US president Donald Trump, who, when standing for election, claimed to favour improving relations with Russia, has taken imperialist duplicity to a new level of blatancy, as shown by his unilateral announcement that the US is ending another bilateral peace agreement, the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF).
This he announced in October 2018 in Nevada following a rally, saying: “We’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and do weapons and we’re not allowed to. We’re the ones that have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honoured the agreement but Russia has not unfortunately honoured the agreement so we’re going to terminate the agreement, we’re going to pull out.”
The INF treaty banned ground-launched nuclear missiles with ranges from 500 to 5,500km. It was jointly signed by Ronald Reagan and then Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The treaty led to the scrapping of nearly 2,700 short- and medium-range missiles. As far as Europe was concerned, this ended a worrying face-off on European soil between the US’s Pershing and Cruise missiles on one side and the USSR’s SS-20 missiles on the other.
It is only natural, therefore, that Europe would rather see the treaty continue. Although the European Union (EU) has made the usual noises echoing President Trump and blaming Russia for the US’s decision, it is also asking the US to think again.
The real reason why Trump is so keen to tear up this treaty actually has relatively little to do with Russia and far more to do with China, which is not a party to the treaty, and therefore not bound by its constraints.
This didn’t matter in 1987, when China was not in the running to participate in a global arms race, but the situation now is completely transformed. For while US imperialism is ageing and decaying, China is on the rise – a rise that facilitates the ability of oppressed countries to throw off some of the shackles that force their submission to imperialist extraction of their wealth, to the detriment (and rage) of imperialist banks and multinationals.
This in turn is causing US imperialist decay to accelerate while stultifying its efforts to emerge from economic crisis. In that sense, China is indeed a threat to US interests – so long, that is, as the US is relying on the neocolonial superexploitation of most of the world for its survival and wellbeing.
This is why US imperialism is keen to stamp out China’s rise, and to force it to bend to its will – and of course the only means through which it can hope to achieve this is by wielding its military might.
China, however, is now capable of developing sophisticated weapons systems to counter US military threats, and indeed has done so, which is why US imperialism now wishes to tear down the restrictions placed on it by the INF in order to be able to keep ahead of China in the production of weapons of mass destruction.
Long-time US warmonger and nuclear treaty opponent John Bolton is certainly straining in the direction of aggressive confrontation with Russia and China and has been not only accusing Russia of breaking the treaty but has continued to accuse both countries of cyber-attacks.
In the case of Russia, Bolton still repeats the old chestnut that it meddled in the last presidential election, though of course, as his job depends on ‘the Donald’, he claims that the supposed interference had little effect on the outcome of the 2016 elections, and that in any event the president had nothing to do with it.
In relation to China, however, he has stated: “China’s cyber-attacks against the United States made Russia seem like the junior partner.” He did not offer to give any evidence for this unwarranted accusation, needless to say.
When we consider that the US government has already had to admit to spying on most of its citizens, of having tapped the phones and intercepted emails from its Nato and EU allies; and considering the number of elections around the world that it has meddled in and the regime-change uprisings that it has sponsored, it seems strange that these are the very things that it now dubs outrageous behaviour when, without a shred of evidence, it is accusing others of engaging in them.
US imperialism has found its armed forces to be below par in all its recent invasions and meddling within other countries. If its rulers dream (and they do dream) of overcoming both Russia and China militarily, they believe that they will need bigger and better short, mid and long-range nuclear weapons.
If not checked, it is clear that US imperialism could end human life on this planet. Chillingly, many of those in and around the US military/political leadership seem to think that this would be a better alternative to the US not playing the sole leading role on the planet.
Of course, imperialism can and must be stood up to. This has been done many times before and we must do it now. Russia and China are not bending the knee to the imperialists; Iran and the DPRK (north Korea) still stand proudly alongside Cuba. Venezuela will continue to resist as will the people of the Donbass.
Recent history has seen the US break the peace treaties that it signed up to with the Soviet Union. In 2001 the US, under then president George Bush Jr, withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty. The INF treaty has now gone the same way.
Another peace treaty, this time with post-Soviet Russia, is up for renewal shortly. The 2010 New Start agreement, which limited the number of deployed strategic warheads on either side to 1,550, and which was signed by the then presidents US and Russian Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev, is due to expire in 2021, and both Bolton and Tim Morrison, the top arms control adviser in the National Security Council (NSC), are already calling for it to go unsigned.
The attempt by US imperialism to impose its hegemony through advanced weaponry is doomed to failure from the start. In response to the US scrapping the INF treaty, Russian president Vladimir Putin announced that Russia had produced a new missile – the Zircon – which attacks unseen, and therefore undetected, at targets 8,000km away. It can be launched from submarines or ships and travels at a speed of 3km per second.
The bourgeois media are abuzz with this news, accusing Russia of being aggressive and threatening, and of starting a new cold war. These, by the way, are the very same media that were so muted in their reaction to the scrapping by the US of the INF, which forced Russia to devise the means to block the US’s efforts at intimidation and domination.
What the bourgeois media also ‘forget’ to report is that President Putin has continually emphasised that Russia is threatening no-one; that it has no desire to dominate other countries; and that its weapons, including the Zircon missile, are purely defensive, aimed only at safeguarding Russia’s independence and security.
The imperialists’ march towards the next world war in the hope of saving their dying system will not be wished away. We must defend those targeted by imperialism now! Only the overthrow of imperialism will put an end to its ceaseless lethal aggression and wars.
Only when humanity is finally able to replace capitalism with socialism on a world scale will war be consigned to the dustbin of history where it belongs.