Russian President Vladimir Putin predicts earth will be more dangerous and a much less predictable place than today!
In the backdrop of US’ unilateral withdrawal from ‘1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty’, earlier in August, Putin has now spoken about the imminent danger of a new unhindered arms race in an interview during his ongoing visit to Saudi Arabia. The move was a “mistake” on the US’ part, Putin stated.
“The New START [Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty] is actually the only agreement that we now have to prevent us from falling back into a full-scale arms race”. Putin said.
The new START agreement between the US and Russia, conceived in 1991, has been the cornerstone of international stability and arms control for nearly three decades. Its latest iteration is set to expire in 2021, and, so far, Washington has not responded to Moscow’s proposals on how to amend and extend the landmark treaty, Putin expressed his regret, adding that it looks like the US has not decided yet whether it wants to extend the treaty at all.
On withdrawal of US from the landmark arms-control INF treaty earlier in August, analysts believed that the United States now hopes it can better counter its geopolitical rival China by closing what experts characterize as a yawning “missile gap” (for 500 to 5500 km range) with Beijing since last two decades. With the withdrawal, America could now in theory deploy ground-based conventional intermediate-range missiles to Asia — in a similar way it stationed nuclear missiles across Western Europe to defend against Soviet nukes in the 1980s.
China has already voiced its opposition to the U.S. sending its missiles to Asia. “China will not stand idly by and be forced to take countermeasures should the U.S. deploy intermediate-range ground-based missiles to this part of the world,” said Fu Cong, director of the Foreign Ministry’s Arms Control Department. He also warned other nations, particularly Japan, South Korea and Australia, to “exercise prudence” and not allow the U.S. to deploy the weapons on their territory, delivering a veiled threat that doing so would “not serve the national security interests of these countries.”
Meanwhile US and its allies all along have blamed Russia squarely for Trump’s withdrawal from landmark arms control treaty. “The fact that we don’t have the INF Treaty anymore, the fact that the Russians over the years have deployed new missiles, which can reach European cities within minutes, which are hard to detect, are mobile and are nuclear capable, and therefore reduce the threshold of any potential use of nuclear weapons in an armed conflict — of course that’s a bad day for all of us who believe in arms control and stability in Europe,” Stoltenberg, the NATO Chief, said. However, Stoltenberg has emphasized that NATO will respond to the end of the INF Treaty as an alliance and would not be amenable to US missile deployments on its border.
The potential demise of the last major arms control agreement will certainly make the world “more dangerous,” and cause other, rather unpredictable consequences, the Russian president warned. If this treaty is not extended, the world will have no means of limiting the number of offensive weapons, and this is bad news. The situation will change, globally.