View The Times on Donald trump, Vladimir Putin and missile confrontation.
“If you believe the movement in support of peace, the Treaty of elimination of intermediate and shorter-range missiles of 1987 saved Europe from Armageddon. According to this fundamental agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union of the cold war era, was first destroyed an entire class of nuclear weapons, was introduced strict and eased the tension between East and West. Now this brilliant example of statesmanship on the verge of collapse,” writes the British newspaper the Times in an editorial, Recalling also that, “the intelligence gathered under the Obama administration, suggest that Russia is experiencing a new cruise missile, banned 9М729 launcher”, in this connection, in February, the President of the United States Donald trump “suspended U.S. participation in the Treaty RSDM and (…) the Kremlin has also suspended its participation”.
Tomorrow the Treaty will be virtually dead. It will now be possible the smooth deployment of Russian medium-range missiles pointed at European targets. It would threaten not only its neighbors, but also all States in the range of 5.5 thousand from Russia. The whole idea of arms control might be questioned. To withstand the full onslaught of Western sanctions after annexing Crimea in 2014, Russia is no longer afraid of punishment for violation of international treaties. And she wants to focus on the deployment of American ballistic missile defense systems in neighboring Romania. President Putin has made it clear that he can’t wait to get the new generation of weapons, such as hypersonic missiles. The INF Treaty was for him irrelevant.
“The same can be said of trump administration, which believes that the Treaty puts it at a disadvantage relative to China. Beijing is not bound by the same restrictions the INF Treaty,” writes The Times, pointing out, however, that “the agreement remains vital for Europe”.
Trump may be thinking about re-playing in 1979 when NATO deployed missiles in Europe, offering to cancel this step if Moscow will sign an agreement on arms control. But it was agreed with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who genuinely wanted change. Putin doesn’t want anything. Re-deployment of American missiles in Europe will result in additional load on the Alliance without changing the behavior of the Kremlin.
The best that can be hoped for is that some restrictions on the placement of cruise missiles in Europe can be agreed in a broader package which involves the renewal of a new Treaty on strategic arms reduction, which expires in 2021. Thus, Europe will be in a state of nuclear drift until after the November presidential election of 2020 in the US, when the new us leader may feel freer to restart relations with Moscow. Putin can contribute by demonstrating that he is worthy of our trust.