Trump Calls Putin's Bluff on INF Treaty

Well, here we go again, with President Trump giving more evidence of collusion with the Russians by announcing withdrawal from the INF Treaty. I noted in August 2015, President Obama’s “flexibility” was allowing Vladimir Putin to violate it with impunity:

Russian officials on Wednesday warned of "retaliation" to the U.S. decision to walk out of a key arms treaty U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at a NATO meeting Tuesday that Washington will suspend its obligations under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 60 days, citing Russian "cheating."…

The U.S. has shared intelligence evidence with its NATO allies that it says shows that Russia's new SSC-8 ground-fired cruise missile (also known as the Novator 9M729) could give Moscow the ability to launch a nuclear strike in Europe with little or no notice. The bilateral INF treaty between Washington and Moscow banned all land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range between 310 and 3,410 miles. Russia says the range of the new system does not exceed 310 miles.

Early in 2017 U.S. officials told CBS News national security correspondent David Martin that they had monitored Russian flight tests in which the SSC-8 flew in excess of 300 miles. Those tests were conducted secretly near the end of the Obama administration, but it was left up to the Trump White House to decide how to respond. U.S. officials told Martin the deployment of the SSC-8 units was such a blatant violation of the INF treaty that it called into question the value of any future arms control treaties with Russia.

The INF Treaty violations by Moscow show the ultimate folly of arms control agreements. Peace and deterrence are best provided by American technology, not pieces of parchment. Reagan said trust, but verify. JFK said that only when our arms were sufficient beyond doubt could we be certain beyond doubt that would never be employed.

A covertly developed intermediate-range missile force would give Moscow the nuclear cover for a quick strike with conventional forces against NATO. Another major flaw with the INF Treaty between Russia and the United States is that it hampered our ability to deal with other threats like China. As Heritage Foundation Vice President James Jay Carafano writes in the National Interest:

…there is more at stake than the balance of power between Washington and Moscow. America also has to keep an eye on China.

The INF Treaty covers more than nuclear forces. It also prohibits conventional missiles with INF Treaty ranges too. And in the world of today, as China charges hard to expand its military power and reach, the United States is increasingly at a disadvantage. It is constrained by the INF Treaty; China is not. If Russia is not going to adhere to the treaty, then the risk of the United States being the only country in the world self-constraining itself is too significant. Many Chinese ground-based missiles, such as the CJ-10 Chinese land-attack missile, have ranges which are prohibited to the United States due to the treaty.

Because of the imbalance imposed on the United States by the treaty, Washington is hamstrung in expanding deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region, while China has no arms-control restrictions in building out its missile force.

President Obama willfully let Russia blatantly violate the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed with the former Soviet Union.

The Obama White House deliberately blocked a Pentagon risk-assessment report completed that states “that the breach involved a new missile that violates the limits set by the treaty. The treaty bans holding, producing, or flight-testing ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles with ranges of between 310 miles and 3,418 miles.” As Bill Gertz reported in the Washington Examiner:

At the Pentagon, spokesman Capt. Greg Hicks said: “The Chairman’s assessment of Russia’s Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty violation is classified and not releasable to the public.”

Hicks said, however, that steps are being taking “across the government to address Russia’s violation of the treaty, including preserving military response options -- but no decision has been made with regard to the type of response, if any.”

“If any” meant nothing was done either in terms of sanctions in the development testing of the Russian cruise missile or in the deployment of additional missile defenses in Eastern Europe that might offend President Obama’s untrustworthy friend, Russian President Vladimir Putin After all, President Obama has pulled the rug out from under our allies, notably Poland and the Czech Republic, before.

When President Obama took office in January 2009, sitting on his desk were President George W. Bush’s plans for the deployment of ground-based missile interceptors, such as are deployed at Fort Greely, Alaska, in Poland along with missile defense radars in the Czech Republic. As Investor’s Business Daily noted, President Obama had other plans and his betrayal of our allies was ironically exquisite:

Yet within hours of Medvedev's election as president in 2008, the Russian announced that Moscow would deploy SS-26 missiles in his country's enclave of Kaliningrad situated between our NATO allies Poland and Lithuania.

He wanted the U.S. to abandon plans to deploy missile interceptors in Poland and warning radars in the Czech Republic designed to counter a future threat from Iran.

What did President Obama do? He caved in and notified the Poles in a midnight phone call on Sept. 17, 2009 -- the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union's invasion of Poland -- that we were pulling the plug on that system due to Russian objections.

Putin then watched in 2012 as Obama promised Medvedev at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, that after his re-election he would have more "flexibility" to weaken missile defense, which would help him fulfill his dream of U.S. disarmament.

Putin knew full well Obama’s weakness in responding to any foreign threat to U.S. interests and security. President Obama is the Neville Chamberlain of our time, promising “peace in our time” as he invites war with weakness, apologies, and appeasement.

Russia is pushing ahead with several missiles in violation of the INF Treaty as part of Putin’s plan to reassemble the old Soviet Union and dominate Eastern Europe once again. Among those missiles is the R-500 cruise missile and the RS-26 Rubezh ballistic missile:

U.S. intelligence officials have told the Washington Free Beacon that the Yars-M missile, also known as the RS-26, is a clear and blatant violation of the INF Treaty. Mark Schneider, a specialist on Russian missiles at the National Institute for Public Policy in Virginia, agrees that the new Yars M appears to be an INF violation.

A June 6 test of the Yars M, first disclosed by the Free Beacon, revealed it was launched from a missile base at Russia's Kapustin Yar and landed at an impact range at Sary Shagan, 1,242 miles to the south. That is "clearly INF range," Schneider said.

Russia has threatened to retaliate with an arms race and to target NATO members if Trump’s threat to withdraw from the INF Treaty is carried out. Putin would do well to remember what happened when the Russians deployed SS-20 missiles targeting NATO and what President Reagan’s response was.

When the Soviet Union targeted Europe with its SS-20s, President Reagan deployed Pershing missiles in West Germany. When Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev met Reagan in Reykjavik, Iceland in October 1986, he hoped Reagan would be willing to trade SDI away in exchange for arms control agreements and vague promises of

making nice with America. Reagan said no. As a result of his steadfastness in defending America in the Cold War, we won they lost.

It’s time to make America safe again.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.               

Well, here we go again, with President Trump giving more evidence of collusion with the Russians by announcing withdrawal from the INF Treaty. I noted in August 2015, President Obama’s “flexibility” was allowing Vladimir Putin to violate it with impunity:

Russian officials on Wednesday warned of "retaliation" to the U.S. decision to walk out of a key arms treaty U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced at a NATO meeting Tuesday that Washington will suspend its obligations under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) in 60 days, citing Russian "cheating."…

The U.S. has shared intelligence evidence with its NATO allies that it says shows that Russia's new SSC-8 ground-fired cruise missile (also known as the Novator 9M729) could give Moscow the ability to launch a nuclear strike in Europe with little or no notice. The bilateral INF treaty between Washington and Moscow banned all land-based cruise and ballistic missiles with a range between 310 and 3,410 miles. Russia says the range of the new system does not exceed 310 miles.

Early in 2017 U.S. officials told CBS News national security correspondent David Martin that they had monitored Russian flight tests in which the SSC-8 flew in excess of 300 miles. Those tests were conducted secretly near the end of the Obama administration, but it was left up to the Trump White House to decide how to respond. U.S. officials told Martin the deployment of the SSC-8 units was such a blatant violation of the INF treaty that it called into question the value of any future arms control treaties with Russia.

The INF Treaty violations by Moscow show the ultimate folly of arms control agreements. Peace and deterrence are best provided by American technology, not pieces of parchment. Reagan said trust, but verify. JFK said that only when our arms were sufficient beyond doubt could we be certain beyond doubt that would never be employed.

A covertly developed intermediate-range missile force would give Moscow the nuclear cover for a quick strike with conventional forces against NATO. Another major flaw with the INF Treaty between Russia and the United States is that it hampered our ability to deal with other threats like China. As Heritage Foundation Vice President James Jay Carafano writes in the National Interest:

…there is more at stake than the balance of power between Washington and Moscow. America also has to keep an eye on China.

The INF Treaty covers more than nuclear forces. It also prohibits conventional missiles with INF Treaty ranges too. And in the world of today, as China charges hard to expand its military power and reach, the United States is increasingly at a disadvantage. It is constrained by the INF Treaty; China is not. If Russia is not going to adhere to the treaty, then the risk of the United States being the only country in the world self-constraining itself is too significant. Many Chinese ground-based missiles, such as the CJ-10 Chinese land-attack missile, have ranges which are prohibited to the United States due to the treaty.

Because of the imbalance imposed on the United States by the treaty, Washington is hamstrung in expanding deterrence in the Indo-Pacific region, while China has no arms-control restrictions in building out its missile force.

President Obama willfully let Russia blatantly violate the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed with the former Soviet Union.

The Obama White House deliberately blocked a Pentagon risk-assessment report completed that states “that the breach involved a new missile that violates the limits set by the treaty. The treaty bans holding, producing, or flight-testing ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles with ranges of between 310 miles and 3,418 miles.” As Bill Gertz reported in the Washington Examiner:

At the Pentagon, spokesman Capt. Greg Hicks said: “The Chairman’s assessment of Russia’s Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty violation is classified and not releasable to the public.”

Hicks said, however, that steps are being taking “across the government to address Russia’s violation of the treaty, including preserving military response options -- but no decision has been made with regard to the type of response, if any.”

“If any” meant nothing was done either in terms of sanctions in the development testing of the Russian cruise missile or in the deployment of additional missile defenses in Eastern Europe that might offend President Obama’s untrustworthy friend, Russian President Vladimir Putin After all, President Obama has pulled the rug out from under our allies, notably Poland and the Czech Republic, before.

When President Obama took office in January 2009, sitting on his desk were President George W. Bush’s plans for the deployment of ground-based missile interceptors, such as are deployed at Fort Greely, Alaska, in Poland along with missile defense radars in the Czech Republic. As Investor’s Business Daily noted, President Obama had other plans and his betrayal of our allies was ironically exquisite:

Yet within hours of Medvedev's election as president in 2008, the Russian announced that Moscow would deploy SS-26 missiles in his country's enclave of Kaliningrad situated between our NATO allies Poland and Lithuania.

He wanted the U.S. to abandon plans to deploy missile interceptors in Poland and warning radars in the Czech Republic designed to counter a future threat from Iran.

What did President Obama do? He caved in and notified the Poles in a midnight phone call on Sept. 17, 2009 -- the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Union's invasion of Poland -- that we were pulling the plug on that system due to Russian objections.

Putin then watched in 2012 as Obama promised Medvedev at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul, South Korea, that after his re-election he would have more "flexibility" to weaken missile defense, which would help him fulfill his dream of U.S. disarmament.

Putin knew full well Obama’s weakness in responding to any foreign threat to U.S. interests and security. President Obama is the Neville Chamberlain of our time, promising “peace in our time” as he invites war with weakness, apologies, and appeasement.

Russia is pushing ahead with several missiles in violation of the INF Treaty as part of Putin’s plan to reassemble the old Soviet Union and dominate Eastern Europe once again. Among those missiles is the R-500 cruise missile and the RS-26 Rubezh ballistic missile:

U.S. intelligence officials have told the Washington Free Beacon that the Yars-M missile, also known as the RS-26, is a clear and blatant violation of the INF Treaty. Mark Schneider, a specialist on Russian missiles at the National Institute for Public Policy in Virginia, agrees that the new Yars M appears to be an INF violation.

A June 6 test of the Yars M, first disclosed by the Free Beacon, revealed it was launched from a missile base at Russia's Kapustin Yar and landed at an impact range at Sary Shagan, 1,242 miles to the south. That is "clearly INF range," Schneider said.

Russia has threatened to retaliate with an arms race and to target NATO members if Trump’s threat to withdraw from the INF Treaty is carried out. Putin would do well to remember what happened when the Russians deployed SS-20 missiles targeting NATO and what President Reagan’s response was.

When the Soviet Union targeted Europe with its SS-20s, President Reagan deployed Pershing missiles in West Germany. When Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev met Reagan in Reykjavik, Iceland in October 1986, he hoped Reagan would be willing to trade SDI away in exchange for arms control agreements and vague promises of

making nice with America. Reagan said no. As a result of his steadfastness in defending America in the Cold War, we won they lost.

It’s time to make America safe again.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.