Trump pulling out of arms treaty

Trying to sort out fact from propaganda here (no easy task). Trump claims that Russia has cheated on the treaty for years. Are there in fact allegations of this from the Obama era? What Russian actions is it claimed constitute violations? Is there some weapon system the US would like to develop that is currently prohibited? Is it an attempt to bring Russia (and China, according to reports) to the table for a more comprehensive agreement? Or is it posturing on Trump’s part?

It’s just Trump and Bolton being world-class idiots. No need to overthink it.

Utterly colossal stupidity. Potentially the worst thing Trump has done, of many terrible things, in terms of risk to human life.

Since this is Great Debates and all we have had is IMHO so far, let’s put up some information from here:

To reply to the OP question using the source above:

  • Yes, there were concerns expressed during Obama’s term.

  • It appears Mattis (supposedly one of the ‘grown-ups’ in the White House) has been considering stepping out of the treaty, so this apparently not one of President Trumps ‘wild hairs’.

  • Russia did deploy something that the US considers a violation (naturally Russia disagrees).

I suggest reading the article, which provides a pretty even-handed look at the issue. So at least any debate is informed, not Pavlovian.

Even utterly colossal stupidity has motives. What does Trump think he’s accomplishing?

P.S., something more enlightening than “Trump is stupid/insane/evil” would be helpful.

I think he’s trying to convey the message “Would I tear up this treaty if I was such a buddy with Putin?”, in a feeble attempt to show that he is not a Russian puppet.

Maybe it’s something about the Iskander missiles?

Not like the U.S. was ever going to deploy new equivalents of Pershings or the like anyway.

Well, in an effort to provide a factual answer:

The United States has been claiming that Russia was in violation of the 1987 treaty since (I think) the summer of 2014. (Cite). According to that story, the issue then was Russia’s testing of certain cruise missiles. Also according to that story, the testing started in 2008 and the Obama Administration concluded in 2011 that the tests were a “compliance concern” and the United States raised the issue with Russia in May 2013. There is a lengthy (and it looks like comprehensive) discussion of the violations in this article from August 2016. (But I can’t vouch for it, other than it appears to be well-cited). Continued violations were reported in February 2017.

So, I don’t know if Trump is right, but the Obama administration appeared to believe that Russia had been violating the treaty for years.

It was probably Putin’s idea.

It certainly benefits Russia more than it does the US, particularly given how unlikely it is that the US will find any NATO ally wiling to host nuclear armed intermediate range missiles in Western or Central Europe. The treaty is mostly trapping at this point because the Russia has certainly been developing systems that would violate it, while the US has removed from service and all but eliminated nuclear armed cruise missiles and intermediate range ballistic missiles; however, the symbolic agreement to avoid proliferation was at least worth maintaining the moral high ground while still having effective response capability with the Minuteman III ICBM and Trident II D-5 SLBM fleets. Russia is even less capable now than it was in the late Soviet period of a large scale conventional invasion of Central and Western Europe (it has neither the fuel reserves or materiel to support the logistics of such an effort), and the notion of Russia holding Europe hostage over a nuclear threat is concerning but what Putin wants most is for Russia to look strong to boots his domestic standing. Russia would be the clear loser (although there is no winner) in a nuclear conflict in Europe, and the INF treaty was always about giving the United States a face-saving exit to Europe as opposition in West Germany and Great Britain made it untenable to continue to emplace nuclear weapons there.

Putin: 1
Trump/Bolton: 0


In addition, it removed one class of weapons where the USSR had an advantage in 1987, land-based short and medium range Ballistic and Cruise missiles while preserving air and sea-launched versions of the same, where the US had an advantage, while also not dealing with the fighter based nuclear weapons, another area the US had a major advantage in technology and geography (Tactical A/C in W Europe and Turkey can threaten strategic targets something not replicated by the USSR).
The changes in the last 30 years, and retirement and cancellations have meant that the US advantage in all but fighters has evaporated and if anything, the US now lags behind.

How much of a role has China played in this? In 1987 there was no real Chinese threat to the US (there was to the USSR, which is why the exceptions.were given to them there). Nowadays, the US faces thousands of Chinese theatre weapons and has none of its own. I suspect the US has been thinking of this more than returning weapons to Europe.
On the other hand, what’s to stop the Russians in a post INF withdrawal world, to start deploying modern day versions of the SS-20 in the Far East, threatening Alaska and the US West Coast… while preserving longer range weapons for other targets?

Yes, I believe China does play a role. The US might be more interested in deploying weapons in Asia than in Europe.

It would be nice if the treaty could be amended to include China, but that’s probably a pipedream.

China won’t move without India giving up its Medium and Intermediate missiles, while India won’t do, unless Pakistan does so, which won’t happen, without massive cuts in the Indian conventional military which would never happen…

Another conspiracy theory angle: Trump’s version of threatening scorched earth.

“Oh yeah? Impeach me, and I’ll just start nuking shit.”

Let’s not forget that his biggest supporters are the “End Times” clan

And here we have the logical conclusion of Republican governance. Trump wants us to consider an claim that might actually have merit, and it’s impossible because he has already established that he has no credibility whatsoever.

True but like all arms treaties it’s the progressive chipping away of the threat that’s key. Something along the lines of
“Fine, existing missiles but no new development.”
“Ok retirement of existing stocks and replication of 50% the numbers”
“Ok reduction of current levels to 33%.”
“Elimination of weapons except in spots x, y & z”
“Fine elimination of the entire class of of weapons.”

That naturally requires a trustworthy senior partner, long term planning and patience so expect them 10 minutes after doomsday with the current US Admin.

It’s pretty obvious to anyone who can see the forest for the trees. Trump makes un-supported seemingly typical move followed the next day by Russia’s vow to match any military challenge. What better way to bolster the defense industry and even garner approval from fearful citizenry for another industrialist money grab.

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The Chinese have come out against the withdrawal.

Am…am I in agreement with beenjammin here? Wtf is going on?

I have the same puzzling questions!