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Billingslea Orders Moscow, Accept Our Arms Control Demands Now—or Get a Worse Deal Later

Sept. 21, 2020 (EIRNS)—In an interview on Sept. 20 in which he sounded more like a Mafia enforcer than a diplomat, Special Presidential Envoy for Arms Control Marshall Billingslea told Russian business daily Kommersant that the U.S. is ready to conclude a presidential memorandum with Russia on the question of extending the treaty and that Washington is prepared to allow the New START treaty to expire this coming February should Washington and Moscow fail to conclude a memorandum, because the treaty puts detrimental additional restrictions on the United States, reported Sputnik. According to Billingslea, Washington has offered Moscow the opportunity to conclude an agreement resembling a treaty on arms control that would not require ratification before the New START treaty is extended, Billingslea stated.

And if Russia refuses? Moscow can expect to be offered worse terms at the negotiating table if Trump is re-elected on Nov. 3, he said. Billingslea then upped the ante further, according to a report in RT, stating that if an agreement is not reached by Feb. 5, 2021, America will abandon the treaty entirely and press ahead with modernizing its nuclear arsenal. “Russia has largely completed its modernization of its nuclear arsenal,” he said. “We are just starting ours. And we will be extremely happy to continue it without the START restrictions.”

Billingslea was equally nasty with regard to China and to U.S. nukes in Europe. “We think it is necessary to specifically mention China,” Billingslea told Kommersant. “Our position is that when speaking about a future treaty, we should keep in mind a tripartite treaty.” Billingslea further stated that Washington will keep the U.K. and France out of the deal, as neither are “actively developing and deploying” nukes on the same scale as China. That contradicts President Donald Trump’s own recent statements on the tripartite talks, in which he said we’re talking to Russia now and we’ll talk to China later.

Russia has also pushed the United States to scale back its nuclear arsenal in Europe, but Billingslea said that this is a no-go. “We are certainly ready to talk with Russia about NATO and about our nuclear deterrence guarantees,” he said. “But we will not remove nuclear weapons from any of the storage sites.”

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