I do follow Daniel Larison's writing periodically and just yesterday he posted a note about ABM Treaty, or rather its abrogation by the United States. In it he notes, correctly:
The Folly of Leaving the ABM Treaty, 20 Years Later.Withdrawing from the ABM Treaty was an early Bush blunder, but it is one whose costs we continue to pay even now.
In his piece he refers to Mr. James Acton of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (LOL))) who also laments, not unreasonably, this blunder with ABM Treaty. Acton writes:
It’s clear now that withdrawing was an epic mistake. The United States’ homeland missile defenses are porous; why else would Washington worry that North Korea is deploying intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs)? Yet those defenses have succeeded in fueling arms races with Russia, whose hostility toward the United States is alive and well, and now with China too. This experience should prompt Washington to try to negotiate new limits on missile defenses, and it provides a cautionary tale about the very real costs of withdrawing from international agreements. Bush’s central contention was that the treaty “prevents us from developing effective defenses.” He was wrong on two counts. First, the treaty wasn’t the problem. Physics was. And engineering. And program management. And budgets.
Obviously it is true but another (third) count Acton misses (not surprisingly for a person working for Carnegie Endowment) is the fact that neither Bush and his infested with neocons administration nor other administrations which followed had any clue what they were dealing with. Namely, Russia. Remarkably Larison IS on record about the utter ignorance of the US establishment, both political and what passes in the US for intellectual, on the account of the world outside. But if there is a country which represents a complete caricature in the American elitist mind it is Russia. The other count on which US establishment is ignorant is a real war (I doubt Mr. Acton understands it either) and, more generally, the nature of the conflict on the global scale. It is a cultural issue and most even smart people such as Mr. Acton do have serious difficulties penetrating the depth of it.
Surely, Acton's background of a physicist makes him somewhat more predisposed to a rational thinking but here too we immediately are reminded that cultural ignorance doesn't spare even Ph.Ds in Theoretical Physics from Cambridge. Acton does admit that what Russia does technologically pretty much nullifies US efforts in ABM defenses but that is far as it goes. For starters, Acton lies, even if he doesn't understand it (which is even more damaging) and I return back to the first quote from him, read attentively:
Yet those defenses have succeeded in fueling arms races with Russia, whose hostility toward the United States is alive and well.
Judging by the looks of Acton and, especially, the start of his activity as a scientist which falls on the second half of the first decade of 2000s, it is reasonable to assume that he met the collapse of the Soviet Union and immediate consequences of this collapse in 1990s being of a fairly tender age and having zero life experiences and self-awareness to assess times when Russia not only was NOT hostile to the US, but with the incredible energy tuned herself into a door mat for the United States up to the point of self-humiliation. Russians loved and admired the United States and then Yugoslavia happened. He doesn't remember that, I do. So, he lies following a classic BS taught in Anglo-world as a "history", hence his other quote from him.
The tens of billions of dollars that the United States has poured into homeland missile defense since 2001 have proved ineffective, and they have fueled arms races with China and Russia that have undermined U.S. security. President Joe Biden’s administration has sensibly identified arms control as a way to manage these growing dangers. A willingness to negotiate new limits on homeland missile defenses—in return for significant concessions from China and Russia—should be part of its approach.
Acton does not recognize (he can't) that starting from late 1980s USSR (and then Russia) was surrendering one after another, in an act of unprecedented historically generosity, bordering on folly, her strategic advantages. Not that the United States didn't benefit from those--the list is very long. And Russia learned her lesson. Mr. Acton, evidently, not, if he ever knew what that lesson was. I am sure he was never taught that in Cambridge--for that you need to attend a serious higher military educational facility. That is why what is highlighted in yellow is preposterous and could be only the product of a person with a white board life experiences and zero foreign policy, military and geopolitical acumen.
LESSON IN REALISM FOR JAMES ACTON:
No normal nation, especially Russia after her experiences with what Pat Buchanan described as:
The Russian people, having extended a hand in friendship and seen it slapped away, cheered the ouster of the accommodating Boris Yeltsin and the arrival of an autocratic strong man who would make Russia respected again. We ourselves prepared the path for Vladimir Putin.
Would trade any of her growing military-technological advantage over the United States, especially when the United Sates has zero on offer. Not because the US is holding back, but because there is nothing of value, bar general geopolitical favors, to offer in exchange. Because you don't exchange 3M22 Zircon for F-35, you do not trade S-550 or A-235 Nudol for THAAD or AEGIS ashore. Would Acton trade his 2020 Ferrari Pista Coupe (Russians, and other Slavs here, you keep your mouths shut;)) for Chevrolet Citation without cash? Would he trade his Ph.D in Theoretical Physics from Cambridge for AA in creative writing from local community college? The answer seems obvious. Geopolitics is not a charity. But Acton's arrogance and ignorance of the modern history of the last 40 years shows. What can possibly the United States offer to Russia and her people, who observe the American collapse in real time and whose only concern is not to allow the United States and its lap dogs unleash the war in a desperate attempt to hold on to elusive power for a little bit longer.
Russia's is not trading her military edge, she is using it to keep the combined West within limits until it either sorts itself out or collapses into oblivion but without taking the rest of the humanity with it. But to understand that, one has to know Russia and her history, especially starting from 1812. It is now too late to cry about the fate of ABM Treaty, what is done--is done. Time to face consequences--a concept modern Western elites will learn soon. In fact, the process has already started. Ah yes, I warned 8 years ago that the time to negotiate is now until it is too late and the time of the ultimatums, not concessions, comes. Well, Mr. Acton, that time has arrived and it is not the West which issues them. Because any treaty with the West and its leader, the United States, is not worth the paper it is written on.
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