similar cases—both parties have raised concern about the actions of the other,” note treaty experts Nikolai Sokov and Miles Pomper. “The majority of these concerns remained unresolved for years until they lost relevance. As a rule, these are technical issues that are discussed by technical experts outside public eye.””
Blatant lies. And Russia’s current violation of the INF treaty is not a mere “technical issue” – it’s a major violation and an immediate threat to US and allied security. It stems, in turn, from Russia’s desire to have an arsenal of weapons to counter China’s huge missile buildup in Asia, right on Russia’s doorstep, and Moscow’s intention to eventually kill the INF treaty.
The notion that the current Russian violation will somehow be “solved” is utterly ridiculous. Russia has already reduced the INF treaty to a dead letter and a worthless piece of paper. Its formal withdrawal – or America’s – from the treaty is now a mere question of time.
No less ridiculous is Cirincione’s utterly false claim that Russia can somehow be brought into compliance if the Senate simply confirms Frank Rose as the DOS’s verification and compliance supremo. This is utterly false; no earthly force is going to bring the Russians into compliance with an INF treaty they’ve already decided they’re going to scuttle because it doesn’t serve their interests and leaves them exposed to China.
And as for Reagan’s words that:
“No violations of a treaty can be considered to be a minor matter, nor can there be confidence in agreements if a country can pick and choose which provisions of an agreement it will comply with… correcting their violations will be a true test of Soviet willingness to enter a more constructive relationship and broaden the basis for cooperation between our two countries on security matters.”
The first part is absolutely true – but the problem is, Russia is doing PRECISELY what Reagan decried. As for the second part, Russia has no willingness to enter into a constructive relationship with the US, which it views as its adversary.
In closing his garbage screed, Cirincione falsely claims that:
“We have cajoled the Russians back into compliance before and – with the right staff in place and a united approach – we can do it again. In the process, we can prevent the Russians from rebuilding the weapons that Ronald Reagan so painstakingly destroyed.”
No, we can’t – and it’s too late for preventing them from building such weapons – because they’ve ALREADY built and deployed them. The R-500 ground-launched cruise missile, the Iskander-M and Iskander-K short-range ballistic missiles with a range exceeding 500 kms, and the Yars-M missile have already entered service.
So, to close, the question before US policymakers is quite simple:
Should the US continue to UNILATERALLY adhere to treaties Russia is not abiding by and has no intention of abiding by? Unsurprisingly, the pro-unilateral disarmament traitors at Ploughshares and the ACA say “yes, America should continue to unilaterally disarm itself.”
The US government should ignore these traitors and withdraw the US from both the INF and the New START treaty.