Pure American logic: we warned you, but we have already made a decision, so it’s useless to talk. And when the United States, through the mouth of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, began talking that they would no longer comply with the provision of the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF) for 60 days, if Russia did not return to the fulfillment of its obligations, a squad was put in Washington from the contract. So the “ultimatum” itself, and the lamentations about the “gross violations”, and the immediate Russian threat to Europe with the SSC-8 cruise missiles (9M729) were empty — the US untied its hands and “legalized” its missiles in the Old World .
As a polite person (this is without a hint of “polite people” from the MTR), following diplomatic rules, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu exactly one week after “presenting” Pompeo (December 5, 2018) sent two notes to Pentagon chief James Mattis. In one of the messages, there was just a proposal to discuss disagreements on the INF Treaty. The American general of the Marine Corps (this is the military rank of Mattis) did not send the reciprocal “letter in envelope” to the Russian army general (the rank of Shoigu). He simply ignored and hid, making it clear that Washington does not want to engage in dialogue on this issue. What kind of 60 days of waiting here, if American missiles that fall under the contract have already rolled across Europe – now even towards Romania and Poland?
500 to 500: the power of the rocket multiplied by kilometers, makes Americans fight hysterically.
In the Russian Ministry of Defense, they are puzzled to shrug their shoulders – we are ready for a reasoned and professional dialogue both on the INF Treaty, and on specific 9M729 missiles, which the Americans considered too long-range, and on US missiles in Europe, whose range exceeds “ball flight in golf”, but the American party is not going to talk about it. To some extent, the situation has arisen with the lack of reaction of the Pentagon to the proposal of the Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu explained by a member of the Federation Council Alexey Pushkov. The senator wrote on his Twitter that Washington was not interested in keeping the treaty. According to the parliamentarian, the goal of the American side is to bury the INF range and get “free hand”.
– It is clear as day, – Pushkov summarized the post.
– Clear, – thought Shoigu, recalling the Russian submarines of project 885 Yasen and the firing range of the Caliber and Onyx cruise missiles stationed on board. At the same time, the Minister of Defense closely looked at his Chief of the General Staff, General of the Army Gerasimov: “What are you there, Valery Vasilyevich, said this morning at a meeting with foreign military attaches about our new goals in Europe?”.
- Countries that, after breaking the Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles, will place American complexes on their territory, will become new targets for a potential Russian strike, – General Gerasimov told foreign military representatives in no uncertain terms.
– I would like through you to convey to your leaders that if the INF Treaty is destroyed, this will not remain unanswered on our part. You, as military professionals, should understand that it’s not the territory of the United States, but the countries that deployed American complexes with medium and shorter range missiles will be the target of defeat for Russia’s response.
At the same time, the Chief of the General Staff noted that Washington has an opportunity to increase the number of nuclear warheads by more than 1,200 in the shortest possible time due to the fact that in the past two years the United States unilaterally re-launched launchers on 14 Ohio-type submarines and B-52H bombers. Valery Gerasimov expressed hope that the United States would resume the dialogue with Russia on the extension of the START-3 treaty, which was concluded in 2011 and is designed for ten years.
But either in Washington there really is a mess with the mail, or they simply don’t want to hear any arguments of Russia and the negotiating table is afraid as hell of incense. The United States, like the current wood-grouse, hears only itself and no one else. As stated that Moscow is developing missile systems that can allow a nuclear attack on European countries, so they continue to adhere to this version, without considering any others. They did not want to hear the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergei Lavrov, who literally chewed on all the clauses of the treaty, declared strict compliance with them,
They did not want to hear the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Sergei Lavrov, who literally chewed on all clauses of the treaty, declared their strict observance, and will now listen to the “explanations” of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. It does not matter that the Pentagon did not respond to his messages – he just read them. And I certainly heard about new targets for Russian missiles, in the event that the United States exits the INF mode. The ex-president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, who, together with the American president Ronald Reagan, signed this treaty in 1987, considered Trump’s statements “not a big mistake of a great mind.”
- Why is Russia so worried about the INF Treaty? – says military expert Boris Dzhereliyevsky.
– You would think that the United States really complied with this treaty throughout its existence. In general, the very concept of medium-range and shorter-range missiles is very blurry. Americans still place their missiles in Europe, and these are just medium and short range missiles. For the USA, this is really important, because these are first-strike missiles in the event of a war. Ballistic and strategic missiles will go second and third echelons of strikes. Russia is far from the United States and it cannot bring its missiles closer, as the Americans did in Europe. And in Russia, in some aspects, it may be beneficial to liquidate the INF in the possibility of an adequate response to emerging threats. Russia during the rule of Gorbachev and Yeltsin constantly reduced their weapons almost unilaterally, in contrast to the United States, which far from all of their missiles were let under the knife.
Of course, weapons, both nuclear and conventional, should be gradually reduced, but on parity terms. And now the Americans, blaming us on the non-compliance with the INF Treaty, themselves on the sly, have already deployed these missiles under the full program in Europe. Then why should we be shy and hide? Are there any rockets? This means that they must become even more powerful and have a greater range of fire – only such a treaty will be understood in the USA, which are ready to reduce the combat power of a potential enemy at any price.
This is true. Let us quote one American diplomat, former US ambassador to Ukraine, John Herbst, director of the Eurasian Center for the Atlantic Council, who said that the United States wants to deprive Russia of a strong army.
- We want their economy to be weaker, because a strong economy supports military power. And we do not want a strong aggressive state to have a strong army or a strong navy. Therefore, the sanctions, of course, serve our interests, – Mr. Herbst issued on the air of one of the Ukrainian TV channels. Earlier, such statements were read between the lines, but now this is the official position of Washington, which it will use, including through withdrawal from the INF, the blame for breaking the agreement of which, we can be sure, will be assigned to Russia.
The likelihood that President Trump will listen to Russia, China, representatives of the EU and leading European countries who warned him not to exit the INF Treaty due to the undesirable consequences of such a decision for European and world security is extremely low. If the treaty is broken, this will be the first time that the current White House administration withdraws from an international arms control treaty. Recall Trump’s stubbornness, when the EU countries urged him not to leave the Paris Climate Agreement – no persuasion had any effect. The EU’s leaders and the appeals of the EU and Russia did not affect the US nuclear deal with Iran. It is unlikely that Trump will give way to missiles of medium and short range.
The option of leaving the INF Treaty in a state of reform, which could make it more acceptable to the United States, is also unlikely. And although Trump himself noted that Washington would not accelerate the pace of armaments in the event that China and Russia agree to this, but its conditions are again in the nature of unilateral pressure. And, say, if Russia can reduce the range of its missile by reducing the fuel tank, then it must make sure that the American Mk-41 launchers in Poland and Romania will not be able to use cruise missiles prohibited by the treaty. But Russian inspectors are not going to start up at the starting positions.
Even more difficult it is with China, for which land-based cruise missiles and medium-range ballistic missiles are a pivotal element of Beijing’s strategy in the Pacific theater, so China will not join the INF Treaty without any major concessions from Washington.
The fact that the United States really seriously intends to withdraw from the INF Treaty can be stated with a high degree of probability – most experts are inclined to this. Even the circumstance will not save the situation if Moscow makes concessions, because the main reason is not connected with the deployment of banned missiles by Russia, but with the reluctance of the American administration to limit itself to any arms control. So the world is waiting for a new offensive nuclear arms race, the participants of which will be not only Russia and the United States, but also China, NATO countries, India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea. Even Ukraine has recently declared that it is ready to build nuclear weapons, apparently due to the self-detonation of its nuclear power plants.
In general, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu is unlikely to receive a response message from his American counterpart James Mattis. Not earlier than after the expiration of the “ultimatum”, when the Russian defense ministry will be officially notified by “registered letter” from the Pentagon, that the INF Treaty no longer exists in nature.