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24 August 2020

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Jack
Vladimir Putin: "Presidents come & go, but politics stays the same...Do you know why? Powerful bureaucracy. When a person is elected, they may have some ideas. Then people with briefcases arrive, well dressed, wearing dark suits and explain how things are REALLY done"

https://twitter.com/ben__rickert/status/1297772021330239489?s=21

Isn’t this the reality? The bureaucratic-media-KStreet-big money groupthink is more powerful than ever before.

Did Trump actually run his administration? Was he just a bystander tweeting away? Clearly, when it comes to the coup attempt, it would appear he was reduced to crying on Twitter. Didn’t have the courage to declassify nor quickly clean house of the putschists early in his term.

Andrei Martyanov

Yes, I see Marshal Bilingslea, and especially him being totally delusional, such as this:

So we came to Vienna with a mandate from President Trump. Russia understands our position, and what remains to be seen is if there is the political will in Moscow to get this deal done. The ball is now in Russia’s court.

The knowledge in Moscow that INF will be finished off by the US is several years old and China has almost zero relation to all that. In reference, see salvos of Russia's VKS and Navy using 3M14 and X101 cruise missiles at ISIS targets in Syria in 2015 and see Putin's Address to Federal Assembly on 1 March 2018. In related news, new longer-range version of 3M14 with the range of 4,500 kilometers and X-101 with the range of 10,000 kilometers are coming, and soon. The only way the United States can "respond" is with the intermediate-range ballistics, because American lag in cruise missile technology--a precise reason for the US being willing to go with INF Treaty in 1987, thinking that US had vast advantage with naval platforms with TLAMs--is not simply gone, the US realistically is about generation or two behind in this technology. Hence he death of INF Treaty. Russians didn't cry too much about INF either since it was this treaty which was in the way of unrolling increasingly cutting edge missile technologies for all types of platforms.

China in INF Treaty considerations was at best a secondary one, in reality--an afterthought and not the main reason for burying INF. In related news, the US is desperately trying to come up with the much less capable, allegedly 900-km range, aeroballistic M=5, than 2000-km range M=9 Kinzhal hypersonic weapon. So far the main effort is on marrying this weapon's mock-up with the aircraft. This is in a nutshell. It is, of course, more complex than that but the United States learned very wrong lessons from Cold War 1.0 and abandoning, in general, a whole arms control regime is de facto admission, obviously spun by media as yet another "victory" (what's new), of the loss of the arms race in weapon systems which matter for fighting a real war. Such as START treaty. Mr. Billingslea and Trump want now to discuss Russia's operational-tactical systems and include them in extended START. This is laughable. It also makes US side look desperate and Russians know this. I know, it is a very difficult reality to accept for the American exceptionalists, but many warned about this reality unfolding for many years (yours truly included)--this was ignored and here we are today.

Seve Smith

I think the INF issue was originally totally about Russia. It's been around for about 15 years, and it started as a US complaint about a particular Russian missile that allegedly violated the range guidelines of the treaty, though Russia has always denied that.

At that point, Chinese intermediate range missiles weren't in the picture. I'm not sure what the timeline was for their deployment and the shift in US concern from Russia to China.

If Russia is in violation of INF, that violation is almost certainly tied to the US withdrawal from ABM and the deployment of anti-ballistic missiles in Eastern Europe that Russia perceives as threatening to its strategic nuclear deterrent.

Back to China, we will certainly be able to build intermediate range missiles, but the question is who is going to allow us to deploy them on their soil? The main candidates are Japan, South Korea, Australia and the Philippines, and all seem to have some issues with the concept.

difficult bird

Why would China have a melt-down? With China's military-industrial capabilities, they probably can deploy 10 missiles for each U.S. missile, provided if any nation/region is willing to host U.S. missiles, which is a big if.

It seems all that the U.S. has nowadays is a hammer, so every problem is a nail. The U.S. is unwilling to join TPP. It cannot form an Asian NATO. It cannot organize an effective Quad. Even ASEAN won't toe the American line.

So when faced with China's BRI, AIIB, RCEP, innovation, and entrepreneurship, the U.S. has no option left but fall back to its cold war tactic, refusing to acknowledge that Unlike the former Soviet Union, China's GDP is more than 20% bigger than its own in PPP terms, and China is by far the largest manufacture in the world - as a result, the U.S. will never win a missile production and deployment game against China.

Polish Janitor

Yes and the logic offered by the Trump admin is that the INF treaty is a Cold War era treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in bipolar structure (from the balance of power POV) and is meaningless in an emerging multi-polar geo-lpolitical structure where great power competition between say, Russia, China, U.S. India, Israel, Turkey the UK and probably Iran is taking place.

This Bellingsea dude at the State Department is trying to include China in any future arms-control treaty with the U.S. and Russia together in a package and I see the recent move from the U.S. to station air-defense systems in east Asia as an escalatory move to bring China to the negotiation table. But China does not appear to be budging under the pressure.

walrus

Unfortunately these negotiations are a waste of time because the Russians have already labelled the U. S. as “not agreement capable.” I assume China thinks the same.

To put it bluntly, nobody trusts the U. S. anymore, if they ever did.

Andrei Martyanov

@Seve Smith

I think the INF issue was originally totally about Russia. It's been around for about 15 years, and it started as a US complaint about a particular Russian missile that allegedly violated the range guidelines of the treaty, though Russia has always denied that.

The genesis of INF Treaty was a desperate desire by Gorbachev to be accepted by the West, while on US side it was an extremely advantageous arrangement which allowed the US to maintain its inter-mediate range TLAMs on naval platforms, hence all those MK-41s VLS. At that time, it was perceived (wrongly) that USSR didn't have the answer to BGM-109 TLAM. USSR did have the answer: RK-55 Granat (SS-N-21 Sampson. This missile (its nuclear variant) was a part of negotiations on START II. Its nuclear tipped variant has been removed from Russian subs. Appearance, however, of 3M14 Kalibr and X-101 marked a radical shift in balance, because Russia's means of defeating TLAM platforms, especially Arleigh Burke-class DDG and Ticonderoga-class CGs pretty much renders them useless at the ranges they can launch at Russia's territory to have any measurable impact conventionally. The only viable, but much reduced at that, option is pulling Ohio-class SSGNs (carriers of the same TLAMs) and launching from under the water. This limits impact and, considering Russia's serious ASW capabilities, including own state-of-the-art subs, this whole thing becomes very iffy. So, basically, for the US the whole INF treaty, while looking good for the late 1980s--early 1990s was a Pyrrhic victory in the end since helped to focus and accelerate already impressive Russian missile programs, while the US was still basking in the glow of self-proclaimed victory in the Cold War. I remember extremely well October 2015 and first officially publicized salvos from Caspian Sea and from inside Russian air space on ISIS targets. I never saw such a hysteria in US media and among their "military experts", including famous Ralph Peters' going off the rails completely. They knew what it all meant, they just couldn't tell it to US general public. So, in conclusion, it was and is primarily about Russia.

Fred

Walrus,

"if they ever did."

So NATO member state were happy to have the US rebuild them with the Marshall Plan and defend them with our military for decades, but they were just going to screw us as soon as somebody caught on to their contempt for the US? Should we include Australia in the "if they ever did" catagory?

Christian J. Chuba

INF was outdated and more and more favored the U.S. as NATO marched eastward and drones came into the picture. Even the initial exception for naval based cruise missiles was favorable to the U.S.

The treaty I'm going to miss is START 2. I don't think the hawks in the U.S. were acting in good faith by insisting, late in the game, that China had to be part of the next one before any renewal without also including the U.K. and France. Officials were even quoted as saying that 'the U.S. knows how to win arms races while bankrupting their opponents'. The Hawks are having visions of another Reaganesque victory over China / Russia.

BABAK MAKKINEJAD

Fred:

Europeans, East or West of the Diocletian Line, generally admire, emulate and envy the United States.

On the other hand, like many good middle managers responsible for P&L, they have looked for opportunities to minimize their losses.

Once USSR was defeated and ceased to exist, there was no need for NATO - but Europeans wanted it - the Western ones wanted US to remain there and the Eastern ones wanted to join the Winner's Club.

The United States remains the highest exponent of the Western Civilization and the enabler for the Europeans (Eastern and Western) to be indulge in the "pose" that they count for something - which they do not - as the event surrounding US betrayal of JCPOA have firmly established.

BABAK MAKKINEJAD

Andrei Martyanov

US won the Cold War, because she remained standing on the proverbial field of battle while USSR (as well as the Warswa Pact) disintegrated.

The political mistake of the United States, in my opinion, has been the attempt to exclude Russia from the politics of Europe, China from the politics of the World, and Iran from the politics of Islamdom.

Andrei Martyanov

@Babak

US won the Cold War, because she remained standing on the proverbial field of battle while USSR (as well as the Warswa Pact) disintegrated.

Right. Like at Borodino which French allegedly "won", for Talleyrand to hand Paris city keys to Alexander in 1814. As our dear friend Carl Von Clausewitz said: "in war the result is never final".

The political mistake of the United States, in my opinion, has been the attempt to exclude Russia from the politics of Europe, China from the politics of the World, and Iran from the politics of Islamdom.

Russia today cares about Europe only as a market, culturally Russia and Europe cannot be further apart. Further even than in Cold War 1.0 halcyon days. The drift will continue.

Babak makkinejad

Andrei Martyanov

Like Saxons and Vikings on the Battle of Edington.

Russia must care about Europe, twice in the last 200 years an attempt was made to destroy the Russian state: the second attempt also was intended to annihilate the Rus.

Fred

Babak,

I agree with a lot of what you said, though I would point out the USSR imploded upon itself more than it was 'defeated'. In regards to your resonse to Andrei, for how many centuries after the Battle of Edintong did the Saxons pay the Danegeld?

Andrei Martyanov

@Babak

Russia must care about Europe, twice in the last 200 years an attempt was made to destroy the Russian state:

Believe me, she does care. That is why Russia is armed to the teeth. Let's put it this way, militarily Russians do not even count Europeans as a serious credible military power. Or the whole NATO, for that matter.

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