US imperialist scrapping of INF Treaty aimed against both Russia and China
President Trump who, when standing for election, claimed to favour improving relations with Russia, has taken imperialist duplicity to a new level of blatancy, as shown by his unilateral announcement that the US is ending another bilateral peace agreement, the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF). This he announced in October 2018 in Nevada following a rally:
“We’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and do weapons and we’re not allowed to. We’re the ones that have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honoured the agreement but Russia has not unfortunately honoured the agreement so we’re going to terminate the agreement, we’re going to pull out.”
The INF Treaty banned ground-launched nuclear missiles with ranges from 500km to 5,500km. It was jointly signed by Ronald Reagan and then Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev. The Treaty led to just short of 2,700 short- and medium-range missiles being scrapped with verification. As far as Europe is concerned it ended a worrying face-off between US Pershing and Cruise missiles on one side and the Soviet SS-20 missiles on the other side.
It is only natural therefore that Europe would rather see the Treaty continue, although the EU has made noises echoing Trump blaming Russia for the US decision, while asking the US to think again.
The real reason why Trump is so keen to tear up this Treaty actually has relatively little to do with Russia but far more to do with China which is not a party to it, and therefore obviously is not bound by it. This didn’t matter in 1987 when China was not in the running to participate in any arms race, but the situation has now completely changed. For while US imperialism is aging and decaying, China is on the rise, a rise that facilitates the ability of oppressed countries to throw off some of the shackles that force their submission to imperialist extraction of their wealth, to the detriment of imperialist banks and multinationals. This in turn is causing US imperialist decay to accelerate while stultifying its efforts to emerge from financial crisis. In that sense, China is indeed a threat to US interests, so long as the US is relying on neo-colonial super-exploitation of most of the world for its survival and wellbeing. This is why US imperialism is keen to stamp out China’s rise, and to force it to bend to its will, and of course the only means through which it can hope to achieve this is by wielding its military might. China, however, is now capable of developing sophisticated weapons systems to counter US military threats, and indeed has done so, which is why US imperialism is now seeking to tear down the restrictions placed on it by the INF in order to be able to keep ahead of China in the production of weapons of mass destruction.
Long-time US war-monger and nuclear treaty opponent, John Bolton, is certainly straining in the direction of aggressive confrontation with Russia and China and has been not only accusing Russia of breaking the Treaty but has continued to accuse both countries of cyber-attacks. In the case of Russia he still repeats the old chestnut that Russia meddled in the last Presidential election, though of course, as his job depends on the Donald, he claims that the supposed interference had little effect on the outcome of the 2016 elections and in any event the President had nothing to do with it. In relation to China, however, he stated that “China’s cyber-attacks against the United States made Russia seem like the junior partner”. He did not offer to give any evidence for this unwarranted accusation, needless to say. When we consider that the US government has already had to admit to spying on most of its citizens, of having tapped the phones and intercepted emails from its NATO and EU allies, considering the number of elections around the world that it has meddled in and the regime-change uprisings that it has sponsored, it seems strange that these are the very things that it now dubs outrageous behaviour when, without a shred of evidence, it is accusing others of engaging in them!
US imperialism has found its armed forces to be below par in all its recent invasions and meddling within other countries. If they dream, and they do dream, of overcoming both Russia and China militarily, they believe that they will need bigger and better short, mid and long-range nuclear weapons. If not checked US imperialism could end human life on this planet and, chillingly, many of those in and around the US military/political leadership seem to think that would be better than not playing the sole leading role on the planet.
Of course, imperialism can and must be stood up to. This has been done many times before and we must do it now. Russia and China are not bending the knee to them, Iran and the DPRK still stand proudly alongside Cuba. Venezuela will continue to resist as will the people of the Donbas. Many other voices are raised against imperialism on every continent, and when British imperialism says it will stand with the US, it is up to us to challenge our own bourgeoisie in every way we can.
Recent history has seen the US break the peace treaties that it signed up to with the Soviet Union. In 2001 the US under Bush junior withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, the INF treaty has now gone. Another peace treaty, this time with post-Soviet Russia, is up for renewal shortly, the 2010 New Start agreement which limited the number of deployed strategic warheads on either side to 1,550 which was signed by Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev, then president of Russia, is due to expire in 2021 and both Bolton and the top arms control adviser in the National Security Council (NSC), Tim Morrison, are already calling for it to go unsigned.
The attempt by US imperialism to impose its hegemony through advanced weaponry is doomed to failure from the start. In response to the US scrapping the INF Treaty, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia had produced a new missile – the Zircon – which attacks unseen, therefore undetected, at targets 8,000 km away. It can be launched from submarines or ships and travels at a speed of 3 km per second. The mainstream bourgeois media are abuzz with this news, accusing Russia of being aggressive, threatening and guilty of starting a new Cold War – the very same media that were so muted in their reaction to the scrapping by the US of the INF Treaty, which forced Russia to devise the means to block US efforts at intimidation and domination.
What the bourgeois media also ‘forget’ to report is that Mr Putin emphasised that Russia was threatening no-one; that it had no desire to dominate other countries; and that its weapons, including the Zircon missile, were purely defensive and for safeguarding Russia’s independence and security.
The imperialist march towards the next world war in the hope of saving imperialism will not be wished away, we must defend those targeted by imperialism now! Only the overthrow of imperialism will put an end to its ceaseless lethal aggression and wars. Only when humanity is finally able to replace capitalism with socialism on a world scale will war be confined to the dustbin of history where it belongs.