Monday, December 10, 2018

INF Treaty Again.

Daniel Larison continues to exhibit complete unawareness of the Russia's reality (a feature characteristic of US "scholars", read latest piece by "scholar" Gvosdev as an example) and in his calls to preserve the INF Treaty "despite Russia's violations" he characterizes this treaty this way:
The INF Treaty is very much worth saving, and quitting it over a Russian violation is as short-sighted and self-defeating as can be. If the U.S. withdraws, there will be no chance of negotiating a replacement. Not only will the U.S. be held as the one most responsible for killing the treaty, but by ending it the Trump administration will be opening the door to an arms race that no one should want. The treaty is one of the most advantageous agreements to the U.S. that our government has ever negotiated, so it is extremely difficult to see how leaving the treaty benefits the U.S. Quitting the INF Treaty unfortunately fits the administration’s pattern of reneging on and abandoning agreements without giving any thought to the consequences of withdrawal. It makes no sense to give up on a treaty that has proven its worth to the U.S. and our European allies for more than thirty years.
This Treaty is more than just one of the most advantageous for the US it is one of the most one-sided and humiliating treaties for USSR since very little negotiating, in a traditional you give some--you get some back sense, was really done. Gorbachev and his cabal of do-gooders made sure that Soviet military, especially professionals in air and anti-missile defense, were excluded from the decision making process on this issue and, effectively, the INF Treaty was a surrender, one of many that will follow, by Gorbachev. There is a reason why State Duma's Defense Committee Chair General Vladimir Shamanov (former C'n'C of Paratroops) called last week on establishing commission on what he (correctly) stated was a state treason (in Russian) by still living Gorbachev and late Alexandr Yakovlev and Eduard Shevardnadze.

Shamanov is correct in demanding such a commission--it is not just to convict Gorbachev, however deserved by him, of treason--but to make sure that such a political assessment will help to prevent future attempts to sell the national interests out so blatantly. So, Larison, while calling on Trump to preserve INF Treaty misses one important fact. It is not, as Larison points out, just Bolton and his nefarious plans:
The bigger problem is that the administration’s determination to leave the treaty is driven more by Bolton’s ideological hostility to all arms control agreements than it is by any concern about any violations. The administration is seizing on Russian violations to withdraw from this treaty, but it also has no desire to keep New START alive, either. Letting New START die would be even more dangerous, but the administration isn’t interested in extending a treaty that Russia has complied with for almost eight years.
It is the fact which neither Larison, nor Gvosdev, nor any other US "scholar" can wrap their brains around--Russia does not view US as a viable negotiating partner, nor lives in a delusion about American economy, its actual size and trends anymore. Russia sees the US for what she is and was getting ready for geopolitical volatility since mid-2000s. But then again, those people in Russia are counting their blessings that they didn't study in US Ivy League on how to make economic, military and geopolitical forecasts and because of that deal with reality much more professionally than most American so called "scholars" of international relations. At least Gvosdev is now using a somewhat slightly more sober assessments:
I have also some free piece of knowledge to share with Gvosdev--the United States policy (and "academic") establishment has zero experience and understanding of the nature of military power and its applications and the way it is a function of the national power. It is here where, with some minor exceptions, that any rational conversation with American "academe" becomes useless--it simply does not operate within appropriate framework. Russia knows that US is "departing", that its GDP is not vaunted $22 trillion but much-much smaller, that most of US economic growth is a creative bookkeeping (aka fraud) and, finally, Russia knows with a great degree of accuracy the actual scale of American military power. If only US academe learned about it, who knows--much energy could have been saved by not writing contrived foreign policy and military articles. Or as OffGuardian people succinctly observed in their review of John Mearsheimer's latest book, a systemic, chronic ill of overwhelming majority of American foreign policy "scholarship" is that:
I don't think Larison or Gvosdev would like to learn the actual value but without it any rationalizing or reasoning around US-Russian relations becomes a mere sophistry and repetition of the long debunked cliches. The problem is not Russia, which is quite content with herself and is ready to work with almost anybody, but, indeed, American crusading exceptionalist spirit which went completely out of control and threatens to finish off both the US herself and the world around her.       

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