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Washington is preparing for nuclear war in Europe

Amid mounting military and diplomatic tensions between the US and Russia, the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported Friday that the American Congress has taken the first steps toward Washington’s annulling of the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

The INF, or Washington Treaty on Mid-range Nuclear Systems, is a bilateral agreement reached between the United States and the Soviet Union on the decommissioning of short- and mid-range missiles (with a range of between 500 and 5,500 miles), and the banning of their production.

The treaty, signed on 8 December 1987 by US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, led to a significant reduction of US nuclear weapons in Europe. The nuclear-armed mid-range Pershing II missiles, whose stationing in Western Europe five years earlier had triggered the largest peace demonstrations to that point in history, were withdrawn.

The danger now is “that the US will construct new missiles and station them in Europe,” warned the Süddeutsche Zeitung. A major shift would be set “into motion” and Europe would stand “on the brink of a new nuclear era … nuclear mid-range missiles were the horror of the Cold War … thirty years on, the spectre has returned.”

The reason for the potential ending of the treaty, according to the newspaper, is the “deep freeze” in US-Russia relations and announcements by both sides of intentions to “comprehensively modernise their nuclear arsenals.”

Characteristically, the explosive reports by the German press have been totally ignored by the US print and broadcast media.

The report came amid a hysterical campaign being mounted by the US and NATO over military exercises planned by the Russian military in western Russia, Belarus and Russia’s exclave of Kaliningrad later this month, with Washington and its allies suggesting that they could be used as a “Trojan horse” to pre-position weapons stockpiles and prepare an invasion of the Baltic states.

The Pentagon has deployed seven US F-15C fighter planes to a base in Lithuania along with an additional 600 US airborne troops to the Baltics in advance of the war games.

This military build-up has been carried out in conjunction with a major US diplomatic provocation as the Trump administration has retaliated against Russia’s expulsion of US embassy personnel from Russia (itself a tit-for-tat response to earlier expulsions of Russians from the US) by ordering the shutdown of three Russian diplomatic facilities in Washington, New York and San Francisco. Moscow has charged that the action, which it said was accompanied by FBI searches of the San Francisco consulate and the residences of Russian diplomatic personnel, constituted a violation of international law.

 

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