Trump wants to meet with Putin in Paris

Geraldine Edwards
October 24, 2018

These include China's 2016 DF-26 intermediate-range ballistic missile, which has a maximum range of 2,500 miles and which the Pentagon says can threaten USA land and sea-based forces.

Welcome to the high church of arms control in which treaties are sacrosanct no matter the violation.

He said there was no evidence that the meddling materially affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, but that it did create mistrust towards Russian Federation and provide a strong lesson to the Kremlin: "Don't mess with American elections".

US coat of arms at the US Embassy in Moscow.

A Putin spokesman says a USA pullout from the INF treaty would make the world a more unsafe place.

"We condemn the continuing attempts to achieve Russia's concessions through blackmail, moreover in such an issue which has importance for global security and security in the nuclear weapons sphere, for maintaining strategic stability", he said.

Others are less careful in their assessment of the administration's move.

The treaty was signed by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

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"We will never accept any form of blackmail", Hua said.

For his part, Bolton expressed hope that he could answer Putin's questions, but quipped that he "didn't bring the olive branch" with him.

Bolton's Kremlin meeting with Putin followed two days of talks with top Russian foreign policy and security officials.

While Bolton acknowledged it might be unrealistic to expect China to comply with a treaty it never signed, he argued that China's and North Korea's development of intermediate-range missiles means that the bilateral treaty with Russian Federation is now outmoded and no longer meets today's realities.

He adds that we are a long way from decisions on deploying United States missiles in Europe and says the U.S. has not yet taken a decision on new sanctions against Russian Federation.

Putin also commented on the USA coat of arms" motto, "E pluribus unum" (Latin for "Out of many, one'), saying it signifies that it's possible and necessary to look for common ground, despite differences.

"Russia is and has been devoted to the clauses of the agreement, and we think the intention of the U.S. to withdraw is, of course, concerning because such steps, if taken, can make the world a more unsafe place".

Meanwhile, in the USA itself, the threat to tear up one of the most important arms control treaties of the 20th century, opening the door to the breakdown of all such agreements and a frenzied arms race to deploy "usable" nuclear weapons, has been met with near total silence, particularly by the Democratic Party, which is ostensibly running against Trump's policies in the midterm elections.

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Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the United States and the Soviet Union built up their intermediate-range nuclear arsenals in Western and Eastern Europe respectively, until the whole landmass bristled with projectiles capable of obliterating entire cities.

Once unshackled from the INF treaty, the United States will undoubtedly bolster its capabilities in its face-off with China.

Russian Federation has staunchly denied any state-sponsored meddling, although Putin has suggested that some "patriotic" individual hackers could have been involved.

What does the INF say?

Beijing is not a signatory to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). He cited efforts in weapons development by China, Iran and others not bound by the restrictions of the INF Treaty.

Unlike those of the United States and Russian Federation, it is commonly believed that China's nuclear weapons are kept in storage and are not deployed on active alert in peacetime.

The treaty was one of those agreements and is set to expire in the next two years.

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"New START is in deep trouble, but not because of this", he said. Noting that Putin, a "serial violator of arms treaties", has kept Russian Federation in compliance with New START suggests that he sees it as operating in Russia's interests. "Russia, I think, would agree to extending New START even if the United States withdraws from INF".

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