The blustering by the US military brass charging Russia with violating the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty struck me as much ado about nothing. The particular missile in question, the 9M729, went into development in 2008 and has been discussed in the weapons blogs for several years now.
What tipped the news scales in making it prime news was the Russians officially publishing that this particular missile had become operational, but a small enough number of them, two battalions, to be of no near term consequence, whatsoever. The US responded with a New York Times story, indirectly charging Russia with an INF violation. So far, there has been no official charge made of violations.
The NYT story was as confusing as possible about strategic weapons systems, with smoke-blowing details of missile length that would indicate bigger fuel loads, for instance, into the 500 to 5500km “no go” intermediate range; and with various comparisons to similar models, like the older Iskander missile, which is currently a tactical nuclear weapon system in Russia’s arsenal.
US military brass were chosen to comment, and they all sang their chorus that Moscow was giving more proof of its threatening intent upon the West. But, the first step in any intelligence analysis in a story like this is to ask “why now”, and then look for what is being left out of the story that should be in it.
The timing, of course, is that Trump had already put in play his statement about wanting to reduce nuclear weapons. That was followed with Trump’s lame probe for Russia to make reductions in return for getting sanctions removed, to which Putin replied “Get outta here!” The Donald keeps thinking he is involved in a real estate or licensing deal, or heaven forbid, a reality TV show.
So the news was reiterated now on the new missiles as a signal for the US to get serious, because we have an outdated treaty, and it is time to begin talks for a new one. Trump’s only experienced national security professional in the White House, Christopher Ford, has also publicly stated at a Carnegie Foundation event that the new administration would be conducting a Nuclear Policy Review that would include an examination of whether global disarmament was feasible. I would not give that a snow ball’s chance in hell.
To provide some framing for this story, the US Aegis system in Romania was held to be the rationale for Russia’s actions. The US had offered to allow Moscow to inspect the missiles in Romania, to verify that they were kinetic-energy interceptor missiles, but Russia turned down the offer. The underlyingreason was that the US could easily install offensive missiles into the launchers, whenever it wanted.
But I focused on the second aspect, what was left out of the discussion on the treaty violation, such as the US having been in violation of the mutual agreement and understanding with Russia that both sides made during the winding down of the Cold War in the early 1990s. Who has violated those the most?
The US transgressed on one of Russia’s main objectives in agreeing to the treaty, which was the threat of the West’s intermediate missiles being deployed to Eastern Europe, resulting in a major destabilization to the balance of power. The US and NATO moved 500-kilometer range missiles near the Russian border, effectively making them “intermediate range missiles”.
Although Russia had demonstrated no threat, the US betrayed the deal against Russia’s wishesby targeting Eastern Europe for NATO expansion, when leaving it as a non-aligned buffer region would not have been a future threat to either side. The US brought NATO bases closer to Russia’s western border, where most of the industry and population of the country is.
This “breach” by the US and NATO received little blowback in Western media, academia or the security community over the threat it represented to the long term balance of power, because it was seen as a window of opportunity. During that period, the Russian military had deteriorated due to money being focused on its domestic infrastructure and economy.
Because of the West’s decision to deal with Russia through a “position of strength”, by moving NATO into Eastern Europe, Russia had no choice but to rebuild and modernize its military as fast as it could. Moscow’s worst fears were confirmed with the violent Western-sponsored coup in Ukraine.
But the West’s Ukraine plan backfired because the Russian military is much stronger than it had been, in large part due to the battle experience gained during the Syrian War. This involved not only Russia’s troops and air force pilots, but new weapons systems and technologies. As a result, the West has secured little real military advantage.
The West has actually made a non-dangerous situation a dangerous one, which all the evidence points to that being its intent. There has been no honest public debate; but there has been silly Russian-boogeyman tripe endlessly trotted out as the rationale for a policy, when this has been a purely offensive move by the West, for reasons they never wanted to disclose to the public.
Putin saw all this coming. As far back as fifteen years ago, the Bush-Cheney gangsters openly pushed their unipolar domination plan under the perverted tag of Pax Americana, meaning there will be peace on our terms or we will kick your ass. Mr. Nobel Peace Prize man, President Obama, put his own PR spin on this, using the softer but even more rude “American exceptionalism”.
At the 43rd Munich Security Conference on Security Policy. February 12th, 2007,Putin clarified who were the real “violators” of international security.
“I think it is obvious that NATO expansion does not have any relation with the modernization of the Alliance itself or with ensuring security in Europe. On the contrary, it represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. And we have the right to ask: against whom is this expansion intended?
And what happened to the assurances our western partners made after the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact? Where are those declarations today? No one even remembers them. But I will allow myself to remind this audience what was said.
I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary MrWoerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: “the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee”. Where are these guarantees?”
“Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force – military force – in international relations, force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts. As a result we do not have sufficient strength to find a comprehensive solution to any one of these conflicts. Finding a political settlement also becomes impossible.”
So we would remind our American brass, who want us to swallow the Russia-threat hype, that we have not forgotten their Iranian nuclear threat hype, or Saddam’s WMDs; nor do we believe that Osama bin Laden’s team hiding in caves in Afghanistan pulled off 9-11. The hype is approaching a level of absurdity.
America’s record as a defender of freedom and democracy has been destroyed by its own hand, and most publicly so. Americans have been lied to for so long that we suffer from a numbness. People cope with the absurdities presented to us by just not caring, and this only empowers the gangsters more. It does not bode well for a bright future, but the opposite, despite what our circus-master president says.
Jim W. Dean, managing editor for Veterans Today, producer/host of Heritage TV Atlanta, specially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.