Calling Cheryl and Adam, Impending Nuclear Holocaust Edition

Somehow I missed this kinda important story this weekend:

Donald Trump has confirmed the US will leave an arms control treaty with Russia dating from the cold war that has kept nuclear missiles out of Europe for three decades.

“We’ll have to develop those weapons,” the president told reporters in Nevada after a rally. “We’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out.”

Trump was referring to the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF), which banned ground-launch nuclear missiles with ranges from 500km to 5,500km. Signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, it led to nearly 2,700 short- and medium-range missiles being eliminated, and an end to a dangerous standoff between US Pershing and cruise missiles and Soviet SS-20 missiles in Europe.

No prizes for guessing whose fingerprints are all over this measured, well thought out decision:

The Guardian reported on Friday that Trump’s third national security adviser, John Bolton, a longstanding opponent of arms control treaties, was pushing for US withdrawal.

There are arguments! There always are.  In this case, it’s an allegation that Russia is violating the agreement w. a cruise missile development program, and that China is looming, outside the treaty.  I’m way out of the zone of what passes for my expertise here, so I’ll leave it to Cheryl and/or Adam to weigh in on these claims. Here I’ll just note both claims have the look of assertions that are drummed into service to fill in the gaps marked “pretextual verbiage needed here” on the form providing cover for what one wants to do anyway.

That view is strengthened, I think, by the fact that there isn’t a single arms control treaty these bloody incompetents have ever liked.

Bolton and the top arms control adviser in the National Security Council (NSC), Tim Morrison, are also opposed to the extension of another major pillar of arms control, the 2010 New Start agreement with Russia, which limited the number of deployed strategic warheads on either side to 1,550. That agreement, signed by Barack Obama and Dmitri Medvedev, then president of Russia, is due to expire in 2021.

The early reviews for this buried, weekend news dump are what you’d expect:

Jeffrey Lewis, the director of the East Asia nonproliferation program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, said: “This is a colossal mistake. Russia gets to violate the treaty and Trump takes the blame.

“I doubt very much that the US will deploy much that would have been prohibited by the treaty. Russia, though, will go gangbusters.”

Old friend Mikhail Gorbachev adds:

Gorbachev, 87, wondered aloud: “Is it really that hard to understand that rejecting these agreements is, as the people say, not the work of a great mind.”

Concur

Gorbachev called Trump’s decision “a mistake” and “very strange.”

“Do they really not understand in Washington what this can lead to?” he asked.

Concur.

And doubly, trebly concur with this:

“All agreements aimed at nuclear disarmament and limiting nuclear weapons must be preserved, for the sake of preserving life on earth,” he added, per the Times.

This is the true measure of the GOP betrayal of America.  They knew who Donald Trump was long before he became President. They knew — hell the candidates, Cruz and Graham and the rest said so out loud — that he was the last person you’d want near the nuclear button.  And yet when the choice came down to tax cuts and an anti-abortion SC vs the safety and security of the United States…

They all got in line.  We, and the world, are in ever deeper peril as a result.

Oh — and one more thing? How is this not a huge story? Republican maladministration wants Europe back on a hair trigger?  I’m looking at the New York Times home page and it isn’t there.  Our media iz not lerning.

Image: Simone del Tintore (attr.), Still Life with Mushrooms, Fruit, a Basket of Flowers and a Catbefore 1708.

78 replies
  1. 1

    Why the surprise, Putin’s minion does what Putin wants.

  2. 2
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    Gorbachev, 87, wondered aloud: “Is it really that hard to understand that rejecting these agreements is, as the people say, not the work of a great mind.”

    Eh, I read an interview of him from a few years ago and he was spouting off about conspiracy theories about Western propaganda in Ukraine or something. He may be right about Trump but I suspect Gorby’s no longer playing with a full deck anymore either.

    He gets a lot of credit for perestroika and glasnost but was he really any different from his predecessors? Wasn’t he just as much an authoritarian as Brezhnev and Andropov?

  3. 3

    You’ve done a good job of summarizing the situation, Tom. I agree with Mikhail Gorbachev and Jeffrey Lewis.

    I’ve been working on a post in my global warming series, which is ready to go. I’ll post it after this one has front-paged for a while. Here’s a quick thing I wrote on my Facebook page:

    Do you remember the nuclear terrors of the 1980s? A big part of that was the intermediate nuclear missiles that the Soviet Union and the United States aimed at each other in Europe. They would fly to their targets much faster than the intercontinental ballistic missiles, which gave a half-hour warning. A half-hour isn’t a lot, but there would effectively be no warning at all for the intermediate missiles.

    In the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union (and then Russia) agreed to destroy all intermediate nuclear missiles and not install any more.

    The United States believes that Russia is developing a missile that is prohibited by the INF Treaty. The treaty has ways to bring up concerns like this, but that method has not been used.

    Instead, for the boys in the Pentagon who want new toys, and for John Bolton, who never met an arms control treaty he didn’t hate, Donald Trump plans to withdraw from the INF Treaty.

    Remember those nuclear terrors of the 1980s? They’re coming back.

  4. 4
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Thanks Cheryl.

    I’m still gobsmacked.

  5. 5
    JPL says:

    Senator Corker was dismayed about the possibility of withdrawal, but per usual will do nothing. This is your republican party.

  6. 6

    @Tom Levenson: We were all pretty gobsmacked on Friday. Nuclear Twitter was very upset.

  7. 7
    debbie says:

    Is there one thing this man has not fucked up? As I recall, even last year’s Christmas decorations sucked.

    Have any GOPers commented yet?

  8. 8
    khead says:

    I am guessing McDowell County, WV is no longer on the Russian first strike list so I can’t really root for a first strike to teach the home folks a lesson the hard and glowing way. Plus, a terrorist wouldn’t bother to make the drive. /s (just in case)

    Also, it’s not a big story because I haven’t really had to think about nuclear war since ABC broadcast “The Day After” in 1983 (i.e. we are spoiled). This season of AHS doesn’t quite cut it.

    Edit – See Cheryl above about the 80’s.

  9. 9
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: @Tom Levenson: I’ve been tracking the reporting on this – both Russia’s violations and this new development – for a while. It doesn’t surprise me that Bolton would push for this and that the President would go for it because like most of the things they do it is strategically stupid. The smartest thing they could have done is engaged with China to bring them within the scope of the treaty for intermediate range nuclear missiles, which would have further demonstrated Russia’s misbehavior and opened the door for a renegotiated version of the treaty to include everyone.

  10. 10
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JPL: He is doing something. He’s retiring.

  11. 11
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @debbie:

    Is there one thing this man has not fucked up?

    He hasn’t initiated nuclear war. Yet.

  12. 12
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debbie: The same people freaking out right now over the possibility that some random guy might, possibly be erroneously and incorrectly accused of sexual harassment, assault, and/or rape, as well as a bunch of desperate Central Americans trying to flee to safety in the US really being the vanguard of George Soros’s plan for the great extinction of white (evangelical) Christians and western civilization (read as white Christian supremacy) are the same ones who are going to be unable to get out of bed from despair in another month when Starbucks’ coffee cups don’t say “Merry Christmas” and major merchants and vendors say happy holidays. These people are the most fragile master race and religion in history.

  13. 13
    JPL says:

    @debbie: Have any GOPers commented yet?
    What does it matter, since they won’t do anything..

  14. 14

    Well great. If nobody ever bothers to sign a treaty with us again I can’t fucking blame them. What’s the point when 40% of our citizens think it’s a great idea to elect a circus clown to the White House?

  15. 15
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    As I noted in the comments below this move amounts to pissing on the grave of Ronnie Raygun, or St. Ronaldus Maximus as Rush Limbaugh calls him. What will their reaction be I wonder? I suspect they will twist themselves into all sorts of pretzels trying to justify it while knowing that their hero has just pissed on the grave of their greatest hero. It should be fun to watch.

  16. 16
    aliasofwestgate says:

    I spent most of my childhood growing up in the last decade of the cold war. It’s probably why i’m stupidly fond of apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic scifi. It’s been nice not having that looming over my head as an adult for the last few decades. Having it come back to looming over us again while i’m my Mom’s caretaker? Really, really not something i want to think about. But i’m adding it to the background noise all over again. I’ve been calling it ‘Cold War 2.0″ since Putin’s shit over in Crimea and Ukraine. Finding out that throwaway comment may actually be true again? Even worse. Seriously. The Cold War ended in my teens, and now i’m seeing it spark a bit more into possible life again just after i turn 41. WTeverylovingF! I think i need to go vent in WoW for a bit or find something comforting to watch. More than ever, ‘m in ‘vote the fuckers out’ mindset, and i’m going to be a bit vindictive about voting for some time. I know this is a marathon, not a sprint.

  17. 17

    @debbie: Equally or more important is what our allies in Europe and Asia think, because the next nuclear war will likely involve them. None have made formal statements yet. They are most likely communicating behind the scenes to the administration – it looks like nobody bothered to consult them before this announcement.

  18. 18
  19. 19
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @khead: You’re welcome.

  20. 20

    @Litlebritdifrnt: One reaction I’m seeing on Twitter is from Real Men™ telling the rest of us to suck it up and appreciate the freedom to field more missiles. There seems to be a strong element of macho.

  21. 21
    Redshift says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    The United States believes that Russia is developing a missile that is prohibited by the INF Treaty. The treaty has ways to bring up concerns like this, but that method has not been used.

    This seems familiar. I remember back in the days of the Soviet Union, the Reagan Administration used to like to publicly make hay of Russian treaty violations instead of invoking the enforcement mechanisms (which the Russians would generally respond to, since they were mostly testing what they could get away with.)

  22. 22
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @khead: Also, that was supposed to be unable, not able. I went back and fixed it.

  23. 23

    Here’s a wonkier approach, from one of my favorite wonks.

  24. 24
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷 says:

    @JPL:
    This is absolutely insane. Have these people no sense of self-preservation? My god, by their very inaction they’re making WW3 more likely! I thought they still worshipped Ronnie Reagan? Even he eventually realized that nuclear bluster is a non-starter. This was his treaty. Don’t they give a shit about that?

  25. 25
    ruemara says:

    I’m over here watercoloring on these postcards for GA, because my printer is breaking. We need to win this election. My gut told me that in 2016 and it’s even more insistent now. There’s nowhere to hide from American military might. We could be the election that seals the fate of the planet under heavily armed and funded nuclear fascist rule. I’ve never lost sight of that.

  26. 26
    Redshift says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: They’ll probably just ignore it, and their audience will never know it was one of Reagan’s great achievements unless they remind them.

    It is pretty striking that they can worship Reagan and trash anything he did without a second thought. Just goes to show that they’re not really a Reagan cult, they’re an authoritarian cult with Reagan as a symbolic figurehead.

  27. 27
    khead says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I can clean it up a bit too. You just described half my FB feed.

    @Redshift:

    Cleek’s Law too. Treaties are for liberal Pajama Boys.

  28. 28

    When the INF Treaty came into force was an exciting time for many of us. INF was a groundbreaking treaty in many ways. I was working with the Air Force on a possible technology to destroy the propellant in the Pershing II missiles being brought back from Europe.

  29. 29
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @khead:

    I can clean it up a bit too.

    I suppose you have a working vacation planned to touch up the Sistine Chapel too.//

    You just described half my FB feed.

    Bless their hearts.

  30. 30

    @ruemara: Yes the last two years have been a collective waking nightmare.

  31. 31
    🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷 says:

    @ruemara:

    There’s nowhere to hide from American military might. We could be the election that seals the fate of the planet under heavily armed and funded nuclear fascist rule. I’ve never lost sight of that.

    That’s what my vision has been as well if we don’t ultimately win.

  32. 32
    ruemara says:

    @schrodingers_cat: The amount of people I know who accused me of fearmongering for corporatist Dems… Most still can’t look me in the face. The truly vain are still yapping about Bernie and how if we would end capitalism something something paradise.

    @🌎 🇺🇸 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳 🌷: Yeah, I’ve found being that blunt helps the thick at head to comprehend what not voting or not working will do.

  33. 33
    Redshift says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Bolton’s gamble is that withdrawing will force Russia back into compliance because Moscow doesn’t want—and might lose—an unconstrained INF arms race. If he’s wrong then the latter is exactly what we are going to get.

    I’m betting Bolton still believes the “Reagan defense spending caused the collapse of the Soviet Union” myth.

  34. 34

    @Redshift: That’s entirely possible. I can also make a case that Putin’s provocations are aimed at pulling the United States into overspending in the same way. I’m not totally convinced that’s what’s going on in either case, but events so far can be read that way. I guess we’ll see.

  35. 35
    debbie says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I don’t know, Cheryl. How exactly does one win or lose an unconstrained arms race? Does it matter which side shoots first if we’re all annihilated?

  36. 36
    Millard Filmore says:

    @ruemara: “We could be the election that seals the fate of the planet under heavily armed and funded nuclear fascist rule.”

    Global warming, and the oceans rising 10 meters or so, will upset everyone’s apple cart. Nuclear arms and delivery systems need a high level of civilization to work correctly. A planet wide fascist rule will not last long.

  37. 37
    Robert Sneddon says:

    From what I understand the new Russian missile that breaches the INF treaty is a Ground-Launched Cruise Missile (GLCM) capable of carrying a tactical/sub-strategic nuclear warhead. The main target for such a weapon is the Chinese whose nuclear capabilities have been improving by leaps and bounds over the past couple of decades, although the total number of deployed warheads they have in service is still well under either of the US or Russian stockpiles. Any attempt to bring the Chinese into an INF umbrella deal is going to be tricky since they have little to give away in such a deal (a dozen or two dozen launchers, perhaps) and they would require proportionate reductions in capability by the US and Russia, not just matching numbers. China is always looking over its shoulders at the Indians whose own intermediate-range missiles can reach China as well as Pakistan and there have been border clashes between the two nations in the recent past.

    The US/Russian INF is a product of the Cold War and I’m not sure it hasn’t outlived its usefulness — Russia’s actual nuclear weapons capabilities are much reduced and they’re having problems funding and rolling out programs like their SS-18 silo missile replacement. I don’t see them building out a significant IRBM fleet pointed at Western Europe from scratch again. They have been indulging in quite a bit of PowerPoint Warrioring recently which is oddly a good sign since that indicates they don’t have a lot of functional and deployable modernised nuclear weapons on hand.

  38. 38

    @debbie: I’m not endorsing it, just looking at what Bolton may be thinking.

  39. 39
    cynthia ackerman says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Without knowing a lot about the potential Russian violations, I have to wonder if all of this is less about the strategic threat of INF missiles, on both sides, and more about Trump/Putin collusion on political effects where the weapons are staged.

    Both Russia and Trump (not the US) benefit from militarization of certain third parties.

    I’m less concerned about nuclear annihilation (still very concerned about that) than about propagation of right wing mutual hegemony by manipulating the host countries.

  40. 40
    divF says:

    @debbie: Mutual Assured Destruction is a unstable solution. In the words of Caspar Gutman, “… in the heat of action, men are likely to forget where their best interests lie and let their emotions carry them away.” We were lucky to have survived it.

  41. 41
    debbie says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    I know you weren’t. Apologies for not making that clear.

  42. 42

    @ruemara: Well my Jill Stein voting, T-enabling friend is no longer my friend.

  43. 43
    Mike in NC says:

    Idiot man-baby campaigned on letting the Saudis, Japanese, and South Koreans build their own nukes. He said why have nuclear weapons if you can’t use them? After taking office, Fat Bastard wanted to quadruple our own nuclear arsenal because we needed to have the biggest, bestest bombs, despite existing treaties. He is a fucking lunatic.

    So we have roughly a 50/50 chance of nukular war breaking out with North Korea and/or Iran with this imbecile in the Oval Office and his neo-con crew of scumbag advisors.

  44. 44
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @cynthia ackerman: I don’t know.

  45. 45
    SFAW says:

    I’m not sure why anybody’s upset — he’s just trying to get “ahead of the curve.” Specifically: destroy most of the planet before Global Warming (which is a hoax, anyway) can do it.

    Game, set, and touchdown, libtards!

  46. 46
    Steve in the ATL says:

    Well, if we are all going to die from nuclear war, global warming, Chinese postage, and possible Ted Nugent in the misnamed Rock n Roll Hall of Fame, then I am going to savor my Sunday evening, sitting on the back porch with a fire blazing, looking out over the lake on a clear, cool night, drinking a very smooth California red (2015 Conundrum, a perfect Sunday evening wine), reading a novel in between checking on B-J and grilling salmon, ignoring that I will drive past a couple hundred Kemp and Hice signs on the way back to Atlanta in the morning, and pretending I didn’t hook that shot into the lake (defective ball? Undetected wind? Undiagnosed shoulder injury?) this afternoon.

    Namaste!

  47. 47

    @cynthia ackerman: Could you be specific about which third parties you’re thinking of? I’m not following.

  48. 48
    cynthia ackerman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer:

    Where were the INF problems in the eighties?

  49. 49
    Hob says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: “[Gorbachev] gets a lot of credit for perestroika and glasnost but was he really any different from his predecessors?”

    Briefly (since you can very easily do some reading to find out the details): yes, he was. That’s why he “gets credit” for his policies— because they were drastically different from the policies of his predecessors. People didn’t just get excited about those things for no reason.

  50. 50
    NotMax says:

    Triggering the termination mechanism for the INF treaty is wrong, wrong, stupid and wrong. Let me be clear about that first.

    That said, look at the map of Europe then and now. Post-Soviet eastern Europe has been integrated (to varying degrees) economically and strategically with western Europe. The current Europe, at least nominally, is today politically capable of denying, en bloc, deployment of new U.S. missiles which would previously have been prohibited by the INF.

  51. 51
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Steve in the ATL:

    Thanks for this! BJ keeps driving me back to my crossword puzzle books.

  52. 52
    zhena gogolia says:

    @Hob:

    And thank you for that!

  53. 53
  54. 54
    B.B.A. says:

    At what point do we call on the remaining scraps of “civilization” in the world to engage in a campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions against America? Because god damn if anything else can work.

  55. 55
    Gvg says:

    Maybe it would help to remind the GOP of the tax rates for the arms race. I remember not just being concerned, but boggled about how much it cost. It could peel some of their supporters off if we reminded them it cost really big money, it wasn’t the welfare state that ran up our deficits and when the USSR fell, every republican and some democrats ran on cutting taxes as a peace dividend. That really was when Republicans started winning a lot here in Florida at least.

  56. 56
    Jeffro says:

    Can I just suggest that Trumpov did this because

    a) he needs something, anything at all, that makes it look like he’s being tough on Russia (but doesn’t actually mean anything yet)?

    b) he and Putin both could use a little re-establishment of the Cold War to shore up their bases at home?

    c) (or maybe b, part II:) if the US and USSR take off in terms of building mad numbers of nukes, they might think they can intimidate the rest of the world into settling for one protection racket or the other?

    Let’s not overthink here…think like two mob bosses, one smart and one stupid.

  57. 57
    The Pale Scot says:

    This sucks, the EU isn’t going to allow ballistic missiles on its territory. BM’s with a launch to detonation time of 6 minutes are a reason to go to war. The issue is that Russia is putting naval cruise missiles on a truck based launch platform. Both sides are freaked out by the thought of the other having land based cruise missiles. The DL is that naval cruise missile’s launches can be theoretically detected by satellites or shore based radars. You can launch a land based CM behind a mountain ridge shielding it from radar and it’s identity wouldn’t be known until it detonates.

    This is in IMO compensation of that Russia’s ICBMs and maybe the SLBM submarines haven’t been properly maintained. Russia has GNP of Texas, and much of that has skimmed of by the criminals. Vlad’s pulling a Hitler in Czechoslovakia to keep up pressure on the EU and NATO. The only way to step on this is to aggressively hunt down and ID Russia’s SLBM submarines. He wants to imply that NATO is vulnerable to a first strike, hammer his SLBMs and run a couple of our boomers thru the Barents’s sea leaving a clue about what they are as they leave.

    Or you give the Poles a couple of score of our LBCMs and watch Vlad demand a new treaty. But I don’t think the Poles would give the LBCMs back.

  58. 58
    Brachiator says:

    A few random thoughts (and I don’t understand this stuff at all)

    It’s weird that Trump wants to set the treaty aside. I thought he and Putin we’re best buddies? Where were previous attempts by this administration to try to get Russia to comply?

    If I understand some of you correctly, Trump’s decision may actually help Russia more than it hurts them. Typical of a dumb Trump move.

    Also, I can understand that Trump is aiming some of this at China. Typical dumb move. I don’t think Trump understands how this impacts every nation in the nuclear club.

    Bolton played Trump like a fiddle. It’s not enough for Trump to undo Obama’s achievements. Trump wants to be the greatest president ever. Trump doesn’t see Reagan as the greatest Republican since Lincoln. He’s somebody else to knock off his pedestal.

    Trump definitely knows that his base does not believe in treaties or diplomacy. Also, Trump’s understanding of nukes is limited. He is at best (and worst) a mook who thinks he is strong just because he has bigger missiles, and more of them, than anyone else.

    I don’t think that Trump will ever let the US reduce the American nuclear stockpile. I wonder how North Korea views this.

    I don’t watch much TV or listen to much standard radio. But BBC news programs have been covering this since the story broke.

    The UK says whatever America does is fine with them. Germany says the US move is “regrettable.”

    Rand Paul, I think, is the only Republican who has criticized Trump’s actions.

  59. 59
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Redshift:

    It is pretty striking that they can worship Reagan and trash anything he did without a second thought

    That’s the funniest horrible thing I’ve read all week

  60. 60
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Brachiator:

    Rand Paul, I think, is the only Republican who has criticized Trump’s actions.

    And, I assume, for all the wrong reasons as usual.

  61. 61
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Mike in NC: Pakistan launching on India will be the start. After that it depends on how sane China and the rest of us all. China is damming the six major rivers that supply the Indo sub continent at their headwaters in Tibet. If drought and famine run rampant because the water ain’t there India and Pakistan don’t have any other options. God save us all.

  62. 62
    Jim Parish says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka)  🗳🌷: If nothing else, Gorbachev’s decision to allow the SSRs to choose their leaders locally (not by popular election, but still locally) rather than having them appointed by Moscow made the resistance to the 1991 coup much more effective.

  63. 63
    cynthia ackerman says:

    @cynthia ackerman:

    PS: It’s very likely there is no “great mind” behind Trump’s rhetoric, and if Bolton had anything to do with it the answer is clearly the offensive negative of “great”.

    Rather, a rekindling of INF strategic anxieties in Europe would make sense if you are Putin.

  64. 64
    Brachiator says:

    @Steve in the ATL: Ha! Yeah, Rand Paul pretty much does everything for the wrong reason.

  65. 65
    J R in WV says:

    @aliasofwestgate:

    I must be older that you. I remember one late fall not thinking about Thanksgiving or Christmas — I was too busy worrying about the Cuban Missile Crisis. I tried to dig a shelter in our crawlspace. I was eleven.

    At first I made some progress, but then I hit the ridge-top caprock, the really fine-grained hard sandstone that kept the ridge from eroding as fast as the sides of the ridge. I had a pickax, a shovel and a wheelbarrow. I was eleven. It was a strange season. And then it all went away, after a couple of months of sheer terror.

    Many years later the folks needed to replace their furnace/water heater, which were in a utility room on the single living floor of the house. The plumbing company brought in a big air compressor and a could of guys who knew how to use a jackhammer. It still took them a couple of days just to make a lfat space big enough to pour a small concrete floor, big enough for a furnace and a water heater. It made me feel a little better about how much I was able to do in a couple of weeks with hand tools.

  66. 66
    Immanentize says:

    @The Pale Scot: Pakistan has always been the most dangerous nuclear country in the world. Not North Korea, not Iran — Pakistan

  67. 67
    jonas says:

    The question is, who gains more from being out of this treaty? The easy answer is, the Russians. They were the ones pushing the envelope, seeing what they could develop/deploy before being called on it, etc. What Bolton, and his manchild amanuensis Trump, fail to see is that there is such a thing as moral authority on the world stage. If Russia were violating this treaty and the US was not, we could call Russia on it and the combined weight of world opinion and US law and our power to summon world consensus could force them to change or negotiate. Of course now, they have exactly what they want — the chains are thrown off and they can start a new arms race. And with their ability to freely interfere in Western democracies’ ability to mobilize public opinion to resist them…hey, win-win!

    Trump is being played so hard, the bow strings are fraying.

  68. 68
    J R in WV says:

    @Robert Sneddon:

    You live but once, you might as well eat pie.

    Without even opening your stupid “pie at the end of the world” comment, I know it is an arrogant and uninformed remark. Enjoy your life of pied comments. Eat mo’ pie, fool! While our world burns!

  69. 69
    cynthia ackerman says:

    @jonas:

    You said it much better than me.

    This is surely one of the biggest problems arising from Trump’s I’ll conceived remarks.

  70. 70
    jimmiraybob says:

    One wonders what the screaming match was about between Bolton and Kelly. Timing is curious.

  71. 71
    Jay says:

    @jimmiraybob:

    It was about the refugee asylum seekers at the Border. Bolton was ripping at Neilson, for not doing enough, in impolite language, and Neilson’s Kelly’s girlfriend so he got push back.

    Bolton had the last laugh, given the Insane Clown POSus’s remarks about “militarizing” or “closing the border”.

    Hopefully, the Insane Clown POSus will close the border before the midterms now that the Refugee Asylum Protest column has made it across the Mexican border and swelled to 5,000 protestors.

    1.6 billion dollars in trade crosses the US/Mexican Border every day and 6.7 million US jobs depend on that trade.

  72. 72
    Aleta says:

    Perhaps Trump also sees this as money he’s ‘giving’ to the DOD and the contractors and weapons researchers. Thinks of militarization (and missile defense systems) as economic stimulus. Thinks of those jobs as employment numbers and ads and votes for him. Also, times of war favor an incumbent, don’t they? And traditionally can be used to justify intolerance of the opposition.

  73. 73
    boatboy_srq says:

    How big a fork does this stick in NATO? As @Robert Sneddon and @The Pale Scot describe, a reasonably-agglomerated Europe isn’t likely to allow the US to base IRBMs within their borders, and we’ve long known Lord Dampnut detests NATO because none of the signatories spend their euros at his hotels and resorts, so with this development what options does the EU have to combat the threat besides building their own arsenal or agreeing to higher natural gas prices, and in that case what role does a NATO framework play?

    I’m wildly oversimplifying, but the question stands.

  74. 74
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @boatboy_srq: NATO isn’t really affected by America pulling out of the INF, unilaterally or otherwise. All of the US short-range nuclear weapons in place in the 1970s and 1980s (Pershing II IRBMs and some GLCMs) were under direct US military control, there was no dual-key launch restrictions. In the event of an all-out war the NATO response is run with an American in charge (reputedly because American troops wouldn’t take orders from non-American officers) so release of such weapons would be uncomplicated. As an aside most wargaming exercises between Blue and Orange forces on the Inner German Border expected the first tactical nuke to be used within three days followed by a full silo-emptying strategic escalation by the end of the week. The Soviets would already have covered most of western Europe with persistent nerve agents to a depth of a few centimetres before that happened though.

  75. 75
    jimmiraybob says:

    @Jay: Thanks.

  76. 76
    Johannes says:

    Clearly, I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

  77. 77
    Jado says:

    /snark

    You all think Trump is an idiot, but when his policies turn Europe in to a smoking irradiated crater and there’s a nuclear winter over all the earth, then EVERYONE is going to want to want the Trump Steaks and Trump Ties and Trump hats, and everyone is going to want to visit Trump Tower in the lovely US, 3000 miles away from what used to be Europe.

    What’s that you say? Nuclear war will proliferate everywhere and all the world will be a smoking crater of irradiated misery and death?

    You must be one of those limited intelligence liberals. Trump will make sure it’s only in Europe. After all, that French guy snubbed him. And that German lady was mean. And the UN laughed.

    Well, who’s laughing now? Or will have been laughing some time in the future? Or…whatever. It’s gonna be great. And you libs will once more have to admit that you were wrong, and Trump was right.

    Hahahaha!! You suck.

    /end snark

  78. 78
    Jado says:

    @Jay:

    /snark

    LIBERAL jobs. Who needs them?

    /endsnark

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