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Russia ready to discuss inspections with U.S. on arms treaty: RIA

TU Curmudgeon

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From Reuters

Russia ready to discuss inspections with U.S. on arms treaty: RIA

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is ready to discuss mutual inspections with the United States in order to save the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, RIA news agency cited Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying on Friday.

Last week Washington said Russia must scrap its 9M729 nuclear-capable cruise missiles and launchers or modify the weapons’ range to return to compliance to the Cold War-era arms control treaty.

COMMENT:-

Since the US position is currently (essentially) "We get to do all of the inspections to verify your compliance with the treaty and you have to take our word for what we are doing without the right to conduct any inspections to verify it." while the Russian position is (essentially) "Neither one of us has to accept the unsupported word of the other with respect to compliance and both of us should have the right of inspection in order to verify what the other one is saying.", the question of who is getting whom to the bargaining table gets rather interesting.

It appears that Mr. Trump is being offered the choice of publicly picking between saying "In the interests of world peace and safety we are delighted to agree to mutual inspections to ensure open and honest compliance." or (in effect) "Screw you, we're **A*M*E*R*I*C*A** and we can do any damn thing we damn well feel like doing." - at least that's the way it's going to be sold to the public.
 

JANFU

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From Reuters

Russia ready to discuss inspections with U.S. on arms treaty: RIA

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia is ready to discuss mutual inspections with the United States in order to save the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty, RIA news agency cited Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying on Friday.

Last week Washington said Russia must scrap its 9M729 nuclear-capable cruise missiles and launchers or modify the weapons’ range to return to compliance to the Cold War-era arms control treaty.

COMMENT:-

Since the US position is currently (essentially) "We get to do all of the inspections to verify your compliance with the treaty and you have to take our word for what we are doing without the right to conduct any inspections to verify it." while the Russian position is (essentially) "Neither one of us has to accept the unsupported word of the other with respect to compliance and both of us should have the right of inspection in order to verify what the other one is saying.", the question of who is getting whom to the bargaining table gets rather interesting.

It appears that Mr. Trump is being offered the choice of publicly picking between saying "In the interests of world peace and safety we are delighted to agree to mutual inspections to ensure open and honest compliance." or (in effect) "Screw you, we're **A*M*E*R*I*C*A** and we can do any damn thing we damn well feel like doing." - at least that's the way it's going to be sold to the public.

The original treaty had inspections by both countries.

https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/INFtreaty
The intermediate-range missile ban originally applied only to U.S. and Soviet forces, but the treaty's membership expanded in 1991 to include successor states of the former Soviet Union. Today, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, which had inspectable facilities on their territories at the time of the Soviet Union’s dissolution, join Russia and the United States in the treaty's implementation. Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan also possessed INF Treaty-range facilities (SS-23 operating bases) but forgo treaty meetings with the consent of the other states-parties.
 

TU Curmudgeon

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The original treaty had inspections by both countries.

https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/INFtreaty

Quite right, and those inspections were for "designated sites". If a "non-compliant missile" were to be located other than at a "designated site" it would NOT be subjected to inspections.

Also noted is the consistent position of the Russians that, although the subject missiles might well "violate the spirit and intent of the INF", they do NOT violate the "letter of the INF". The only way that the "spirit and intent" of a treaty can be enforced is through negotiations to amend the "letter" of the treaty. Simply saying (in effect) "If you don't abide by the spirit and intent of the treaty, we will let you." just plain old doesn't have much negotiating clout.

The Russians are offering an opportunity to amend the INF so as to include the "suspect missiles" and are going to "sell" their position as In the interests of world peace and safety we are delighted to agree to mutual inspections to ensure open and honest compliance." which position Mr. Trump can either accept or reject. Of course, if Mr. Trump does reject that position then the US will withdraw from the INF, in which case the Russians will be completely at liberty to deploy the "suspect missiles" without any further claims by the US government that Russia is in violation of the INF treaty (since the treaty will, effectively, no longer include either Russia or the United States of America.

In short, Mr. Trump has (effectively) countered the Russian position with an American position of "If you do what we tell you not to do then you can do what we tell you not to do.". Since that leaves the US with the only viable options of [1] starting a nuclear war (to enforce the demands of the US government), or [2] not starting a nuclear war (and letting the Russians do whatever they please), and since the Russians can be reasonably sure that the US will NOT pick Option [1], Mr. Trump's position is (as the Russians are highly likely to interpret it) nothing but bluster.

This is NOT what is described in "The Art of the Deal" as "Smart Tactics".
 
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