US withdrew from the INF Treaty to forward a principle of nuclear first strike

Summary

The new US nuclear strategy has dropped the principle of deterrence, which until now has prevented the outbreak of a nuclear war. Washington’s new nuclear strategy has instead embraced the principle of a “nuclear first strike” aimed at destroying any country that is viewed by Washington as an “enemy” merely on the basis of suspicions that it might attack the US or that it has the capability of doing so.

The natural consequence of this new US “first strike” strategy – and of the vast US program to build-up and modernise its nuclear arsenal – is Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the INF Treaty, which makes a nuclear holocaust increasingly likely.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that US and NATO policies are bringing the world closer to nuclear war. Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative that the US is entirely responsible for the demise of the INF treaty.

The current US nuclear strategy is detailed in the Nuclear Posture Review [NPR] , issued by the Department of Defence in February 2018. Deterrence continues to be the central principle of US strategy. The NPR states that “the highest US nuclear policy and strategy priority is to deter potential adversaries from nuclear attack of any scale”, and that  US nuclear forces play a critical role in “deterring nuclear and non-nuclear attack”.

Furthermore, the Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) does not state that the US may use nuclear weapons against a country just because Washington suspects that the latter might have the intention or the capability of attacking the US. The Review states that the use of nuclear weapons will only be considered under “extreme circumstances”. It defines “extreme circumstances,” to include “significant non-nuclear strategic attacks” against “U.S., allied or partner civilian population or infrastructure, and attacks on U.S. or allied nuclear forces, their command and control, or warning and attack assessment capabilities”.

See the NPR.  See also the Brookings' Policy brief on the latest NPR.

 

 

 

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 142
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 23/03/2019
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: US
  • Keywords: Nuclear issues, Missile defence system
  • Outlet: Sputnik Italia
see more

Venezuela bustling with life, contrary to mainstream narratives

While the mainstream media continue to portray Venezuela as a crisis-stricken and impoverished country, the actual situation there is far from grave.

The UN claim that 3.4 million Venezuelans have fled the country is disputable; last year, school enrolment actually increased by 7%, and 120,000 Colombians settled in Venezuela.

Western media outlets focus on hyperinflation and its impact on the country’s living standards, but never mention that many goods and services are still cheap.

Disproof

The story accuses mainstream media outlets of producing alarmist reports on the situation in Venezuela and demonizing President Nicolas Maduro, and thus fits the recurring pro-Kremlin narrative on the situation in the country.

The estimate of 3.4 million Venezuelan emigrants was jointly produced by the UN's Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Institute of Migration (IOM), and is based on data from national immigration authorities and other sources.

Five years after the referendum, the well-being of Crimea’s population has significantly improved

Five years after the referendum that decreed the return of Crimea to Russia, signs of significant improvement of the Crimean population’s social and economic well-being are visible.

Disproof

Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that Crimean citizens chose to rejoin with Russia through a legal referendum and that the annexation of Crimea brought economic and social benefits to the population.

No international body recognises the so-called referendum, announced on the 27th of February 2014, and held on the 16th of March 2014. Even Russian President Putin has publicly declared that the plans on annexing Crimea were launched weeks before the so-called referendum. See here the EU statement on the fifth anniversary of Crimea's annexation by Russia.

Russian take-over of Crimea prevented Belarus from becoming a vassal state under the US and Poland

If Russia hadn’t taken over Crimea and the peninsula had come under the military control of the US and NATO, the existence of Belarus would be threatened. After the USSR’s collapse, Poland’s revanchism and hopes to establish a state stretching from the Baltics to the Black sea manifested themselves.

In 2006, the Polish government adopted a programme of developing the Fourth Republic (IV Rzeczpospolita), with the aim of strengthening Poland’s cultural influence and establishing political domination over the areas which were part of the First Republic (I Rzeczpospolita). In 2015, Polish president Andrzej Duda called to prepare to “take back eastern territories”. Although Duda’s statement concerned western Ukraine, it is also relevant for Belarus, as parts of it belonged to Poland in the interwar period.

In practice, the revanchist plans envisage Belarus as a vassal, anti-Russian state controlled by the US and Poland, with Belarus’ western part being an eastern part of a new Polish state. The remaining Belarus’ part will function as an anti-Russian buffer zone.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory and recurring pro-Kremlin narratives about Poland's plans to partition Belarus and establish the Fourth Republic, Western plans to partition Ukraine and to disrupt Belarus-Russia ties.

No state programme on developing the Fourth Republic was adopted by Poland and no statements of Polish president were made to take over western Ukraine or Belarus. IV Rzeczpospolita, or the Fourth Republic, was a plan for political change put forward in the late 1990s by the Polish conservative philosopher Rafał Matyja. It was used in public discourse to describe the 2005-2007 period, when the government of Law and Justice was in power. However, this concept has nothing to do with establishing a Polish empire at the expense of Poland's eastern neighbours, including Ukraine and Belarus - it is a conspiracy theory. Read more about the use of conspiracy here.