Knew This Was Coming


The US is going to pull out of the Reagan/Gorbachev agreements restricting nuclear weapons. The story is that it’s because the Russians are cheating.

That’s probably true. But if you asked the Russians they’d say it’s because the Americans are cheating, which is also true. It’s complicated; the US adopted a strategy of “modernizing” warheads to make them more accurate (i.e.: making new warheads) while keeping the overall inventory number the same. The Russians went “we, too, can play that” and did likewise – just as everyone familiar with nuclear weapons control expected. Here’s a picture of what the global nuclear threat looks like:

Let me interpret that chart for you: Other than the US and Russia, the other nuclear powers in the world have settled down with a policy of having enough of the weapons to deter anyone threatening an attack. Only the US and Russia have decided that it is not enough to defend; they must be prepared to scour the entire planet. I.e.: their arsenals are oriented toward aggression, not defense. A country that wanted a credible deterrent would not be concerned with (as the US is) building nuclear weapons that are precise enough to target individual bunkers or facilities.

The US got some coached yappings from one of its lapdogs: [guard]

Britain stands “absolutely resolute” with the United States, the UK defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, has said, after Donald Trump’s announcement he would pull out of a decades-old nuclear weapons pact with Russia.

Williamson blamed Russia for endangering the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which was agreed by the US and the Soviet Union in 1987, and called on the Kremlin to “get its house in order”.

See? Irony is not dead. A nobody from the country that cooked up ‘BREXIT’ is standing by gag-President Trump and telling the Kremlin to “get its house in order.”

Trump did not detail any recent violations of the pact, although in 2017 White House national security officials said Russia had deployed a cruise missile in violation of the treaty.

The argument there is that the “new” Russian cruise missile is a “new” weapon, not like our new weapons are “new.” I doubt any of this is within Trump’s comprehension, he’s probably shambling along while his keepers tell him what to pretend to care about.

Think for a few minutes about the balancing-act that is nuclear war. The only reason to have a large arsenal is in hopes of being able to strike an opponent so thoroughly, with so much overkill, that they are unable to retaliate. The only reason to have a large arsenal is if you want to be prepared to be the aggressor in a nuclear war, and you want to win. If you’re trying to deter another power from using nuclear weapons on you, you need a few warheads and robust well-hidden and defensible delivery systems. A small country with 3 ballistic missile submarines, or some ground-based cruise missiles, could make a superpower uncertain of their ability to completely disarm them in a counter-force strike. Those more precise weapons that the US is building? Those are to strike an opponent’s missile silos to put them out of action in an attack. Those upgraded cruise missiles that the Russians are building? They’re also a first-strike weapon. Retaliatory weapons just need to hit a large area target like Los Angeles or Moscow, not a buried missile silo that would alread be empty, in a defensive war.

None of this should be a surprise for anyone, but I see it as another key indicator that the US Empire is coming out of its stealth period and preparing to hoist the banner of global hegemony.

Comments

  1. Dunc says

    [T]he US Empire is coming out of its stealth period and preparing to hoist the banner of global hegemony.

    “Stealth period”? It’s been about as stealthy as an elephant in clogs…

  2. komarov says

    This reminds me of Iran “violating the spirit” of the nuclear deal, as Trump put it, if I recall correctly. Maybe it’s also a bit like the Khashoggi murder: Totally not the king’s fault. Russia violating nuclear treaties? Must be some rogue elements doing that without Putin’s knowledge. I.e.: Fine, so long as he apologises with a nice press release and commissions a go-nowhere investigation.

    The days of leaders being responsible and accountable*, if they were ever here, are clearly over. One more reason to kick them out of their respective palaces, maybe. It won’t stop whatever shadowy cabal is doing whatever against their express wishes (but coincidentally in their interest), but at least we can save a lot of cash on maintenance for what turned out to be no more gilded figureheads.

    *In the loosest possible sense of the word.

  3. jrkrideau says

    Is there any international agreement that Trump is not withdrawing from? I am currently anticipating a press release from the White House announcing that the USA is withdrawing from the World Organization of the Scout Movement & World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

    It looks like Trump is completely held captive by a bunch of crazed America Uber Alles nuts like Bolton and Miller who really have no idea of what they are doing. Maybe they read too many Captain America comics as kids? Bolton has enough international experience, including his stint as US Ambassador to the United Nations to understand what he is doing but there are a lot of indications that he is clinically insane.

    Miller, on the other hand, just seems like someone who would eat his litter mates.

    I’d say that there is a fairly good chance that Russia is cheating, or skirting the edge very closely but it seems equally sure that the USA is violating the treaty.

    Putin’s remarks at the Valdi Club last Thursday were not encouraging in the face of this latest bit of US madness.

    Any aggressor should know that retribution will be inevitable and he will be destroyed. And since we will be the victims of his aggression, we will be going to heaven as martyrs. They will simply drop dead, won’t even have time to repent.

  4. jrkrideau says

    Oops forgot, Trump says that the USA is withdrawing from the Universal Postal Union. I hope no one depends on international mail for anything.

  5. says

    @#5

    Oops forgot, Trump says that the USA is withdrawing from the Universal Postal Union. I hope no one depends on international mail for anything.

    I’m starting to notice a trend here. Some person tells me “Trump is doing X” (X being something incredibly stupid). My first reaction: “This sounds too insane, this cannot be true, it must be a joke.” Then I open google and look it up. It turns out that Trump really is trying to do X. Hmm, I suppose I should stop being surprised each time I hear news about Trump doing something ridiculous.

  6. kestrel says

    @jrkrideau, #5: Christ of the Andes. I hoped you were kidding, but nope – that is indeed the plan at this point.

    Haha. I guess it’s a lucky thing I know how to milk goats, make cheese, spin yarn and weave. I’m going to need to at the rate the US is forging every backwards. I’m certainly not going to be able to run a jewelry business anymore if I can’t ship, and have things shipped to me, internationally.

    OT: Not surprised. But sickened that a fear we all had when I was a child has come back to haunt us big time.

  7. jrkrideau says

    @ 6 Ieva Skrebele
    @ 7 kestrel

    Leva,
    The interesting thing with the Universal Postal Union is that Trump actually is very likely correct in his complaint.
    The problem is that all the USA has to do is make a good case at the UPU meeting that is held once every four years. Iron out such problems, is a key part of the meeting. The last I heard, the meetings involve 180–120 countries, or onther entities, and last about 6 months but they work.

    Kestral,
    I have not quite grasped what withdrawing from the UPU means but the worst case scenario would be no international mail being sent to or received from the USA. It seems incredible but it could happen.

    If you live in the USA, I hope you are within easy driving distance of the Canadian or Mexican border.

  8. Bill Spight says

    Remember Nuclear Winter? Maybe the US and Russia will save us from global warming.

    ;) (I think.)

    As for Trump pulling out of nuclear agreements, I regard that as machismo posturing, rationalized as part of Making America Great Again. Not that Trump has any idea of attacking Russia or North Korea. He’s in love with Kim and Putin, after all. But he is making the world more dangerous.

  9. Dunc says

    Bolton has enough international experience, including his stint as US Ambassador to the United Nations to understand what he is doing but there are a lot of indications that he is clinically insane.

    I don’t think this is fair. People with serious mental health issues do not deserve to be tarred by association with that arsehole.

    Bolton’s actually pretty mainstream as far as the US foreign policy establishment goes. He’s just prone to saying in public what they normally reserve for internal briefing documents.

  10. says

    Dunc@#11:
    I don’t think this is fair. People with serious mental health issues do not deserve to be tarred by association with that arsehole.

    I agree with Dunc. Bolton’s problem is a lifestyle choice. Leave the people with mental health issues out of it.

  11. jrkrideau says

    @ 11 Dunc & 12 Marcus

    Sorry.
    I agree totally with Dunc’s characterization of Bolton’s behaviour (well most of his behaviour anyway) as being pretty mainstream as far as the US foreign policy establishment goes.

    That does not change my opinion of his mental state. I do not call people clinically insane lightly. Mind, I am not a clincial psychologist, so take it for what you will.

  12. komarov says

    Maybe it’s all part of a cunning plan by the Republicans to win future elections. Assuming they face a democratic majority (hah) they can run everything into the ground now and then blame whoever comes after. “Before the democrats came to power I used to get mail from overseas!”

    And as far the next iteration of the nuclear arms race is concerned, I particularly enjoyed this quote from a BBC article: “Mr Trump said the US would build up its arsenal “until people come to their senses”.” Enjoyed it with a fixed, slightly manic grin, which is as good as it gets nowadays.

    Sure, I’d like to see what a world looks like that Trump would deem “sensible” – call it morbid curiosity – but only on a TV screen, featuring overrated actors and a special effects budget that isn’t sensible at all.

  13. says

    komarov @#14

    “Mr Trump said the US would build up its arsenal “until people come to their senses”.”

    Wow, Trump is actually right for once. Trump supporters, American nationalists, and those in charge of American military budget are all “people.” Thus the statement is factually correct: US will continue to build new nuclear weapons until people (Trump and his allies) come to their senses. Unfortunately, the probability of American nationalists coming to their senses is pretty low. Hmm, I wonder which one will happen first—a nuclear armageddon or an armageddon caused by the climate change.

Leave a Reply