Will the Paris Meeting between Trump and Putin Alter the Situation?

INF Treaty

This post was last updated on November 2nd, 2018 at 04:43 am

Tensions have been escalating across the United States, Russia and Europe, since President Donald Trump has announced to withdraw from the decades old Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF Treaty).

Trump has been pressurized to pull out from the 31-year-old nuclear arms treaty by his third National Security Advisor John Bolton, who was scheduled to visit Moscow this week to meet the Russian President Vladimir Putin and leaders, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.

Bolton considered the exit from the treaty plausible, condemning Russia of violating the terms with development of a new cruise missile. Besides, Trump also gave the same justification while making the announcement at a campaign rally in Nevada.

After Trump announced to leave the landmark INF treaty with Russia, it was anticipated that Bolton’s visit to Moscow will clear the air in the matter. However, the American attorney confirmed the news to be true, after the talks with the Russian President and senior Russian officials.

At a news conference, John Bolton said that Washington is confident the Moscow had violated the nuclear weapons control treaty, because of which it wanted to withdraw from it.

He said that INF was a “bilateral treaty in a multipolar ballistic missile world.” He also added that no formal steps had yet been taken but that the US would exit the treaty “in due course”.

Bolton also stated that US’s perspective to leave the deal was “the threat” that “the Russian missiles already deployed,” rather that the danger to Europe.

“The treaty was outmoded and being violated by other countries,” he said. “Under that view, exactly one country was restrained by the INF – the United States.”

Without going into the details, Bolton also remarked that cyber-attacks by China against the United States made Russia seem like the “junior partner.”

The Russian President on his part said that sometimes he got surprised by the “unprovoked actions” taken by the United States against Moscow. Putin also joked about the US seal showed an eagle carrying olives branches and arrows, saying, “The question is: did your eagle already eat all the olives and only the arrows are left?”

To this, Bolton replied, “Hopefully I’ll have some answers for you, but I didn’t bring any more olives.”

“That’s what I thought,” Putin quipped.

While underlining the differences between both the countries, Vladimir Putin also emphasized the need to maintain a dialogue and said that he would be ready to meet the US President.

Bolton also confirmed that Putin would meet with Donald Trump next month for talks, when the two leaders will be in Paris for the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, marking the formal end of the First World War.

He also added that it is important for Moscow and Washington to pay attention on areas where there was a possibility of mutual cooperation.

While Washington is confident about ending the INF treaty, the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Moscow does not want it to happen as there were no prospects for a substitute agreement.

He said, “Ruining the INF treaty in a situation where even hints at concluding a new one do not exist is something that we do not welcome.”

“Quitting the agreement first and then discussing the hypothetical, ephemeral possibility of concluding a new treaty is a pretty risky stance,” he added.

By far, the concerns raised by Russia and Europe could not really be ignored, as they have pointed out that the end of INF treaty by the US could become a reason for causing global unrest.

The security advisor and the Russian President also had discussions on the accusations that Russia was meddling in US elections. Saying that he confronted Russia on its elections meddling, Bolton stated that the interference had only a little effect on the outcome of the 2016 US elections.

“What the meddling did create was distrust and animosity within the United States,” Bolton said. “It made it almost impossible for the US and Russia to make progress diplomatically for two years. That’s a huge loss to both countries but mostly to Russia. It’s a message to Russia: don’t mess with American elections.”

The ending of INF treaty with Russia by the US could possibly be a smart move by the Republicans, who have smartly brought in an emotional perspective to the Russian meddling in American elections, when the mid-terms are just approaching. The next month meeting, which happens to be on November 11, between the two Presidents will be much awaited. We’ll have to see whether the election results might change Trump’s decision to pull out from the nuclear deal.

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