Donald Trump just announced that he will pull out of the INF treaty.
Let me explain in very simple and clear terms what this means. Intermediary-range rockets with nuclear payloads are those that America installs in Eastern Europe close to the Russian borders so that they could arrive to Moscow so quickly, the Russians don’t get enough time to analyse the situation and provide an adequate response. All the supposedly “anti-Iran” rocket “defenses” installed in Romania and Poland are going to be armed with those intermediary-range nuclear rockets.
The last time that was done, when Pershing II was installed in Western Germany, the Soviet Union threatened immediate nuclear retaliation if they are put into service, and the crisis got so bad, that after several close calls with Russian defences on a hairline trigger, Reagan decided to end the cold war and be friends with Russia.
The political situation right now is much, much worse than it was in 1983-1987. In order to counter this, the Russians would have to have all their nuclear forces either on a hairline trigger, or on a dead man’s hand trigger.
Those weapons are inherently asymmetrical, biased heavily against Russia, and are a first-strike only weapon. They have no defensive purpose whatsoever. What biases them against Russia is the fact that America can put them in Europe, and Russia can’t put them in Latin America, and geography determines the flight times. This means that America doesn’t have to put the missiles on a ballistic trajectory; they can use a stealthy small cruise missile that only has to fly from Poland or Lithuania or Romania to Moscow, not across the ocean. This means they can perform a surprise nuclear attack to kill the Russian leadership and their urban population, which of course will make the Russians extremely paranoid and trigger-happy, like it did in the 1980s, when it was last implemented. Only this time the Russians will no longer trust the West because the last time they did that, they suffered grave consequences.
My opinion is that this completely validates Putin’s objection to the supposedly anti-rocket installations on the Russian borders; if you recall, he warned that those installations can be modified with trivial ease to carry the intermediary-ranged nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. Trump pulling out of INF means that Pentagon decided to do exactly this, and those installations will probably be armed the second Trump signs the document. Putin is in a precarious situation now. He now has a huge nuclear advantage. His military knows this. He’s in a “use or lose” situation, because if he allows those installations to go online, he puts Russia in an incredibly vulnerable position, to the point where his own military might not allow this. And this is not news to Putin. Years ago he warned the West that this will inevitably happen. His countermeasures must have been so timed as to coincide with American actions.
So, you tell me what this means.