Socialist Worker

Trump goes nuclear with treaty meltdown

by Charlie Kimber
Issue No. 2640

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signing the INF treaty

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signing the INF treaty (Pic: Wikipedia)


US president Donald Trump has made another terrifying move that increases the threat of nuclear war. The Tories are helping him.

Trump has announced the US will no longer be bound by the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty that was signed over 30 years ago.

He has already pulled out of a nuclear deal with Iran.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament said, “This is a very dangerous moment for the whole world.

“A new nuclear arms race is emerging and the threat of nuclear war grows by the day.

“The movement must be ready to rise up to oppose the return of US nuclear missiles on British soil if the treaty is scrapped at the end of the six-month withdrawal period.”

Under the INF the US and Russia agreed not to deploy land-based missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometres.

US secretary of state Mike Pompeo confirmed the US was suspending the treaty on Friday.

The next day in response Russian president Vladimir Putin announced that Russia was also suspending it.

The Financial Times newspaper commented, “While the US has blamed Russian violations for its withdrawal from the INF treaty, many analysts have said that the agreement constrains its ability to counter the military rise of China.”

In the New York Times David Sanger wrote, “Constrained by the treaty’s provisions, the United States has been prevented from deploying new weapons to counter China’s efforts to cement a dominant position in the Western Pacific and keep American aircraft carriers at bay.”

Imperialist rivalries, centred on the US and Russia three decades ago, have now shifted to involve China centrally.

Deploy

That means the US wants to tear up the old treaty to allow it to develop and then deploy new missiles ––including nuclear weapons in the longer run.

China has refused to join the INF treaty but has criticised the US plan to leave the pact.

Russian officials said they feared the US would now seek to abandon other arms control deals and could deploy cruise missiles in eastern Europe aimed at Moscow.

In October Putin warned European countries complicit in US missile positions “they will be subjecting their own territory to the threat of a possible retaliatory strike”.

It’s not just the White House that wants to clear the path to more missiles. Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s secretary-general, said thealliance agreed Russia was “in material breach” and would“bear sole responsibility” for the treaty’s demise.

British defence secretary Gavin Williamson has said that Russia is “making a mockery” of the treaty. Such comments encourage Trump’s fanatical militarism.

Federica Mogherini, EU foreign policy chief, said Europe wanted to avoid “going back to being a battlefield” for superpower confrontations and called for “full compliance” by Russia and the US.

But arms deals will never constrain global powers that are already armed with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world many times over.

The chilling readiness of the US and its nuclear rivals to ratchet up the drive to war has to be met by renewed determination to eliminate nuclear weapons and the system that produces nuclear weapons.

Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party could take an important step forward if they reversed their 2017 manifesto policy and pledged to get rid of Trident nuclear missiles.


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