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2 Feb, 2019 14:33

After killing INF US has ‘free hand’ to reassert ‘supremacy in the world’ with ‘new arms race’

After killing INF US has ‘free hand’ to reassert ‘supremacy in the world’ with ‘new arms race’

The collapse of the INF Treaty, conceded by the Kremlin on Saturday, is the result of decades-long “strategic destabilization of the nuclear balance” by the US, which wants a new international order, and perhaps a fresh arms race.

On Friday, Washington said it was suspending its participation in the 1987 agreement for 180 days, for alleged non-compliance by the other signatory, Moscow. The next morning, Vladimir Putin, flanked by two senior ministers, bemoaned that Russia “could not save” the milestone Cold War arms restriction agreement, despite generous offers to up its transparency.

According to Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann, a geopolitics analyst from Paris 8 University, this is the exact outcome Washington wanted, which already decided “beforehand to get out of the treaty” regardless of concessions.

Also on rt.com Russia suspends INF Treaty in ‘mirror response’ to US halting the agreement

“The US already destabilized the nuclear balance when they decided to get out of the ABM treaty in 2002, and when you look at a map the United States are putting missile defense bases all around Eurasia, creating a feeling of encirclement in Russia and China,” Thomann told RT.

“Their ideology is to put sovereignty above international law, and they want to have a total free hand to keep their supremacy in the world as long as possible, and these treaties are constraining them.”

But why now?

Thomann believes that the timing is caused by Washington, and specifically the Trump administration, feeling “threatened by China.”

UK-based Russia analyst Martin McCauley agrees that the alleged threat posed by Russia’s 9M729 missile, which Washington cited as the violation that caused the treaty breakdown is nothing but a pretext.

Also on rt.com US opted to ditch INF years ago, has been preparing to produce banned missiles – Russian MoD

“The Americans are more concerned about China than Russia. They feel the INF treaty is out of date, and they want a new one – and Trump talks about it – that includes Beijing,” he told RT from London.

Concluded at the height of the Cold War rapprochement between Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan, the INF treaty binds only Moscow and Washington, prohibiting them from developing conventional and nuclear-tipped missiles with a range of 500km to 5,500km, which are now possessed by several other countries that were not parties to the agreement.

For Liu Baocheng, a Beijing-based analyst, dismantling the post-Cold War diplomatic architecture that has secured the most peaceful period in international politics, is “very disappointing” and an unnecessary risk.

“The world has worked very hard to heal the scars of the Cold War. Now, the hard-earned peace is really at stake,” he told RT.

“China also has to defend its national security, and would urge the world community to watch very closely what is happening.”

Yet Annie Machon, former MI5 officer and security expert, believes it is another step in the “exponential expansion of NATO” since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991 that will allow it to place more weapons on Russia’s doorstep.

Also on rt.com Russian efforts for disarmament unsupported by ‘partners’ for years – Putin

“It’s been quite an aggressive pattern for the past 30 years, much of the expansion right on the border of a country that wants to assert its sovereign power,” Machon said from London.

“The INF treaty was put there in the first place to stop there being a nuclear strike with very little warning time. And that was a step forward at the time – that it is being torn up now is very worrying.”

So, what next?

For Thomann, the ball is now in Washington’s court, though any step is likely to be met with a vigorous response from the two other major powers.

“Either, an arms race is starting, or the objective of the United States is to first have the capability to show that they are the most powerful nation in this area, and then force the other parties to the negotiating table,” he predicts.

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