With the recent INF (Intermediate Nuclear Forces) withdrawal by the United States, tensions between the Western and Eastern Blocs have reached a new peak. The treaty, first enacted in 1985, barred the two superpowers from developing and staging short to intermediate range nuclear missiles.
The repeal, announced last December by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, comes after years of treaty violations by the Russians. Since 2013, the Federation has designed, distributed and deployed hundreds of 9M729 ground-launched cruise missiles across the region2. Under the pressures of an unwilling Moscow, The DOD (Department of Defense) made a divisive move.
In response to the ballistics gap, defense analysts including Thomas Callender of The Heritage Foundation have suggested low yield ballistic staging in order to “prompt Russia to renegotiate an updated INF Treaty before deployment is necessary”. He further recollects that the “Soviet Union did not return to the negotiating table to discuss a ban on intermediate-range nuclear weapons until the U.S. had already deployed significant numbers of its Pershing II ballistic missiles in Europe”5.
This sort of ignorance and deceit is far from isolated. Nearing his 20th year at the helm, Russian President Vladimir Putin has tactfully annexed and extorted his neighbors. Especially concerning is the 2011 takeover of Crimea and last November’s capture of three Ukrainian Naval vessels3. As pointed out by Connor Dilleen of The Strategist, “Russia’s military build-up in the region over the past five years undermines the sovereign rights and interests of all Black Sea littoral states, because it is designed to empower Moscow with the capability to assert monopoly control over the region, including to deny freedom of movement at sea and in the air”4.
Interventionists such as former CIA Station head Dan Hoffman argued that we need to “consider the most effective policy options [such as] greater military assistance, including the provision of U.S. naval frigates; and sailing NATO ships to the Black and Azov Seas”. Later in the article, he notes that “As long as Putin remains in power, and perhaps beyond, we can expect Russia to remain an aggressive power posing a grave challenge to the United States and many other countries as well. We must not ignore this threat”6.
A Legacy of Imperacy
Both of our major political parties, when setting aside implementational differences, have stuck to the tenet of foreign policy Realism. This outlook, borne of the McKinley Administration7, is defined brilliantly by Dr. Ghaidaa Hetou of Rutgers University. She exclaims that “Realism frames international relations through its foundational building block, power (i.e., military and economic capabilities). Foreign policy in this sense is judged by whether it is making the country safer and richer”8.
Our objectives, however, reach far beyond this philosophy. Unlike Siberian Oligarchs and Beijing Autocrats, the United States has encouraged the furtherance of civil rights worldwide. Most notable of these are the Japanese after WW2 and (reunified) Germany at the end of the Cold War. Some critics would point out, justifiably, that many US engagements have ended in regional disaster (i.e. Vietnam, Camaron etc.). Dr. Hetou addresses this concern: “The United States is without doubt an exceptional republic with a state-of-the-art constitution that will remain the guiding light for nations that seek freedom and liberty. Granted, this is an intellectual and a generational dilemma, but one that should not delay strategic adjustments to U.S. trade and defense policies in the light of an existential competition with determined rising powers”8.
“US Military Puts on a SHOW OF FORCE in Military Exercise 2017.” Youtube.com, Military Colonel Grub, 16 Sept. 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?v=95j54J0dgvY.
Callender, Thomas. “The Way Forward for the United States in a Post-INF World.” The Heritage Foundation, The Heritage Foundation, 1 Feb. 2019, www.heritage.org/arms-control/report/the-way-forward-the-united-states-post-inf-world.
Lapaiev, Yuri. “Martial Law in Ukraine: A Rehearsal for War.” RealClearDefense, The Jamestown Foundation, 13 Dec. 2018, www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/12/13/martial_law_in_ukraine_a_rehearsal_for_war_114027.html.
Dilleen, Connor. “Russia’s Militarisation of the Black Sea Shouldn’t Go Unchecked.” RealClearDefense, The Strategist, 4 Dec. 2018, www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/12/04/russias_militarisation_of_the_black_sea_shouldnt_go_unchecked_114001.html.
Ibid. Source #2
Hoffman, Daniel. “Ex-CIA Chief of Station: How Should the US Handle Russian Aggression? Here Are Four Things That Need to Happen.” Fox News, FOX News Network, 13 Dec. 2018, www.foxnews.com/opinion/ex-cia-chief-of-station-how-should-the-us-handle-russian-aggression-here-are-four-things-that-need-to-happen.
Raico, Ralph. “The Conquest of the US by Spain | Ralph Raico.” Mises Institute, Future of Freedom Foundation, 24 May 2011, mises.org/library/conquest-us-spain.
Hetou, Ghaidaa. “Escaping the Idealism Trap.” RealClearDefense, The Bridge, 27 Nov. 2018, www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/11/27/escaping_the_idealism_trap_113983.html.