Here is a thread on the Intermediate Range Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty. The 1987 agreement banned US and Russia from having ground-based missiles with ranges 500-5500 KM. INF opened the gates to end the Cold War. Everyone agrees it was a critical Treaty. 1/
Russia and US destroyed several 1000s of missiles and both sides complied with the agreement so well through 1990s and 2000 that we ended routine inspections. No longer needed. Then in 2013, it became clear to US that Russia had tested a banned missile. Then it gets hard. 2/
US possessed sea and air based cruise missiles (allowed) and Russia did not. Russia had short range land-based missiles and apparently (now declassified) developed the 9M729 missile. They tested it to 480km in one format but then tested it to longer range - violating the INF. 3/
When US confronted Russia, they said "what missile? We don't have any such missiles." For 5 years, that was the standard response, along with "Tell us what you know and we can see what we can find out." This is how you lose intell collection. Impasse. 4/
To its credit, Trump Admin declassified a good bit of information to push Russia (number of missile, how Russia violated) and NATO allies agreed to get serious about confronting this violation. Trump team did what we could not - got NATO unity to engage Russia. 5/
But as soon as they did this, John Bolton who has hated all arms control agreements and helped kill several got the President to announce that US would pull out of INF Treaty. This after months of telling allies we wanted to save INF and finally getting NATO on board. 6/
In November, Trump announced US was pulling out of INF. Then Angela Merkel, German Chancellor convinced him to delay for two months to see if Treaty could be saved and allies stand united. And guess what, allies said they wanted to save the Treaty. 7/
Multiple US allies in NATO asked the Trump Admin to engage Russia and make a serious proposal to save the Treaty. Under pressure, State Department agreed to meet - yesterday @UnderSecT and her Russian MFA counterpart Ryabkov met. 8/
And guess what, Russia who had recently admitted that yes there did exist a 9M729 offered for the first time to present the missile for display and some form of inspection. This is massive progress and shows pressure campaign is working. Russia was bending. 9/
But press reports indicate that instead of accepting progress and agreeing to come back with more detailed proposals to determine what kind of inspection would actually show what we needed to see, US now claims it is not enough. US walked away. 10/
While the Russia proposal on its face is not enough, US apparently wants a full confession and immediate destruction of missiles. Fine as a starter, but now there is actually a route to saving the treaty and elimination or conversion of missiles. Is US interested? Seems not. 11/
This snatches defeat from the jaws of victory. Russia can now claim they went above and beyond and US was not willing to engage. This is actually true. Allies will question why US did not pursue a reasonable proposals, and they are right to do so. 12/
Bolton would rather kills INF and arms control that pursue a plan to eliminate these missiles. That is ideology over security. It also plays into Russia's political strategy. Russia will retain the missiles, claim they offered and US walked away. 13/
US will be in the right legally, but less secure. This is diplomatic and security malpractice. With no pressing military need to respond, US has time to pursue and keep pressure on Russia. Instead, Bolton will get his INF scalp and US and NATO will be worse off. End/
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