INF Is Dead. Europe Is One Step Closer To Nuclear War

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INF Is Dead. Europe Is One Step Closer To Nuclear War

For more than 30 years, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) has been one of the cornerstones of the international security system. This ended on February 2, 2019 when the US officially suspended its participation in the Treaty. Washington said that it will fully terminate the treaty in 6 months if Russia does not comply with its ultimatum – the “verifiable” destruction of what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described as “INF-violating missiles, their launchers and associated equipment”. US President Donald Trump said in an official statement that the US “will move forward with developing” its “own military response options” and will work with NATO members and other allies “to deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct.” By this statement, Trump in fact announced that the US is restoring production and deployment of INF-banned weapons.

On the same day, Russia also halted participation in the Treaty. President Vladimir Putin said that Russia will no more initiate talks to try and save the deal and publicly gave a green light to development of a mid-range hypersonic missile and a ground-based model of the sea-launched cruise missile Kalibr.

The US withdrawal from the Treaty can be traced back to 2013-2014, when Washington, during the administration of President Obama, started to accuse Russia of violating the INF. The US claimed that between 2008 and 2011, a ground-based cruise missile was tested at the Kapustin Yar test site (Russia’s Astrakhan region) that achieved a range greater than 500 km which is prohibited under the Treaty. Under the Trump administration, Washington and the NATO leadership continued to accuse Russia of violating the INF. US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and the Permanent US Representative to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison have stated that Moscow has a new 9M729 missile, describing it as a land-based version of the Kalibr submarine launched, medium-range missile. This attitude is based on the assertion that Russia understates the officially disclosed characteristics of the missiles under development and currently equips the OTMS Iskander (operational tactical missile system) with missiles violating the Treaty.

The White House National Security Adviser John Bolton is also a longtime supporter as well as initiator of the idea of withdrawal from the agreement. He has repeatedly said that the bilateral nature of the treaty is its disadvantage. He claimed that the INF Treaty is limiting the ability of Moscow and Washington to strengthen their potential, while the threat of building up weapons of this type is increasing from third parties – in particular from China and Iran. According this point of view, the main reason of the US withdrawal from the INF is the strengthening of the Chinese nuclear potential, as well as the emergence of new types of intermediate and shorter range missiles in its arsenal. Therefore, the United States’ decision to withdraw from the treaty is not so much due to the fact that there is any evidence of Russia having prohibited missiles, but rather because China is increasing its capabilities in intermediate and shorter-range missiles. As a result of this reality, the United States feels limited in its ability to counter such a military threat.

However, the aforementioned reasons are largely just a formal pretext. The underlying reasons to withdraw from the contract are different.

The U.S. Armed Forces have held the dominant position on the planet for the past 25 years. The absence of an equal opponent has led to the U.S. Army and Navy’s complacency and relaxation, and if these negative tendencies are not stopped, they will also lead to a degrading of readiness and capability. The U.S. military-industrial complex produced its last nuclear warhead in 1991. The last U.S. ground-based intercontinental ballistic missile was commissioned in 1986, and then their production was discontinued. The production of the Trident II (D5) submarine-launched ballistic missile was discontinued in 2010. In order to eliminate the scientific and technical gap in the field of nuclear missile weapons, the US Department of Defense adopted the Nuclear Posture Review program in 2018, the implementation of which requires 400 billion dollars. In this regard, the main reason for the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty can be considered President Trump’s attempt to saturate the domestic military-industrial complex with money, launch new weapons designs and then, of course, sell these weapons. Thus, the question arises, other than the U.S. military, who will buy such weapons? Only those nations who have small militaries, or weapons systems that are too old and under threat of actual physical destruction. Trump has repeatedly stated that NATO countries spend too little on their defense contributions to the organization. But in order to force European countries to buy US weapons, the usual anti-Russia and Iran rhetoric is not enough. More radical means are needed to this end, such as coercion, manipulation and threats. The most sophisticated of these methods is the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty. Now, European countries will likely be forced to buy US air defense/missile defense systems and spend astounding amounts of money that will finance the US military-industrial complex. The accusations against Russia are used as a pretext for the United States to save face on the international stage.

From its turn, Russia is concerned by the deployment of weapons in Europe, which are in one way or another a likely violation of the INF. These include unmanned combat aerial vehicles, which, due to a combination of characteristics, can carry or are themselves intermediate-range missiles. Of similar concern is the transfer of the Mk-41 launchers of the ship-based combat information and control system Aegis from ships to land-based facilities (the Aegis Ashore program). In Romania, the Aegis Ashore facility is based at the Debeselu air base (3 batteries with 8 SM-3 Block IB missiles) and in Poland a second installation is currently under construction at the village of Redzikovo. These launchers are not only platforms for SM-3 anti-ballistic missiles, but also potentially for Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles. The positioning of these intermediate range missiles on land is forbidden under the INF Treaty. In addition, a number of Russian military experts have expressed concern over the development of the United States X-51A Waverider Hypersonic Cruise Missile. This hypersonic missile is not subject to the INF Treaty, but it has the characteristics of a shorter-range cruise missile. Furthermore, the United States is actually violating the INF when it tests its anti-ballistic missile systems. In order to test missile defense systems, intermediate- and shorter-range mock missiles are used for the Hera, MRT, Aries, LV-2, Storm, Storm-2, and MRBM complexes. The Russian Defense Ministry also said on February 2 that the US had been preparing production facilities for INF-banned missiles since at least June 2017.

Either way, both the US and Russia have developed and are developing intermediate and short range missiles in one way or another. Both nations are able to fully continue developing missiles as mentioned above, and commission them into active use. Therefore, the irrevocable withdrawal from the treaty could unleash a new arms race similar to that experienced in the 1980s.

Furthermore, with the release of Russia and the United States from the INF Treaty, the START-3 (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) loses its meaning, and as a result, the entire non-proliferation system starts to collapse. Europe and especially its eastern countries become hostage to the created situation. This fact will greatly complicate the already quite complex US relations with its European allies. As for the US, the consequences of the exit for them will not be as dire as they would be for Russia. In the event of a conflict, only the bases and locations of the US Armed Forces in Europe would be in range of intermediate and shorter range missiles. Russia on the other hand, cannot provide a reciprocal answer to the US withdrawal from the INF Treaty. Russia does not have military bases near US territory, where a large number of intermediate and shorter range missiles could be deployed. However, this does not mean that Moscow does not have weapons in its arsenal other than intercontinental ballistic missiles, to counterbalance the threat from the United States. In addition to the traditional US deterrence factor; the threat of guaranteed nuclear annihilation, recently a new generation of cruise missiles began being delivered to the Russian Navy and strategic aviation. It is obvious that these missile programs will be revised to reflect the new strategic realities post-INF, and will be accelerated accordingly. It is worth noting that, due to the small size of the Russian military relative to that of the Soviet Union, it is not realistic to expect military actions in the European theater with the use of combined armed forces. In the event of a conflict, the Russian military leadership may have to create a zone of continuous destruction of the infrastructure, or even a zone of radioactive contamination with tactical conventional and nuclear weapons, which will be delivered via intermediate and short range ballistic missiles. This zone of destruction would most likely be created along its borders from where the enemy predominantly attacked Russia in the 19th and 20th centuries – Eastern Europe.

Consistently nulling the system of strategic missile restrictions with Russia, the United States does not want and does not intend to abide by the previous agreement or, alternatively, build a multilateral system of agreements in which China, Pakistan and India could participate. Consequently, the United States intends to continue to dictate its conditions to the entire world. Supremacy in the field of strategic offensive weapons, an effective missile defense system, and the deployment of intermediate and shorter range ballistic missiles in Europe or the Pacific is nothing more than a dangerous utopia that does not add security to the United States or its allies.

More than thirty years after the signing of one of the fundamental agreements in the field of global security on both sides of the ocean, possible nuclear annihilation once again became one of the key factors threatening European security.

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  • Promitheas Apollonious

    well………………… bullshits. A nuclear may happen but I dont think the priority targets will be european ones but north american ones.

    • Kelli Hernandez

      And bullshit. Europeans are directly under Russian fire and if Russia is attacked the great possibility that Russia could switch off the gas
      This is just another comtrived neocunt war for Israhell whose rage at Russia for interfering in Syria thus Greater Israhell knows no bounds.

      • Sinbad2

        Germany will align with Russia.
        Whilst America beats Germany with a stick and steals from Germany, Russia offers trade and friendship to Germany.
        Meanwhile China is repairing relations with its neighbours and is building weapons at an incredible rate.

        Meanwhile in the land of the Monkey King, they can’t build the missiles they need to attack Russia or China.

        • badgery

          So a Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact 2.0? How’d that work out for everybody last time?

          • Sinbad2

            I had a flat tyre once, so now I would never trust a tyre?

          • badgery

            You carry a spare though, right? I’m not saying Germans and Russians shouldn’t be friendly. But as long as Russia has the natural resources that Germany wants, there will be incentives for betrayal of their partnership. Last time that betrayal took the form of Operation Barbarossa which of course was the worst thing ever in human history.

    • Nigel Maund

      Since 1941 the Russians fully understand the importance of rendering the area 600 km back from their border sterile and totally smash up the infrastructure rendering ease of movement of mobile mechanised forces very difficult and fraught with danger. This reduces the possibility of success of any mass armoured and combined forces attack. Destruction of the US will largely left to the submarine and long range bomber groups. The UK is the one country in Europe that Russia will need to obliterate. Cluster air burst Co – I based nukes over London and SE England will destroy the UK as a functioning entity during the first 30 minutes of a full scale war commencing and kill 40% of the UK popualtion feffectively eliminating the UK fas a viable country for the next 200 years.

    • Jens Holm

      You dont get how Ukraine got so much. They gave all nukes against western europe away. and USA took theirs away.

    • Sinbad2

      True, but the Americans think they can make Russia follow the American plan and only nuke Europe.
      Stupid yes, but the American people believe that, and the American plutocrats all have bomb shelters and other safe places. The plutocrats don’t really care if the American people are wiped out, they will buy new slaves from Latin America.

      • Nosferatu

        Yes the global oligarchy has shelters or even undergroun cities that will survive nuclear war. But the things is, that the moment a nuclear war happens and global oligarchy will be forced to spend years or decades underground together with some army officers and armed personal, one ting will happen. The army personal and oficers will soon realize, that the reason why the human race is almost wiped out, their families are dead and they are forced to spend the rest of their life underground, is actions and policies of the global oligarchy, that is now locked underground with them. They will be really angry. A power takeover/ underground coup is likely to happen and memebres of global oligarchy might be executed right there. Global oligarchy knows about this possibility. They dont want nuclear war, they just want to play a game of how to destroy a nuclear power (Russia) without nuclear war (or without Russian retaliation). This game is being waged on the edge of a nuclear war and that war might happen if a series of mistakes happens. But this will not be done intentionally.

        • Promitheas Apollonious

          That scenario will happen as you say it, in case west hit first. In case you missed it russians changed their policy few years back and declared they will make preemptive strikes if they believe they are in danger of nuclear hits.

          Also none of the ones who really pull the strings to the rest in west are where is possible a nuclear hit to happen. Their plans dont include for them, to spend a century or so under ground. The reason is simple and common sense. They will not be alive when is time to surface, if any of them stay alive that is underground and not for the reason you mention that there will be an underground coup against them.

          Living with out the sun and in a confined space for decades, will drive all of them raging mad, let alone that they know when they surface they will need to survive in a place where stone ages will look as advanced civilizations..

        • Sinbad2

          More theory, a couple of years ago the last surviving victim of the American nuclear attack on Hiroshima died. After the US nuked Japan the Japanese just started cleaning up. Yes a lot died but most who were not directly hit by the blast radiation lived for many years.

          • purplelibraryguy

            Dude, that was a few kilotons. One typical modern strategic bomb would put out 50, 100 or even a thousand times as much nasty. And it still bumped death rates a lot more than they like to admit. Incidentally, there’s solid evidence that world cancer levels are significantly higher just from the nuclear tests various powers were doing in the 50s.

          • Sinbad2

            Nasty, very technical?
            But the proof of the pudding is in the eating, if after the US invades Russia and starts WWIII, if all the people in North America and Europe are dead, I will retract my statement.

            WWIII is coming, so if you are right?

          • purplelibraryguy

            And would being technical have added information? No.
            Being fatalistic about WW III coming is stupid, because it will indeed kill all of us. Your willingness to admit to being wrong after we are all dead is not clever, it merely underlines that we need to be stopping it before we are all dead, and the first step is admitting what the consequences would be rather than pretending we would survive.
            Similarly, cute jokes I’ve seen about nuclear winter being a counter to global warming ignore the reality of what would happen if we had winter for years on end, as in no harvests at all.

      • Promitheas Apollonious

        if russia is threatened, or think they are threatened with nuclear weapons, they will hit what threatens them not the stooges in europe. They dont even need to hit populated areas in usA, all they have to do beside the lilitary targets is explode about 150-300 km above few nukes and send usA into the stone ages the rest will happen from the population on the ground when the electricity is out for even as well everything electronic.

        Doing that is what will stop european idiotic puppets on their tracks.

        • Sinbad2

          To my knowledge there has not been a single EMP attack, and relying on an unproved theory is not very smart.

          • Promitheas Apollonious

            the only unproved is the lack of knowledge in your mind kid. Try and comment on what you know. already proven to me to be an ignorant know it all, with one exception, that your heart is on the right place no matter how many times you make a fool of yourself. Try and not do two things if is possible. Dont respond to my posts and dont give me positives.

          • Sinbad2

            Well give an example of a nuclear generated electro magnetic pulse, any time anywhere?

            And don’t tell me what to do you old c8nt.

          • Promitheas Apollonious

            you are too stupid to understand even if I explain you.

          • Sinbad2

            I don’t want you to explain, post a link to a site describing the test of a nuclear generated EMP.

            I bet you believe crop circles are the work of aliens?

          • Pave Way IV

            The U.S. conducted a series of high-altitude nuclear test to determine the effects of EMPs.

            The first was Starfish Prime in 1968 – a 1.44 megaton blast at an altitude of 400 km over the Pacific. It unintentionally took out street lights in Hawaii about 1500 km away – the scientists didn’t think it would be that strong and surmised the damage would have been much worse with a higher-yielding warhead.

            That test was followed by two additional high-altitude bursts later that year – Bluegill Triple Prime and Kingfish allowing scientists to figure out the mechanism of an EMP.

            The Soviets conducted the Soviet Project K nuclear tests – a series of three EMP tests in 1962. They used smaller-yielding weapons, but the test were over land mass (Kazakistan), populated areas, and areas where the earth’s magnetic field was much stronger than that over the Pacific. They observed a higher energy flux and much more destructive effects.

            Scientists from the US and Russia have been studying the effects for decades and undoubtedly figured out ways to maximize the effect. I don’ think they have been quite as successful figuring out how to avoid frying the tens of thousands of communications. surveillance and navigation satellites (theirs or ours). Preventing ones’ own satellites is possible, but nobody knows to what degree.

            From a purely strategic point of view, the military is far more concerned with taking out unfriendly satellites than frying anyone’s iPhone or toaster.

          • Sinbad2

            Actually I am aware of the tests and the effects.
            Taking out power lines is easy, because the long exposed cables act as aerials and allows the voltage to build up to damaging levels.
            But EMP pulses are not much different to lightning strikes and spark gaps and diodes are used to protect equipment, planes get hit by lightning all the time.
            Protection from EMP is easy, and the military has it covered.

            The idea that you would waste a nuke to generate an EMP is silly.
            Satellites are subject to the biggest nuke in the neighbourhood the sun all the time and survive solar storms when power lines on earth blow fuses and trip breakers.
            EMP nukes are just doom porn.

    • Tudor Miron

      https://www.kp.ru/putevoditel/interesnye-fakty/sistema-perimetr-ili-mertvaya-ruka/ Those that don’t know Russian may use google translate or similar.

  • Nigel Maund

    Excellent summary video! Well done SF and thanks!

  • Tommy Jensen

    Is that going on right now?

  • verner

    when the destitute states of morons (aka usa) sees the dollar threatened and the vassals in a state of discontent, the morons immediately jumps from subtle threats to more hardcore threats, like scrapping the inf-agreement under one pretext or other – in this particular case it’s that the russians are cheating (and china is not covered by the inf) and therefore the morons need to upgrade their set of destructive nuclear tipped missiles, instead of starting dialogue with china and one with russia – it tells me that the morons are deathly afraid of losing its hegemony status and that the dollar will be just one among others, say yuans or euros. and moreover, the morons are slipping and have about 18 years of total ruinous disaster, a cluster fuck of failed attempts to control the world and when even the venezuela caper is about to turn turtle on the morons, desperation is all over the place – truly pathetic and under the circumstance the failure (pending bankruptcy) of the destitute states of morons is more than welcome, in fact much awaited since it’s shamed its position to kingdom come!

  • This Is Bad

    Absolutely frightening stuff. It is official now the INF is deemed null & void in this case so is the START-3 and NPT treaty. Is it safe to say we drifting towards another 1980s-esque Arms race?. NATO has successfully encroached right unto Russia’s doorstep and World goes on as normally as if there is nothing to worry about. As for the Europeans they have shot themselves in the foot at this one they’re nothing more than a buffer-state for Washington. In case I don’t wish for any escalation for a nuclear war. But the predectability of Washington would prove otherwise.

  • russ

    It comes down to one issue, the US is not highly opposed to nuclear war as long as it is contained to Europe. That’s the bottom line. Why European countries don’t expell us is beyond me… except the nation’s leaders are servants of the IMF.

  • Sinbad2

    To understand how far behind Russia the US is in missiles and tracking/guidance technology try reading this story on Sputnik https://sputniknews.com/military/201902071072195965-Navy-Tests-New-Ship-Defense-Ford-Carriers/

    The US navy has just conducted its first successful test of an integrated air defense system, something Russia has had since the S400 came into service in 2007. Actually late model S300’s could do more than the new American system long before the S400.

    Also note that the US is still using the Sea Sparrow a 1976 vintage missile.

    So why is America opening up a front where they are so outgunned?
    Is it to intimidate Europe?
    Make money for the MIC?
    Or are they planning to commit suicide by Russia?

  • Joe Kerr

    Both Russia and China have the ability to nuke the U.S. into history should it try for a first strike, and the U.S. knows it. With its unpayable $22+ trillion debt increasing and nothing to sell to China, the U.S. can see the cliff its economy will fall over getting closer, and bullying the pathetic Europeans into paying for their own enslavement is the best it can do.

  • Davki

    The article is correct in pointing out, that this is an “economic” decission (European coutries are supposed to buy sh* loads of equipment). Russia will also profit, but to a much lesser degree. Still, the threat of Nuclear war is as low as it ever was. It’s mere fear mongering to say otherwise. If the US should hit Russia (which is extremely unlikely), European will not join. And why should Russia attack Europe? The US would be a more meaningful target. So…

  • peter mcloughlin

    ‘Supremacy in the field of strategic offensive weapons, an effective missile defense system, and the deployment of intermediate and shorter range ballistic missiles in Europe or the Pacific is nothing more than a dangerous utopia that does not add security to the United States or its allies.’
    Supremacy and power are what nations use to dominate others. And power is the underlying motivation for war. But it eventually leads the nation into the very war it is trying to avoid: utter defeat. Its leaders delude themselves that the war of self-destruction can be avoided, limited militarily in scale or even won. They are wrong. Eventually that nation faces it Nemesis. The pattern of history is clear, the signs ominous.
    https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

  • Rodney Loder

    Allah is fully in control, my Salafist Brothers and Sisters are aware of the problum coming from the split in the US.

    Trumpers support Russia and on Thursday Trump will support China thereby ending the trade war, Venezuela is then low hanging fruit.

    Dems are saying, hold on a minute, we gave Trump go so as Trump’s mad cat ideas can lead to a great shakedown of China and now he wants to be friends with the Chinese competition while munching on bananas.

    So it seems Trumpers could bolster their position by letting the missiles fly in Europe, and they are being given a green light to do so by the Europeans, can’t say fairer than that.