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August 2- The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty expires- new arms race begins

Demise of US-Russian Nuclear Treaty Triggers Warnings, VOA News , By Charles Maynes, July 31, 2019  “………  “Gorbachev and Reagan had the goal of arms reduction and they did not allow themselves to be pushed off track,” Palazhchenko says.

 “[It was] definitely a huge step forward. Two great nations, two nuclear superpowers have finally been able to stop the arms race in at least two categories of nuclear weapons.”

With the agreement, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. formally renounced the development and deployment of ground-launched missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.

Both sides were still armed with enough nuclear weapons to destroy one another — and the rest of the planet. But George Shultz says the INF’s elimination of short- and medium-range arsenals made the world infinitely safer in one critical regard — time……….

the short-range weapons also magnified the risks of what some called a potential “Euroshima.”

Where once the Cold War threat consisted of missiles lobbed across oceans, the new quick delivery missiles incentivized a first strike and immediate response. There was little time to verify whether an attack was real — or a false alarm.

Fear of the superpowers stumbling into nuclear Armageddon gripped the European public. Thousands marched in opposition to the U.S. missiles — a factor that increasingly influenced Washington’s own decision-making.

“We were negotiating not only with the Soviets but the European public,” recalls Shultz. “Who would want a nuclear missile on their soil? It makes you a target.”

Indeed, public opposition in Europe — and a desire to grab the moral high ground — drove President Reagan to embrace a concept called the “Zero Option.”

The idea? That when it came to negotiating over intermediate and short-range nukes, Reagan wouldn’t just push for the U.S. and U.S.S.R. to limit their arsenals. They’d demand both sides give up everything.

Russian proverb

Critical to selling the idea to skeptics were intensive inspections — with Reagan often citing an old Russian proverb: doverai no proverai. Trust but verify.

“The INF treaty contains in it the most clear verification provisions — onsite inspections!” Schultz says. “People said we could never get that but we did.”

Over the next three years, inspectors observed as both sides destroyed their arsenals — over 800 missiles by the U.S. and nearly double that from the Soviet side.

Viktor Litovkin, a military journalist who covered the events for the the Soviet daily Izvestia newspaper, remembers watching as Soviet engineers carried out the treaty’s provisions — destroying missile after missile with tears in the eyes.   ………

INF 1987-2019 (RIP)

Today, the Trump administration argues it is the INF Treaty that has now outlived its use.

Last October, President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton, traveled to Moscow to deliver the news: The U.S. would leave the INF agreement amid long-standing U.S. accusations that Russia was violating the treaty………..

Russian President Vladimir Putin soon followed suit — announcing that Russia, too, was leaving the pact.

Barring a last-minute reprieve, the INF treaty expires Aug. 2. Both sides have vowed to develop weapons once banned under the INF. 

A new arms race?

All of this has left Europe, once again, the battleground in a potential new arms race — with tomorrow’s weapons promising shorter warning times….. https://www.voanews.com/usa/demise-us-russian-nuclear-treaty-triggers-warnings

August 1, 2019 - Posted by | politics international, Russia, USA, weapons and war

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