Executive Intelligence Review


U.S. Suspends Participation in INF Treaty; Trump Is Firm, ‘We Stand Ready To Engage Russia’

Feb. 1, 2019 (EIRNS)—The Trump Administration announced this morning, that it would be suspending U.S. participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty beginning Feb. 2, sixty days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued an ultimatum warning Moscow that the only way to prevent the collapse of the treaty would be for Russia to withdraw the 9M729 cruise missile from service and destroy it. A six-month period of withdrawal provided for by the treaty now begins. Pompeo issued a statement to reporters. The White House issued a Fact Sheet. President Donald Trump released his own statement.

The gist of all three statements is that Russia has not complied with the treaty; the U.S. will go ahead with new arms development; and then, if Russia complies, some new deal can be arranged. Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz has already welcomed the Trump Administration’s announcement. “We do not wish that [to deploy nuclear missiles in Poland] at all,” Czaputowicz told Germany’s Der Spiegel in an interview posted Feb. 1. “But it all depends on how Russia behaves in the future, whether it will continue its aggressive arms policy, and NATO must decide that as a community.” Support for the U.S. action is otherwise coming—at least lip service—from NATO and other quarters in Europe.

The White House Fact Sheet, distinct from Trump’s personal statement, is belligerent. “Enough is enough,” it states about Russia’s alleged non-compliance.

“The United States has complied with the INF Treaty for more than 30 years, but we will not be held back while Russia cheats.... The United States will move forward with developing its own intermediate-range, conventionally armed, ground-launched missile system. In addition, China and Iran, which are not parties to the Treaty, each possess more than 1,000 INF Treaty-range missiles.”

The Fact Sheet states that allies are supporting the U.S.

“at every step.... After close consultation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other allies in December 2018, President Trump gave Russia a 60-day opportunity to return to compliance. Russia has wasted that time, and refuses to even acknowledge its violation.”

The President’s personal three-paragraph statement is different, although it makes the same points that “Russia has violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with impunity.” But then President Trump cracks the door open, by concluding:

“We stand ready to engage with Russia on arms control negotiations that meet these criteria [effective, verifiable, enforceable], and, importantly, once that is done, develop, perhaps for the first time ever, an outstanding relationship on economy, trade, political, and military levels. This would be a fantastic thing for Russia and the United States, and would also be great for the world.”