The Dangers of Nuclear War: Trump Regime Sabotaging New START Extension Talks with Russia?
By Stephen Lendman
Global Research, September 21, 2020

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Throughout his tenure, Trump showed he’s a deal-breaker, not maker — notably by unilaterally abandoning the landmark INF Treaty and JCPOA nuclear deal.

Extending New START is jeopardized. Expiring on February 5, 2021 if not renewed, the decade-ago agreement is the only remaining arms control treaty between Russia and the US.

Preserving it is essential to avoid a greater arms race than already ongoing.

Between them, Russia and the US have an estimated 94% of nuclear warheads.

Bush/Cheney’s December 2001 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), asserted America’s preemptive right to unilaterally declare and wage future wars using first strike nuclear weapons.

Obama’s 2010 and 2015 National Security Strategies pledged US first-strike use of these weapons against any adversary, nuclear armed or not.

Trump earlier said the US “must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability…”

As long as these weapons exist, they’ll likely be used again with devastating effects.

The only way to prevent eventual nuclear war is by eliminating these weapons entirely.

Trump’s National Security Strategy falsely called China and Russia “revisionist powers” that seek to “challenge American power, influence, and interests” — to be countered by escalated US militarism, including “new weapons systems” for winning wars quickly.

According to Trump’s NSS, enhancing the US nuclear arsenal is “essential to prevent nuclear attack, nonnuclear strategic attacks, and large scale conventional aggression.”

The above is code language for asserting the preemptive right to use nukes against invented enemies for the US to defend its “vital interests.”

US imperial aims pose an unprecedented threat to everyone everywhere.

Obama approved a $1 trillion program to upgrade America’s nuclear arsenal over the next 30 years.

Trump supports the same policy instead of stepping back from the risk of unthinkable nuclear war able to kill us all.

New START imposes limits on US and Russian nuclear warheads and bombs — as well as on deployed ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and nuclear-capable heavy bombers.

The agreement doesn’t limit non-deployed ICBMs and SLBMs, but monitors their numbers and locations.

On Monday, Russia’s’ UN envoy Vassily Nebenzia said the following:

“If New START is not extended, we will find effective ways to protect ourselves.”

“We are certainly interested in extending the treaty, as we see it as a key element of strategic stability.”

Nebenzia stressed the Kremlin’s belief that the US wants the entire system of arms control agreements dismantled so it’s free to enhance its military capabilities unconstrained by bilateral or multilateral deals.

Calling its rage for militarism a “global problem…more and more evidence (reveals) its desire to secure full discretion for power projection and use of force.”

Trump regime envoy for arms control Marshall Billingslea said New START won’t be extended by the US unless Russia agrees to its demands.

Earlier, Russia’s upper house Federation Council International Committee chairman Konstantin Koshchev called Washington’s position on extending New START “alarming (by its) categoricalness.”

Its position is “either as we say or nothing,” a way to prevent New START’s extension, not the other way around.

The last remaining bilateral arms control treaty may end in February.

The Trump regime wants no limits on deployment of US-NATO weapons in Europe, including intermediate and short-range nuclear capable ballistic missiles.

Its one-sided demand is either accept this threat to its security or the US will be free to modernize and expand its nuclear arsenal without constraints.

Instead of extending New START  in its current form with no preconditions as Putin proposed, Billingslea offered only a nonbinding Trump regime memorandum of intent.

He also wants China made part of agreed on terms. Russia has no objection if Beijing approves the idea it rejected so far.

In July, its Department of Arms Control director general Fu Kong said the following:

“(I)t is unrealistic to expect China to join the two countries in a negotiation aimed at nuclear arms reduction” — given the difference in sizes of their nuclear arsenals.

Beijing reportedly has around 300 nukes compared to around 6,000  warheads by both Russia and the US, according to the Arms Control Association.

Moscow also called for Britain and France to be involved in current talks, what Billingslea rejected.

He also opposes Russia’s call for the US to reduce its nuclear arsenal in Europe.

He warned that if Moscow doesn’t yield to US demands, “after Trump is reelected, the ‘entrance fee’…will increase,” adding:

If a deal isn’t reached by February, the US will abandon New START entirely, where things appear to be heading.

So far, there’s been no official Kremlin response to Billingslea’s demands.

Russian upper house Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee member Oleg Morozov called them “outrageous,” adding:

“It’s like saying: ‘Give me your gun and the gun of your neighbor or I’ll shoot you in the head.’ ”

According to the Arms Control Association, the Trump regime “oppose(s) an unconditional” extension of New START proposed by Russia.

An “impasse” between both countries on this vital to world security issue “cast(s) an ominous shadow over the future of the last remaining arms control agreement” between both countries.

Billingslea falsely called New START “deeply flawed” — how Trump regime officials describe all landmark deals they want abandoned.

Both sides remain far apart on key issues. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov involved in talks with Billingslea said “any additions” to New START “would be impossible both for political and procedural reasons,” adding:

Moscow will not support an “extension at any cost.”

“If the US embellishes its possible…decision in favor of extension with all sorts of preconditions and burdens, this work with all possible additional requirements, then I think the problem of extending the treaty won’t be that easy to resolve.”

With US elections approaching, New START expiring in February, and both sides miles apart on extending it, maintaining the landmark deal is jeopardized.


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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

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