Leaving aside the “theater of the absurd” and “bluster” of Joe Biden’s rhetoric during his trips to Ukraine and Poland this week, the consequences of the US effort to strategically weaken and destroy Russia are far more serious than anyone in Washington seems to realize, ex-UN weapons inspector and retired US Marine major Scott Ritter fears.
On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the suspension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) with the US, citing Washington’s efforts to “inflict a strategic defeat” on Russia and help Ukraine launch drone attacks against Russia’s strategic deterrent while “absurdly” calling for more nuclear inspections.
“Meanwhile, the consequences of the American-led effort to attack Russia, to weaken Russia, to destroy Russia, to be honest, are playing out. Putin's suspending Russian participation in the last remaining arms control treaty between our two nations. And anybody who doesn't understand how serious this is probably doesn't appreciate life. Without arms control agreements, there will be a nuclear arms race at a time when technology far outpaces that of the last arms race, which was the unfettered arms race in the late 1960s or early 1970s,” Ritter said.
Ritter knows a thing or two about arms control, serving as an inspector implementing the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty – a late Cold War agreement which eliminated an entire class of US and Soviet ground-based nuclear missile systems in the 500-5,500 km range. Today, he fears, radical advances in technology make effective arms control all the more crucial to saving the world from nuclear Armageddon.
“Today, we're talking about missiles with greater speed, greater accuracy, hypersonic maneuvering warheads that can't be shot down by missile defense. So, so deadly, so accurate, so fast that any error, any mistake, any miscalculation has to be assumed that it's going to have dire consequences. So you must respond. In the past, we dodged a bullet because we had time enough for people to say [to the other side] ‘this launch of American missiles against Russia was, in fact, not a launch. It was a mistake.’ Today, if they detect a launch, they have to respond because they don't have time. They don't have the luxury of time to say, wait a minute, let's just wait to get more data. With this treaty going away, an arms race will occur and there will be nothing that is capable of putting that genie back in the bottle. And this could be fatal, probably will be fatal to everybody here. So we need to pray that the United States gets over its Ukraine fixation and gets into how do we stop the world from dying in a nuclear holocaust to which we will be singularly responsible for initiating,” Ritter urged.
They have simply driven us into such a state that we have to tell them: stop,” Putin said in December 2021, after Moscow handed Washington and NATO a pair of comprehensive security proposals meant to dramatically reduce tensions between Russia and the Western bloc. The West rejected the draft treaties in January 2022, reiterating that NATO’s eastward expansion was nonnegotiable. A month later, escalated attacks on the Donbass by Kiev sparked a Russian military operation in Ukraine.
Today, the former weapons inspector warned, "Russia is no longer a defeated, compliant state. The Russians have nuclear superiority over us today. Their missiles are better than anything we have. We don't have a missile defense system worthy of the name. And so if there was a nuclear conflict, we would be annihilated.
Unfortunately, we have people today in Washington, D.C., that believe in American nuclear superiority or American nuclear supremacy, and they don't believe in arms control. And we need to replace them. We need to get rid of them. We need to bring in people who recognize that arms control is the only way to save the human race.”