Executive Intelligence Review


Trump Administration Officials Again Blame Russia for INF Pull- Out, Downplay Threat of Arms Race

Feb. 5, 2019 (EIRNS)—After the Trump Administration’s announcement of last week that it had suspended participation in the INF Treaty, administration officials went out of their way to assure their audiences that a new nuclear arms race was not in the offing. One unnamed official during a background briefing on Feb. 1 said it is only looking at conventional options at this point. “Nothing the U.S. is currently looking at is nuclear in character,” the official said, reported Defense One.

David Trachtenberg, deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, claimed that U.S. withdrawal actually strengthens the system of international restrictions on nuclear weapons rather than weakens it. “The only way that arms control can have a future and be useful is to make sure we hold parties to their obligations, which means they must comply,” he said, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in Washington. “There needs to be a penalty for noncompliance, otherwise treaties aren’t worth more than the paper on which they’re written.”

“I don’t think the demise of the INF treaty really affects the approach that we’ve taken in the [Missile Defense Review] MDR at all, because the MDR’s presumption is we need to defend against a growing proliferation of missile threats, period,”

Trachtenberg continued.

“The demise of the INF treaty—let’s be clear about this—is because the Russians have violated it and repeatedly violated it for years. That is indicative of part of the problem [that is] captured in the MDR.”

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, during remarks in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan yesterday, charged that the U.S. has not provided one shred of evidence that Russia is violating the treaty—a charge repeatedly made by

Russian officials. “We see the basic concepts of the security architecture that was shaped after World War II being undermined, key strategic stability agreements being dismantled,” he stressed, reported TASS.

“The latest example is in plain sight, specifically, the United States’ pullout from the INF Treaty under a far-fetched, unsubstantiated pretext of alleged violations of that accord by Russia. Not a single hard fact has been provided to us.”

Lavrov also charged that U.S.-Japan plans to place an Aegis Ashore installation in Japan is yet another violation of the treaty, for the same reason as those in NATO, which with the Mk-41 launchers installed, can fire Tomahawk cruise missiles. “We warned our Japanese colleagues when they were getting involved in this agreement with the U.S. that this would be a violation of the INF Treaty,” Lavrov stated.