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Congress Takes Aim at INF Treaty

Aug. 3, 2017 (EIRNS)—The next phase of the treasonous Congressional attack on U.S.-Russia relations will be the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, based on the so far unproven claim that Russia is in violation of the treaty by testing and deploying a ground-launched cruise missile that falls within the prohibited range of 500 to 5,000 kilometers. The fiscal 2018 defense authorization bill, which has passed the House and is under consideration in the Senate, directs the Defense Department to initiate development of a land-based cruise missile that violates the treaty. It would require the president to make a determination whether or not Russia has engaged in noncompliant activities, and if such determination is made, it would provide that the U.S. is no longer bound by the limitations of the treaty. The White House already blasted that provision in the House bill in a July 12 statement because it "unhelpfully ties the Administration to a specific missile system, which would limit potential military response options," and it

"would also raise concerns among NATO allies and could deprive the Administration of the flexibility to make judgments about the timing and nature of invoking our legal remedies under the treaty."

The administration isn’t the only source of concern about the INF treaty provisions, however.

"Now, as then, short and medium range nuclear missiles have no deterrent value, while making it more likely for miscalculations to lead to the unthinkable,"

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who voted for ratification of the treaty in 1988, told Politico in a statement. Other experts consulted by Politico pointed to its obvious unconstitutionality. "It exceeds the power of Congress," said Mallory Stewart, who served as deputy assistant secretary of State in the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance until earlier this year. "It is ignoring a division of power that has been recognized since the beginning of our Constitution." Gen. Paul Selva, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, otherwise a hawk on the question of Russian violations, questioned the military utility of such weapons during Congressional testimony in July. "Given the location of the specific missile and the deployment, they don’t gain any advantage in Europe," Selva said. As for the lack of such a weapon in the U.S. arsenal, Selva argued that the U.S. military can hold at risk any targets it needs to with air- and ship-launched cruise missiles, which are not covered by the INF Treaty.