Home

DOOMSDAY CLOCK HANDS RUNNING OUT OF MINUTES AS INF TREATY DITCHED

E-mail Print PDF
 22 OCT 2018

PEOPLE FOR NUCLEAR DISARMAMENT

www.pndnsw.org.au

HUMAN SURVIVAL PROJECT

https://www.facebook.com/Human-Survival-Project-388802504634024/?eid=ARD1q5xk94wMEqEVYqQ9ZicWEG6a8_6VHBl3o90zaR3gsaEANmkVYgtGVzmIf2OUB04w5A0adN3UuvNu
http://www.abolition2000.org/en/nuclear-risk-reduction/


DOOMSDAY CLOCK HANDS RUNNING OUT OF MINUTES AS INF TREATY DITCHED




Trump's plans to ditch the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, an iconic arms limitation treaty of the Reagan/Gorbachev era have drawn entirely predictable, and entirely correct, criticism and alarm. Headlines like 'reckless and stupid' are a common reaction. Rightly so.



The Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty was in large degree the product of intense alarm in the 1980s at the placement of Pershing intermediate range missiles in Germany, from whence they constituted a 'tripwire' for WW-III. Should they ever have been employed, Germany itself would have been incinerated several times over by the Soviet response, which would also have initiated the use of long-range missiles against the US, and thus the end of what we call 'civilization'.



It didn't happen. There were massive protests against the Pershing missiles and Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan met and signed the INF, taking an immediate threat of global thermonuclear war off the agenda.



In more recent times, Russia has been repeatedly accused by the US of 'brazenly' violating the INF treaty. Most recently the US ambassador to NATO seemed to threaten to 'take out' Russian systems thought to be non-INF compliant. She later clarified (after a tense 48 hours) that she did not mean a NATO pre-emptive strike which would of course have initiated WW-III.



However, the US has been distinctly coy about exactly what missile system actually does violate the INF, and exactly how. There has been vague talk about 'technical violations' by systems that have normal ranges greater than 5,500Km, but have been tested on elevated trajectories of less than that. This doesn't really constitute a violation of the INF, and if it arguably does then its a purely technical one and hardly 'brazen'. The US argues that a specific Russian cruise missile (9M729) has a range that is within the 'forbidden' zone of 500-5,500Km, but has never to my knowledge said what it thinks the range of the 9M729 system is. The case against Russia is hardly convincing. Both the US and Russia have at previous times made vague noises about leaving the INF Treaty.



The removal of the INF will:

--Make further extension of the New START treaty most unlikely. Up to this point this looked to be a possibility. This means there will no longer be any treaty limiting US and Russian nuclear arsenals. A ruinous ans hazardsous nuclear arms race will then have no legal barrier.

--Make legally (maybe not politically, let us hope) possible, the deployment of the same range category that was so strategically destabilizing in the 1980's, of missiles.



This would mean the tripwire for the apocalypse will have been re-instated. There is already talk about the US once more building intermediate range systems.



Germany, where the Pershing missiles were initially sited in the '80's is unlikely (unless they too have a bad attack of Trump-ism) – to say 'yes' to hosting them. However, Poland, Romania, and maybe even the Baltics, could do so. Intermediate range systems there will be even more destabilising than they were in Germany. And of course Russia will now really truly build its own intermediate range systems.



With Russian upgrades to Iskander tactical nuclear missile installations in Kaliningrad,

we are now set to boogie into the abyss.



John Hallam

UN Nuclear Weapons Campaigner

People for Nuclear Disarmament

Human Survival Project

Co-Convener, Abolition2000 Working Group on Nuclear Risk Reduction

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

61-411-854-612