Germany’s Merkel called for intensifying negotiations with Moscow
The Trump administration’s decision to suspend the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with Russian triggered sharp responses from Germany and the European Union. “Europeans aghast as end to INF treaty looms,” the German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported, adding that the “EU leaders are concerned that the US withdrawal from the INF treaty could spark a new arms race.”
The White House announced Friday that the United States was suspending the nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, accusing Moscow of developing a new long-range missile system, known as ‘9M729,’ in violation of the terms of the 1987 U.S.-Soviet agreement. The move gives Russia six months to destroy the ballistic missile system in question or face termination of the treaty. The U.S. announcement came after Moscow unveiled the 9M729 nuclear-capable missile system that can reach major European cities.
“One side has not been adhering to it. We have, but one side hasn’t. So unless they’re going to adhere, we shouldn’t be the only one,” President said citing Russian violations. “We can’t be put at the disadvantage of going by a treaty limiting what we do when somebody else doesn’t go by that treaty,” adding that his administration “will move forward with developing our own military response options and will work with NATO and our other allies and partners to deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct.”
The United States has adhered to the INF Treaty for more than 30 years, but we will not remain constrained by its terms unless Russia comes into verifiable and enforceable compliance.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 1, 2019
Ahead of the U.S. announcement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for intensifying negotiations with Moscow. “If it does come to a cancellation today, we will do everything possible to use the six-month window to hold further talks,” she said. “It is clear to us that Russia has violated this treaty.”
“The Cold War is history,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told a group of EU ministers in Romania. “Solutions from that era are totally unsuited to today’s challenges.” He, also acknowledged Russian culpability, adding that “a treaty between two state, which is violated by one party, is practically annulled. Unfortunately, the Russian side is not ready to bring transparency and restore compliance of the treaty.”
“This belongs to a faraway history,” the EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini said echoing her German counterpart. “We definitely don’t want to even consider the possibility of going backwards along this path.”
The former German Vice-Chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, called upon the EU to pressure the U.S. to open up its nuclear installations to Russian inspectors. “EU must urge the US to allows its nuclear arsenal to be inspected” by the Russians “as a sign of goodwill to convince Russia to follow suit,” German news outlets quoted him saying.
“The end of the INF treaty will have ground shattering impact on Europe, as it would unexpectedly open up a debate over the possible nuclear buildup in Europe,” the German weekly Der Spiegel commented.
The U.S. decision comes at an inopportune time for the EU. The move will “polarize Europe yet again” and “in long-run weaken” the bloc, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, a close confidant of the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, told German newspaper Aachener Nachrichten. “At the end of the day, one must admit that the EU is the biggest peace project of the twentieth century. It is our duty to ensure that this project carries on, and survives, in the twenty-first century.”
The U.S. decision has rattled the European peaceniks too. “Germany’s peace activists are deeply concerned,” Deutsche Welle wrote quoting the left-wing activists who regularly stage protests outside U.S. military installations in Germany.
The ‘peace project’ that EU elites keep on boasting about is secured by the sacrifice of the U.S armed forces and bankrolled by the long-suffering U.S. taxpayer. Leading European economies, such as Germany and France, can afford to service their bloated welfare systems thanks to the protective umbrella extended by Washington. Germany and many European NATO members have been missing their defense spending targets for years. Trump’s repeated demands for meeting military spending goals have been met with scorn and ridicule from EU politicians and mainstream media.
As a new official report reveals, the German army, or the Bundeswehr, is in a state of utter disrepair. The army can’t find operational helicopters for troop transports and the soldiers on foreign missions don’t have basic gear such as body armor and overalls, the German parliament’s annual defense report said. The inspection found that only “50 percent of the Bundeswehr’s tanks, ships and aircraft were available at any one time, either for training or operational purposes.”
The weakening of the German army comes at a times when Russia is tipping the balance by developing new tactical abilities and putting boots on foreign grounds for the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union. By neglecting their commitment to NATO, German and other EU members are very much culpable in emboldening Moscow.
President Trump on U.S. withdrawal from nuclear arms control treaty with Russia
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