This year, the US has started to stress its intention of withdrawing from the 1987 INF Treaty not just because of Russia’s alleged non-compliance with it, but also because Asia has such delivery systems, particularly China. Donald Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton, outlined Washington’s position during a recent visit to Moscow. The same message has previously been conveyed by the US president himself.
“Bolton frankly said that [the] U.S. wants to compensate for Asian countries’ possession of missiles by withdrawing from [the] INF Treaty,” Interfax quoted the Russian foreign minister as saying.
According to Sergey Lavrov, the US wanted to know what Moscow thought about possibly involving India, Iran, China and Pakistan in the process of limiting ballistic missiles – all four countries have intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles, but have always remained outside the Treaty. As noted by the foreign minister, Russia offered to find out these countries’ positions on the subject.
The explanations provided by John Bolton during his October visit to Moscow are strange for two reasons.
First, it is diplomatic practice for important foreign policy proposals or questions to be put to other states directly rather than through intermediaries, except when interested parties voluntarily request mediation by a third party.
Second, in 2007 and 2008, Russia and the US agreed to make the bilateral and ongoing 1987 INF Treaty multilateral by including other missile countries. Moreover, Washington believed there was a total of 32 countries that either already had intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles or had the technological and engineering know-how to create them. America later refused to support the proposal, however, apparently concerned that its implementation would affect the military interests of those of its allies with such weapons in their arsenals – Great Britain, France and Israel, for example.
Surely no-one is going to trust Washington if it pro-actively pushes for a withdrawal from the INF Treaty while simultaneously proposing a broader multilateral treaty.
So why is Washington once again talking about withdrawing from the INF Treaty because certain Asian countries, including China, have similar missiles?
One reason that official representatives of the current administration are not trying to hide is that the White House, the National Security Council, the State Department and the Pentagon are concerned about China’s growing intermediate-range and shorter-range missile capabilities, which, according to US data, are approximately half the total number of their nuclear missile carriers. This is evidently why China has replaced Russia as “enemy number one” in the military and strategic policies approved during Donald Trump’s presidency.
Another reason why the US wants new countries to join the INF Treaty, which is not being openly spoken about by senior US officials, is to drive a wedge between Moscow and Beijing. America is relying on the fact that Russia wants to preserve the treaty, so will put political pressure on its Chinese friends to curb their country’s intermediate-range and shorter-range missile programme. Should China refuse, then the INF Treaty will cease to exist and relations between Russia and China will be compromised.
It is no coincidence that John Bolton is trying to scare Russia by saying that Chinese missiles are threatening the “heart of Russia”. But he is clearly being more than a little dishonest, to put it mildly. It is not Chinese missiles, but the numerous US nuclear missiles under the cover of a global anti-missile shield that are threatening the hearts of both Russia and China simultaneously.
On the subject of Russia and China, meanwhile, both countries have long since signed joint documents in which they agree not to use nuclear weapons against each other and adhere to the principles of peaceful coexistence in general.
Moscow and Beijing fully comply with their mutual obligations under the bilateral Good Neighbourly Treaty of Friendship and Co-operation signed on 16 July 2001 not to use force or the threat of force in their mutual relations, not to be the first to use nuclear weapons against each other, and also not to aim strategic nuclear missiles at each other.
In March 2013, Russia and China signed a joint statement on mutually beneficial cooperation and building a comprehensive strategic partnership. Among other things, it stipulates that the two countries will resolutely support each other on issues that affect their key interests, including the safeguarding of their sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security.
Moscow and Beijing actively oppose America’s plans to strengthen its strategic and tactical nuclear capabilities, enhance the strike components of its global missile defence system, and turn space into an arena of military confrontation. As is well known, however, Washington sees all these issues completely differently.
It is strange that John Bolton is unaware of these well-known documents and statements between Russia and China. Or he knows all too well and is spreading deliberate lies.
Having announced the country’s unilateral withdrawal from the INF Treaty, Donald Trump’s administration is planning to enmesh both Europe and Asia in the new intermediate-range and shorter-range nuclear missiles that Washington decided to create a long time ago. Many countries around the world understand this perfectly. By deciding to terminate the INF Treaty, which previous US administrations have referred to as “a cornerstone of global stability”, America has clearly set itself two main objectives.
First, to significantly increase the level of America’s nuclear missile capabilities in global terms by creating a completely new strategic nuclear triad and modernising the country’s tactical nuclear weapons, the use of which in the first nuclear strike is indicated in a number of provisions amended by Donald Trump in the country’s nuclear strategy.
Second, to install its new ground-based intermediate-range and shorter-range mobile nuclear missiles in Japan and South Korea, which have been covered well in advance by America’s anti-missile shield.
In any case, it is impossible not to see that the massive and combined military threat, including nuclear, being deliberately created by America is hanging over the world like the sword of Damocles.