Tag Archives: Buck McKeon

Russia has repeatedly violated the INF Treaty

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In 1987, the United States and the then Soviet Union signed the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which required both countries to completely dismantle all of their ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles – nuclear or conventional armed – that had a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

No other nuclear power – not China, not India, not Pakistan, nor anyone else – was included in the treaty. However, it did at least require the Soviet Union to verifiably dismantle its medium-range ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles.

However, since Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia, Moscow has repeatedly violated the INF treaty.

It has tested and deployed the R-500 ground-launched (and nuclear-capable) cruise missile, which has a range within INF treaty limits, and last month, it tested a “missile defense killer” Rubezh/Yars-M “pseudo-ICBM” at a range of just 2,000 kilometers (1,242 miles) – again within INF treaty limits. This means it’s an intermediate-range missile, prohibited by the INF treaty.

The treaty, ratified in 1988 by both sides, completely prohibits any development or testing, let alone procurement or deployment, of ground-launched missiles of such range (between 500 and 5,500 kilometers).

The test occurred on June 6th and was first reported by the Washington Free Beacon the next day. The Rubezh IRBM was launched from a missile base at Kapustin Yar and impacted a test target at the Sary-Shagan range, about 2,000 kms (1,242 miles) away. This is INF Treaty range.

Again, it bears repeating: even the development or testing, let alone the production or deployment, of such missiles is completely prohibited by the INF treaty.

The fact that the test occurred at a 2,000 km range was first disclosed by the Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz, a veteran national security journalist, and confirmed by US intelligence officials as well as nuclear weapons expert Dr. Mark B. Schneider of the National Institute for Public Policy. Dr Schneider has been warning about Russian violations of arms reduction treaties for years.

Schneider has also warned that Russia’s air and missile defense missiles could be used as medium-range surface-to-surface missiles, and so could be the first stage of the SS-27 ICBM – as a stand-alone missile, it would have a 3,000 km range, clearly within INF treaty limits.

Also, the Republican chairmen of the House Armed Services and Intelligence Committees, Reps. Howard McKeon (R-CA) and Mike Rogers (R-MI), respectively, and chairman of the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL), have been warning about Russian violations of such treaties for at least a year now.

The confirmation of Russia’s repeated violations of the INF treaty by the WFB and US intel officials confirms the soundness of their warnings.

Accordingly, the chairmen, not wishing to see America’s nuclear deterrent cut unilaterally, or in a worthless treaty with an untrustworthy partner who violates his obligations, have introduced amendments to the annual National Defense Authorization and Energy Appropriations bills that would prohibit ANY further reductions to America’s nuclear deterrent, except through a treaty or an Act of Congress itself.

American and foreign pacifist saboteurs, however, are not giving up. Desiring to see America disarmed, they continue to lie on Russia’s and Obama’s behalf, advocating for even deeper cuts than those Obama has proposed, and are whitewashing Russia to absolve it of its blatant violations of arms limitation treaties, including the INF treaty.

FAS’s Hans M. Kristensen, a Danish pacifist now living in the US, has recently written a FAS blogpost lying about the June 6th missile test, falsely claiming that the missile traversed over 5,500 kms, outside INF treaty range. He claims that the Washington Free Beacon and Dr Schneider merely “claim” the Russians have violated the treaty.

But, as US intel community officials have confirmed, the test actually occurred at a 2,000 km range, from Kapustin Yar to Sary-Shagan, meaning the test WAS a violation of the treaty.

By denying that a violation occurred, Kristensen is essentially accusing these officials, as well as the three House committee chairman (who have access to classified information, whereas Kristensen doesn’t and never will), and the WFB’s Bill Gertz of lying.

But why would Bill Gertz – a reputed journalist who has been covering national security issues for almost 3 decades – lie? And has anyone found even one instance in his long journalist career in which he lied?

On the other hand, Kristensen – a lifelong Danish pacifist whose explicitly stated agenda is to see the US give up its nuclear weapons – has a motive to lie, and indeed has repeatedly been caught lying, over and over again.

Kristensen is nothing but another anti-American, pro-Russian Danish pacifist propagandist. He’s been working for pacifist, anti-nuclear organizations since being 21 years old. He has no credibility and no integrity whatsoever.

Moreover, this is not the first time when Kristensen has (implicitly or explicitly) accused of lying people who are far more credible than he is. Not so long ago, he accused the commander of the USAF’s nuclear forces of hiding America’s nuclear modernization programs from PDF slides, even though these programs were all listed in one of the slides.

In short, Kristensen is a lying, dishonest, pro-Russian pacifist propagandist. Not one word he says is credible.

As for Russia’s recent missile test, the matter is quite simple. If the test did occur at a 2,000 km range, it WAS a clear violation of the INF treaty. If it occurred at a range of more than 5,500 kms, a violation did not occur.

US intel officials, Dr. Schneider, and the WFB’s Bill Gertz say the test did occur at a 2,000 km range.

Hans Kristensen denies that.

Whom will you believe?

UPDATE: The State Department’s annual arms control treaty compliance report completely omits – but does not deny – Russia’s violation of the INF treaty by testing that Yars-M (Rubezh) missile. Meanwhile, McKeon and Rogers continue to protest against further nuclear arms cuts and to criticize Russia for its noncompliance. They say the Obama administration has never addressed their concerns – neither publicly nor privately. Bill Gertz says more on that here.

The Super Committee Fails – Medicare and Defense to Suffer

Heartache and disappointment were thick throughout twitter, facebook and the comments on articles across the internet on the news that the Congressional “Super Committee” on deficits had failed. In actuality, nothing has actually happened.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the Republican co-chair of the committee, penned an account of why the committee failed. In short, the Democrats dismissed the three major Republican ideas out-of-hand, promised to bring back plans of their own and never did.

First, democrats took any and all spending related to President Obama’s health care plan off the table. Then rejected Bill Clinton’s budget director’s plan, then rejected ideas from the bi-partisan Simpson-Bowles commission. After quickly killing all three ideas, two from bi-partisan or Democrat sources, the committee democrats came back with their own plan… er ..  not really.

To put this in perspective, there were exactly 6 democrats and 6 Republicans on the committee. There was one Republican and one democrat co-chair. No one side had more say, more power or more influence than the other.

The Republicans presented three ideas, the Democrats refused them and presented nothing in return.

On to the important part – why should anyone care?

In a word, sequestration – the automatic $1.2 trillion in cuts that will occur in 2013 if Congress doesn’t pick up the ball dropped by the committee. Those cuts will happen “equally” in national defense spending and domestic programs should Congress not be able to find $1.2 trillion in cuts.

The CBO estimates that the cuts will take almost 10% from the defense budget and would cut Medicare by up to 2% of the program’s costs.

The Medicare cuts should be alarming to anyone on the federal medical program. 100% of the cuts come in the form of cuts on the amount paid to providers. If providers are paid less, we’ll see them opt out of the program and seniors will have fewer choices of where to get care. Medicare is expected to lose about $125 billion in funding from 2013 to 2021.

The toll on America’s ability to defend itself will likely be impaired as well. Just under $500 billion in cuts are expected to have to be swallowed by the nation’s military. Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), House Armed Services committee chariman, said that he will be proposing a bill to head-off the sequestration cuts to defense spending. Rep McKeon said that his legislation is necessary because the cuts would cause “catastrophic damage to our men and women in uniform.”

President Obama’s response was to continue the Democrat strategy – just say no to anything the Republicans propose. On Monday evening, the President noted that “Already some in Congress are trying to undo these automatic spending cuts, my message to them is simple: No.”  The president continued by threatening to veto any measure to hold back the cuts to Medicare or the country’s armed services.

Unfortunately, with or without the sequester the end is the same – out-of-control spending. Veronique de Rugy of Mercatus Center wrote:

Changes in spending from sequestration result in new budget projections below the CBO’s baseline projection of spending based on current law. The federal government would spend $3.62 trillion in the first year with sequestration versus the $3.69 trillion projected by CBO. By 2021, the government would spend $5.26 trillion versus the $5.41 trillion projected. Overall, without a sequester, federal spending would increase $1.7 trillion over those ten years (blue line). With a sequester, federal spending would increase over ten years by $1.6 trillion (red line).

Despite the stonewalling from Democrats, some polls show that a slight majority of Americans will blame Republicans for the failure of the 50/50 split bi-partisan committee despite most Americans opposing sequestration.

The super committee was a failed idea with a designed end. Democrats knew all along that they weren’t going to do anything. They couldn’t even bring themselves to propose a single plan. Now that the extra-legislative body has failed, what is the next step?

Since the cuts don’t take effect until 2013, the only course of action left for Conservatives who wish to see discipline returned to the budget process is to win the Senate and White House in 2012. At that point, a responsible budget can be put in place and the sequestration can be done away with.