Thursday, October 06, 2016

Russian Roulette

Because of this political unreality show that is the 2016 campaign, several other stories aren't getting enough attention.  One of them is the current state of U.S. and Russia relations.

The flashpoint was Syria.  Russia surprised the US and everyone else some months back by its aggressive military involvement in Syria.  In the guise of fighting terrorism, it managed more often to help the Assad regime.  It also looked to me like a classic case of a big power testing out its newest military technology in the third world, possibly with bigger things in mind.

Months of negotiations and attempted partnerships between US and Russia, and cease fire agreements that were immediately violated, led to the US completely breaking off bilateral talks over Russia's increasing blatant military support of Assad.

Russia responded as if Putin was all too ready for this, by reportedly sending advanced anti-aircraft and missile technology to aid Assad in Syria.  But even more strikingly, Putin announced that it would suspend an agreement to dispose of weapons grade plutonium.  It suspended two other related programs on Wednesday.

The first agreement involving nuclear weapons between the two countries was the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty signed by President Kennedy in 1963, as a direct result of his initiative, and his historic speech at American University which broke the impossible mindset of the Cold War.

Since then there have been many more agreements that have reduced nuclear weapons.  The two nations have had many other problems over the years, but generally they did not affect two areas: nuclear weapons, and cooperation in space.

Now Putin has made this move, which moreover only adds to a deteriorating nuclear situation while he has been in power, as nuclear disarmament has stalled, and both countries have modernized nuclear weapons, and Russia in particular has developed and built new nuclear weapons systems.

This is an increasingly dangerous situation.  It also needs to be discussed more prominently in light of this presidential campaign, and Trump's bromance with Putin and especially his dangerous natterings on nuclear weapons policy and his essential ignorance on these complex and deadly matters.

No comments: