Executive Intelligence Review


Russian Ambassador Antonov Finally Allowed To Speak in Washington

March 6, 2018 (EIRNS)—Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Anatoly Antonov, who has been forced to literally plead for an opportunity to speak at events in Washington, was given one hour at the Stimson Center on March 4. He made very clear that the “burning issue” was the mounting danger of a nuclear war due to the U.S. pulling out of the arms control agreements and ignoring the framework of international law established through the UN after World War II. He had to do combat with his host, Stimson Center President Brian Finlay, who tried repeatedly to change the subject.

Antonov reviewed the announcement by President Vladimir Putin on March 1, 2018, regarding the new weapons systems that Russia was forced to develop when George W. Bush abolished the ABM Treaty, which “destroyed the strategic stability between the U.S. and Russia.” On the U.S. pull-out from the INF Treaty, Antonov said that the Russian Federation was “very concerned that the U.S. might deploy intermediate-range missiles in Europe,” describing this as “a burning issue.” He had brought a map with him of Europe, showing the Russian cities which would be within range of such missiles, and the European cities which would be in range of the missiles Russia would have to deploy as a counter. “Who is the loser?” he asked. “Europe, as well as Russia.” He said “we cannot allow a return to 1987, before we signed the INF.” He said we have not had war since World War II, “because of MAD [Mutually Assured Destruction], with the understanding that nobody can win a nuclear war.”

He presented a book on U.S.-Russian cultural exchanges to the Stimson Center, stressing: “Culture, outer space, the Arctic, these are areas of cooperation. Not much, but a base for improving relations.” He complained of the U.S. refusing visas to sports teams, artists, and even members of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

He praised the cooperation between the militaries in Syria. He humorously took note of the fact that when he was in the Defense Department he had tried to “persuade our American colleagues to conclude a special agreement on potential cooperation between our armed forces” in fighting the common terrorist enemy in Syria. “But I failed—it is prohibited by your Congress—that is why your generals came up with the word ‘deconfliction.’ I don’t know what it means, but it seems your generals use it so they do not go against your Congress.”

Antonov praised Trump’s special representative on Syria, Jim Jeffery, whom he said he had met several times, as “very smart and professional, and he will help to speed up this process.”

He called for reviving 2+2 talks between the foreign affairs and defense ministers as a necessary step, and said that the meeting between Chiefs of Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov and Gen. Joseph Dunford taking place now was very important.