11
   

So we are back to the Cold War again?

 
 
Reply Mon 22 Oct, 2018 12:17 pm
Since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis at the latest, many have been wondering whether we are back in the Cold War.

The reason for the current fears is Trump's announcement to terminate the INF treaty banning short- and medium-range land-based missiles with a range of 500 to 5500 kilometres. The agreement signed on 8 December 1987 set the course for a more than 30-year phase of nuclear disarmament in which nuclear weapons worldwide were reduced from 70,000 to 15,000.

At the NATO summit in July, the US and the other Allies had agreed to hold talks with Russia. In the final declaration it was stated that the allies fully support the preservation of this groundbreaking arms control treaty. And they will continue their efforts to start a dialogue on this issue with Russia in bilateral and multilateral formats. (More at the NATO-press release: BRUSSELS SUMMIT DECLARATION.)

Living 150 km away from the border to the GDR, 15 km to the nearest depot with nuclear missiles (about a dozen more within a radius of 80 km), I actually was an active part of the "old" Cold War myself, as a conscript and reserve officer in the German navy.

Growing up with an almost daily threat, those months/years in uniform were ... well, an adventure.

I don't want to experience this again.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 11 • Views: 8,847 • Replies: 254

 
engineer
 
  4  
Reply Mon 22 Oct, 2018 12:47 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
It certainly looks like it. This seems to have come out of nowhere and the timing is certainly weird. There has been no "clandestine" testing recently that I've seen from any of the big powers. I can't see any triggering event. My best guess is that Bolton dislikes arms control agreements in general so he's been bending the President's ear and with him traveling to Russia, this was a good time, but that's just a terrible reason to cancel this treaty. A far distant second is that Trump and Putin want to pull China in and this is a ploy with Russia to start new negotiations. A super far distant third is that Russia wanted out and goaded Trump into taking the bad guy roll. Still, it took fifteen years to negotiate the agreement, it should take more than a tweet to end it.
Walter Hinteler
 
  3  
Reply Mon 22 Oct, 2018 01:13 pm
@engineer,
engineer wrote:
A far distant second is that Trump and Putin want to pull China in and this is a ploy with Russia to start new negotiations.


Prepare for a 'new Cold War' without INF, Russia analyst says
Quote:
US President Trump did Russian President Putin a favor by leaving a treaty limiting some nuclear weapons, a Russia analyst tells DW. The world may need to prepare for a new Cold War.
[...]
Putin publicly spoke about that in October 2007, saying Russia will leave the treaty if America will not help make it international because Russia and America do not have these missiles — but China does. Now the same pretext is being used by the Americans with China.

Ninety percent of China's missiles fall in the INF bracket, so if they join the treaty they will have to destroy 90 percent of their missiles, which they have refused to do and will refuse to do. So that's not an option.
[...]
(Full report at link above.)
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Oct, 2018 01:34 pm
<following>
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Mon 22 Oct, 2018 01:39 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
And the NYT writes: Trump May Revive the Cold War, but China Could Change the Dynamics
Quote:
Over the past few days the shape of what many in Europe and the United States call a new Cold War has begun to emerge — with threats and nuclear weapons that resemble the old one, punctuated by new dynamics, in part because of the rise of a rich, expanding and nationalist China.
[...]
Past attempts to embarrass President Vladimir V. Putin into changing his behavior, in both the nuclear and cyberconflict arenas, have failed. During the Obama administration, the exposure of Russia’s violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2014 did nothing to alter Moscow’s arms buildup. Nor did the decision to name Mr. Putin as the man behind the 2016 attack on the Democratic National Committee and the widespread use of social media to widen fissures in American politics. There is little evidence that the indictment of the Internet Research Agency and members of Mr. Putin’s military intelligence have deterred the Russians.

But in both cases China is also lurking in the background, a powerful force in a way it never was in the first Cold War, which began just as Mao declared the creation of the People’s Republic. And while China appears to be the reason for Mr. Trump’s decision to pull out of the missile treaty with Russia, it is causing new anxieties in a Europe already mistrustful of Mr. Trump’s “America First” foreign and trade policies.

Mr. Trump argued correctly that the arms treaty, signed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail S. Gorbachev, left China free to build up its own nuclear and conventional missiles of all ranges. (China was never part of the negotiations, and never a signatory to the treaty.) And perhaps as part of his effort to deflect discussion of whether Russia succeeded in manipulating the 2016 election, Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have accused China of meddling, too — seeking to shape American public opinion more through investment, trade and theft of intellectual property than covert cybermanipulation.

The Trump Administration identifies both Russia and China as “revisionist powers” and “strategic competitors” of the United States. But when it comes to countering their nuclear advances and their increasingly innovative use of cyberconflict to outmaneuver their adversaries, Mr. Trump’s long-term strategy remains a mystery — beyond promises to match every military buildup, and strike back hard.

Whether it was real or a negotiating ploy, Mr. Trump’s declaration on Saturday that he was ready, if necessary, to plunge the world back into a 1950’s-style arms race is bound to cause yet another rift between Washington and its European allies — exactly the kind of fracture inside NATO that Mr. Putin has tried to create.
[...]
The Europeans do not deny that Russia has violated the I.N.F. treaty, which Kevin Ryan, an expert on Russian arms at the Belfer Center at Harvard, noted recently was “negotiated at a time that was equally, if not more, contentious.” At the time, hundreds of thousands of Europeans demonstrated against the deployment of American Pershing II intermediate-range missiles on their soil as a counterbalance to Soviet SS-20s. That deployment led to the I.N.F. treaty Mr. Trump now wants to dump.

Most European leaders — especially the Germans — believe other weapons systems deter the Russians, including air- and ground-launched missiles. For them, Mr. Trump’s decision to abandon one of the few remaining treaties controlling nuclear weapons fits a narrative of “America First” at the expense of existing, long-term alliances, like NATO — and is the latest in a series of abandoned agreements, from the Paris accord on climate to the Iranian nuclear deal.

In this case, they see few advantages from leaving the treaty. Carl Bildt, a former Swedish prime minister, called the move “a gift to Russia that exposes Europe to a growing nuclear threat,” because as the United States enters an arms race, “Russia can quickly deploy new weapons in numbers.”

The German foreign minister, Heiko Maas, called the decision regrettable, noting that it “poses difficult questions for us and for Europe” since it is the Europeans who are in range of the Russian missiles, not the United States.

Mr. Gorbachev, unsurprisingly, decried the Trump decision as reckless, asking: “Do they really not understand in Washington what this can lead to?”

Moreover, the Europeans believe Mr. Trump’s strategy — praising Mr. Putin when the two appear together as they did in Helsinki, then letting his aides step up pressure — is, if anything, emboldening the Russian leader. They were stunned to see Russia send a hit squad to Britain to try to kill a former Russian intelligence officer, Sergei V. Skripal, despite having exchanged him in a spy-swap years before. And Russia continues to freely meddle in European politics, most recently trying to block the accession of Macedonia to both NATO and the European Union.

But the European reaction has been disorganized. While NATO countries have put more troops in Baltic nations and Poland, and is preparing a huge military exercise in the North Atlantic, there is no agreed-on strategy over what red lines should be set to respond to Russian activity. Nowhere is that clearer than in the realm of cyberwarfare, where Europeans are spending more money on collective defense, but NATO has no offensive capability and no agreement about what kind of interference by the Russians calls for a response.

For his part, Mr. Putin has calibrated his actions with care. He denies that the Russian deployment of what the West calls an SSC-8 missile violates the treaty. And he has accused the United States — long before Mr. Trump was elected — of violating the treaty itself, arguing that antimissile batteries it has placed in Europe could be used to fire other missiles that violate the ban on weapons that can reach 300 to 3,500 miles.

If the breach with Russia opens, it will most likely rekindle the Europeans’ fear that their territory would be the battlefield for the superpowers.

“I am deeply worried,” Wolfgang Ischinger, the former German ambassador to the United States, said on Sunday. He urged Washington instead to try to expand the treaty, by bringing in China. “No way European allies like Germany could live through another I.N.F.” deployment, he wrote on Twitter, “a la 1980s: that road is closed.”

... ... ...
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Mon 22 Oct, 2018 01:44 pm
I never knew you were so bellicose, Walter. (Just kidding)

I am bemused. The President cannot "leave" a treaty. Only the Senate can ratify or rescind a treaty, and that requires a two-thirds vote, which the Republicans do not command.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Mon 22 Oct, 2018 01:54 pm
From Wikipedia:

Quote:
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty, formally Treaty Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of Their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles) is a 1987 arms control agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union (and later its successor state, in particular the Russian Federation). Signed in Washington, D.C. by President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev on 8 December 1987, the treaty was ratified by the United States Senate on 27 May 1988 and came into force on 1 June 1988.


So, it was ratified by the Senate. As is so often the case, as with his campaign trail promise to withdraw from NATO (the North Atlantic Treaty Organization), this is just Plump's typical bluster. It does lead one to wonder what he is up to, although this could just be his habitual stupidity when it comes to his constitutional powers.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  -3  
Reply Mon 22 Oct, 2018 02:24 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Yes, but not with Russia...with China.

If the Soviet Union couldn't compete with us in an arms race, Russia surely can't.

Russia is in the same category as Iran and North Korea. They can cause us a whole lot of trouble but not on an existential level. China can. Their nuclear strategy is the same as the others' - extortion on a limited basis.

All this politically motivated Russia paranoia is diverting attention from the reality that China, and only China, is a real threat to the US and the West.

Quote:
I don't want to experience this again.


Then do something other than demanding American presidents to save your bacon.

Germany's economy is #4 in the world. Russia's is #11; behind Italy, Brazil and Canada.

Take some of your money and invest in defense against the Russian Bear. If you bring in your fellow Western European freeloaders you could crush them.

Stop looking to the US to save your asses. It won't be soon, but eventually, America will decline to a point where it can't do so and then you will all roll over to the barbarians at the gates.

glitterbag
 
  4  
Reply Mon 22 Oct, 2018 09:22 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
"free loaders"? You drank the kool-aid didn't you??
Blickers
 
  4  
Reply Mon 22 Oct, 2018 10:33 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Quote Finn:
Quote:
Germany's economy is #4 in the world. Russia's is #11; behind Italy, Brazil and Canada.

Take some of your money and invest in defense against the Russian Bear.
Which one of Putin's minions sent you that message to post?

NATO was formed after WWII to prevent Russia from taking over Western Europe like it just had taken over Eastern Europe. It did its job so well that not only did Russia never conquer Western Europe, eventually Russia weakened enough that it had to let the captive Eastern Europeans go. In short, NATO is a success story. The only people who want to monkey with it are people that want NATO and Western Europe to be more vulnerable to Russian force. These people are generally known as "Russians", although they clearly have a Fifth Column of internet dupes, dunderheads and dittoheads working for them in the west.

Why break up the defense of the West against totalitarianism into separate pieces when it has been so superbly successful working together? It doesn't make sense, unless you want the Western defense to devolve into something weaker than it has been, so that Russia can roll the tanks across the border into Eastern Europe with reduced risk.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  4  
Reply Mon 22 Oct, 2018 11:06 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Surely we should increase our defence budget a little and modernise the armed forces.

But I don't think we can be on a military par with Russia or the US (or China). And above all, want to get there.

Which was probably one of the reasons why we became a NATO member. And we were allowed to become one.

Since 1945 there wasn't a war in the region I live in - besides said Cold War, compared to more than a dozens in the centuries before.
I like peaceful coexistence better than potential conflicts through armament.
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2018 06:17 am
@glitterbag,
Sounds like he snorted it.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  3  
Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2018 06:20 am
@Walter Hinteler,
What worries me is that this is a kneejerk reaction to reports of Trump's supine relationship with Putin. He can't act like a normal president, everything is in extremis.

I think he's trying to prove he's not in Putin's pocket but the only thing he's proving is that he's not up to the job.
Region Philbis
 
  6  
Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2018 06:24 am
@izzythepush,
Quote:
the only thing he's proving is that he's not up to the job.
most of us already knew that on 11/8/16... the intelligent ones did, anyway...
izzythepush
 
  3  
Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2018 06:41 am
@Region Philbis,
Earlier than that, he's no Alan Sugar that's for sure.
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  4  
Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2018 07:02 am
@Walter Hinteler,
The exit from the the treaty would give the Russians a quasi free ride to position their missiles where they wanted - because the INF Treaty would no longer control them.

The USA, on the other hand, as far as I know, does not currently have comparable missiles with a similar range. Even if they did, they would also have to station them in Europe, where the willingness to do so is low in many countries.

And: the USA is now again regarded worldwide as those who are responsible for the end of an important agreement without ever having provided concrete proof of violations.
Walter Hinteler
 
  4  
Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2018 07:37 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Regarding a probably new US-Sino arms race, DW has collected some opinions:
INF Treaty: Would US dropout begin an arms race with China?
Quote:
The strategic rivalry between the US and China in the Asia Pacific could heat up if both sides develop new nuclear weapons. Chinese media are already calling for Beijing to expand its nuclear deterrence capability.
... ... ...

glitterbag
 
  4  
Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2018 07:49 am
@Walter Hinteler,
China will funnel money into weapons systems and their people may suffer shortages and hardships , China will forge ahead anyway...... the US will find it hard to get the best and brightest because so many people are drowning in student debt, many are too discouraged to even enroll.
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  0  
Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2018 11:57 am
@glitterbag,
What do you call them?
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  0  
Reply Tue 23 Oct, 2018 12:15 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:

Surely we should increase our defence budget a little and modernise the armed forces.

But I don't think we can be on a military par with Russia or the US (or China). And above all, want to get there.

Which was probably one of the reasons why we became a NATO member. And we were allowed to become one.

Since 1945 there wasn't a war in the region I live in - besides said Cold War, compared to more than a dozens in the centuries before.
I like peaceful coexistence better than potential conflicts through armament.


I don't think you can ever be on par with China or the US, but you could be with Russia. Of course, to do so you would need to divert spending on things your voters really like.

Thus far you haven't had to cross that threshold because the US is willing to provide for your defense.

Historically, since WWII, US leadership has not trusted Germany's militaristic instincts and so determined it was better to pay for its defense than allow Prussian Generals to hold sway. Germany has enjoyed this perverse arrangement: "You better pay for our defense, because if you don't, you know what might happen." Meanwhile, you developed the #4 economy in the world. Good for you. Your leadership has done a great job.

The problem is that you've also done a good job reshaping the American image of Germany. You're not the bogeyman you once were. Very few people here blame your country for destroying the long-lasting European way of life (WWI), and then trying to destroy the world (WWII).

As a result, Trump can talk about your nation as a freeloader without anyone raising the specter of a resurgent Reich

I don't blame you for not wanting to return to a Cold War with Russia, but at some point, you and other Germans need to forge a defense that doesn't entirely depend on a foreign country. You really can't trust the US to remain in a political paradigm that is almost 100 years old.
 

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