Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘START inspections’

Putin’s “Civilizational” Speech Frames Conflict Between East and West

Posted by M. C. on February 25, 2023

Bets can be made that Patrushev explained in detail to Wang Yi how that is just wishful thinking. The “logic “of the current collective western “leadership” has been expressed, among others, by irredeemable mediocrity Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary-general: even nuclear war is preferable to a Russian victory in Ukraine.


Russian President Vladimir Putin’s much awaited address to the Russian Federal Assembly on Tuesday should be interpreted as a tour de force of sovereignty.

The address, significantly, marked the first anniversary of Russia’s official recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, only a few hours before 22 February, 2022. In myriad ways, what happened a year ago also marked the birth of the real, 21st century multipolar world.

Then two days later, Moscow launched the Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine to defend said republics.

Cool, calm, collected, without a hint of aggression, Putin’s speech painted Russia as an ancient, independent, and quite distinct civilization – sometimes following a path in concert with other civilizations, sometimes in divergence.

Ukraine, part of Russian civilization, now happens to be occupied by western civilization, which Putin said “became hostile to us,” like in a few instances in the past. So the acute phase of what is essentially a war by proxy of the west against Russia takes place over the body of Russian civilization.

That explains Putin’s clarification that “Russia is an open country, but an independent civilization – we do not consider ourselves superior but we inherited our civilization from our ancestors and we must pass it on.”

A war dilacerating the body of Russian civilization is a serious existential business. Putin also made clear that “Ukraine is being used as a tool and testing ground by the west against Russia.” Thus the inevitable follow-up: “The more long-range weapons are sent to Ukraine, the longer we have to push the threat away from our borders.”

Translation: this war will be long – and painful. There will be no swift victory with minimal loss of blood. The next moves around the Dnieper may take years to solidify. Depending on whether US policy continues to cleave to neo-con and neoliberal objectives, the frontline may be displaced to Lviv. Then German politics may change. Normal trade with France and Germany may be recovered only by the end of the next decade.

Kremlin exasperation: START is finished

All that brings us to the games played by the Empire of Lies. Says Putin: “The promises…of western rulers turned into forgery and cruel lies. The west supplied weapons, trained nationalist battalions. Even before the start of the SMO, there were negotiations…on the supply of air defense systems… We remember Kyiv’s attempts to obtain nuclear weapons.”

Putin made it clear, once again, that the element of trust between Russia and the west, especially the US, is gone. So it’s a natural decision for Russia to “withdraw from the treaty on strategic offensive weapons, but we don’t do it officially. For now we are only halting our participation to the START treaty. No US inspections in our nuclear sites can be allowed.”

As an aside, of the three main US-Russian weapons treaties, Washington abandoned two of these: The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty was dumped by the administration of former president George W. Bush in 2002, and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was nixed by former president Donald Trump in 2019.

This shows the Kremlin’s degree of exasperation. Putin is even prepared to order the Ministry of Defense and Rosatom to get ready to test Russian nuclear weapons if the US goes first along the same road.

See the rest here

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The End of Arms Control As We Know It? – by Daniel Larison

Posted by M. C. on December 6, 2022

It is one of the absurdities of international politics that arms control becomes politically toxic at the very moment when it is most needed.

Daniel Larison

Russia pulled out of talks over resuming New START inspections, and their government seems unlikely to change its position anytime soon:

Russia accused the United States on Tuesday of toxic anti-Russian behaviour that it said had prompted it to pull out of nuclear arms talks with U.S. officials in Cairo this week.

In strongly worded comments, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova also accused the United States of trying to manipulate the New START nuclear treaty to its advantage, although she said Russia was still committed to it.

Zakharova also said that Russia would not discuss New START-related matters with the U.S. as long as it is arming Ukraine. The Russian government must know that there is no chance that the U.S. will halt weapons supplies to Ukraine while the war continues, so this amounts to setting a condition for resuming talks that they know the U.S. will not accept. That makes it all but certain that verification inspections won’t be taking place for the foreseeable future. There have already been no inspections for the last three years because of the pandemic and the war, and it now seems more likely than not that the treaty will be a dead letter even before it expires in 2026. The already poor chances of negotiating a follow-on treaty to replace New START are now even worse.

Arms control is more important than it has been in decades as U.S.-Russian tensions are the worst they have been since the end of the Cold War. It is one of the absurdities of international politics that arms control becomes politically toxic at the very moment when it is most needed. The major treaties that reduced U.S. and Soviet/Russian arsenals over the last thirty years were negotiated and ratified in the waning years of the Cold War or during the post-Cold War era.

See the rest here

Be seeing you

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »