Trump’s INF Treaty Game

Trump ugly

The INF treaty covers intermediate range nuclear forces – but Trump’s handling might result in wide range and long term consequences, trading US political interests for short term gains of their arms industry.

Two of the many problems analysts face with US president Trump’s political moves are, that the gap between announcement and factual decision and the life cycle of a decision are not really predictable. This bulk of trouble is overshadowed by the fact, that this US president is used to see any of his moves in the light of two permanent campaigns he is working for: public relations in general and re-election specifically. The mere mentioning of these criteria implicates what everybody can see easily: Trump is simply not the type of person for serious long-term planning, programming and perseverance – and his cabinet and aides, in fact the whole administration suffers, some of them more, some less, while others, including assumed and real heavyweights, have simply quit. That said, politicians within and outside the USA can complain – or start detecting new opportunities, including a free hand for strategic and tactical planning from scratch. In short, the world faces a constructive challenge – and a follow-up question is, whether governments and politicians are up to the task. Answering this question, an interesting result comes up: Russia, China, Turkey and Iran (among not so few others) share an advantageous position. If, in addition to this advantage, they take to include fresh ideas into their range of options, all of them may face unforeseen positive results.

The last spice added to this introduction is neither very popular nor comfortable to digest – but nevertheless containing harsh truths: The powers, which have advanced Trump’s access to the presidency, follow two objectives: preparing war scenarios around the globe ranges among others on top, due to terrible financial and systemic problems, which are growing by the day. An obvious consequence in this goal is, to push Europe to build up a European army, with greater independence from Washington, seemingly reflecting the recent political problems between both sides of the Atlantic Ocean – but in truth: preparing further intrigue, with deadly risks. Several of Trump’s moves have clearly strengthened this set of objectives, which has one immediate and clear advantage: Readiness of European leaders to talk to their compulsively unloved Russian neighbors has grown significantly. The uncertainty for Russia, whether or not Europe and the US are to be counted as one block, leaves Moscow, and consequently many others, with the necessity to prepare for the worst – leading to a renewed serious arms race. Any good war preparation includes scenarios for enhancing arms races – there we are, and this one has global implications, which is intended. When problems develop quicker than solutions, it is time to ring the alarm bells.

1 Time 

The announcement to „leave“ (meaning: break) the INF treaty came October 20, during Trump’s campaigning for the mid-term elections, which were not as successful as necessary to form a useful background for re-election in 2020. That leaves Trump’s aspirations in trouble – he is now forced to compromise more in all directions than before. And the Democrats clearly prefer a conflict scenario against Russia, while Trump has set his eyes on bullying Iran. Problem and challenge is, that the globe may end up with both scenarios in terrible progress. The good side is: Within three weeks after his initial announcement and one week after the election, Trump has not acted as announced. One strong necessity is now, after a seemingly „stupid“ move by one of the players, that the others not jump to the opportunities offered by the unlucky partner, if the consequences of such a „greedy“/“clever“ behavior edge the globe closer to war. To hesitate and talk may be wiser and save a lot of taxpayer’s money – opening up social development opportunities far overwhelming any military glory or pride. Result: This is the time to in-depth study of motivations and work on wise scenarios, securely evading further unnecessary escalation. That is being done. Sometimes, winning something as simple as time may help avoid disaster or at least put up tough steps long enough to open up new choices in a different situation. The good side here: INF treaty troubles do not cause grave immediate problems.

2 Threats and Opportunities

It appears futile to discuss US accusations against Russia concerning alleged INF treaty violations as a background for this discussion. Not only can Moscow point out various much stronger violations in various fields on the western side, wherever one choses to look – not to talk about a possible rebuttal of the US INF position. But main issue remains the fact, that there are serious basic questions: How can arms control be managed in a new multipolar world? Security is always a multipolar issue, no matter aspirations of world dominance preservation or missile ranges. Very rightly experts point out, that the „New START“ or „START-3“ treaty is in danger of non-prolongation (2021), too – and that the two treaties, INF and START, are inter-linked. The now well developed gross error in US strategy, to try to deny other partners of global standing development of their capabilities, re-inforced by outspoken military threats, now bears unlucky fruits. It is impossible to control research globally and stop history in the face of all the world. It would have been a lot wiser to come to truly friendly terms while the time is still on Washington’s side.

Even western experts have pointed out immediately after receiving word of Trump’s INF exit plans, that Russia appears to be first and strongest beneficiary. It’s the US lagging behind and recently having troubles in developing complex arms technology, even president Trump admitted that as yet another Obama legacy. In this case Russia and friends can afford some generosity towards a struggling old champion: Outstanding abilities in face saving moves were shown by Moscow in the matter of Syria’s chemical weapons and Obama’s dangerous „red line“ commitments.

3 Soft power and other challenges

Strategic advantage, technology advantage and history on it’s side – what else could Russia do? There appears to be a clear two-pronged answer, which in a world with an aging giant strongly gain in importance. On one hand it’s interior challenges, the main two of them rule of law and social justice; but on the other hand, there’s a real ability gap to be bridged, right in the face of the huge western propaganda machine: social, public and civil („people -to-people“) relations, NGO links, cultural co-operation in its broadest sense. RT and one little lackluster science institute in Germany – just as an example – are a far cry from the hundreds of „foreign agents“ in Russia. Stronger commitment here is what befits the future European leader – sympathetic western countries‘ people are waiting for far stronger signals.

Original in Russia (English language) http://inforos.ru/en/?module=news&action=view&id=79691

Original in Russia: (Russian language)