Arms Control Killer: How Could Bolton Trigger New Cold War?
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Arms Control Killer: How Could Bolton Trigger New Cold War?

Pulling out the US out of the treaty, the US President Donald Trump said on Friday he was willing to reach a new version of the agreement with Moscow. But his words did not fascinate Russian leaders. After showing off their missile capabilities, Russians said that they were ready to examine Americans' proposals. Following the recent developments, Joseph Cirincione, President of the Ploughshares Fund, a public grant-making foundation focused on nuclear weapons policy and conflict resolution, in a piece published by Washington Post named the White House National Security Advisor John Bolton the “serial arms control killer”, and urged the decision makers in the US to stop him before he drags the world into a nuclear quagmire. Cirincione also referred to Bolton’s hands in scraping other nuclear deals, including the agreement with Iran, North Korea, and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. “Many fear that Bolton has his eyes on the New START agreement that limits long-range nuclear forces”, he suggested. What is driving Bolton and the like-minded strategists to do so? Is this agenda true about the INF and the new treaty proposal? How will this approach affect the US global position? Bolton agenda’s military interests Militarism in the US foreign policy provides Bolton and his friends with financial interests. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US military spending was planned to undergo cuts in favor of training, education, and health. This, however, set off the alarm bells to the weapons makers. Their lobbyists rushed to influence the national defense decisions to help raise the military budget. Bolton, along with Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, Donald Rumsfeld, and Richard Paul drafted the “Defense Planning Guidance” in 1992. The roadmap called for preemptive strikes on Iraq and arming Saddam Hussein opponents, before the 9/11 attacks. The signatories of the DPG and then the Project for the New American Century all previously held posts at the Department of Defense. On the other side, the arms makers were in constant effort to send their lobbyists to the decision-making centers. Paul Wolfowitz was a member of board of directors of the Northrop Grumman and served as deputy Defense Secretary under George H W. Bush and acting Secretary of State under George W. Bush. Rumsfeld, who pushed the decisions for Iraq and Afghanistan invasions and is a shareholder of weapons factories, served as Defense Secretary under Bush. Bolton holds close relations with these arms makers and once served as head of National Rifle Association. Bolton’s mindset In 1997, neoconservatives in an unofficial meeting released a statement related to the US security strategy, dubbed as the Project for the New American Century. Lashing out at Reagan and Clinton government’s treatment of the global issues, the group argued that the US foreign policy was hit by confusion after the Soviet fall because there was no longer an enemy for Washington to build its new policy against it. The neoconservatives criticized the previous presidents’ decline to increase the defense budget. Their plan included suggestions such as: engaging in new wars and win them, modernizing military and defense forces, removing the trouble-making treaties and laws, saving the US nuclear superiority, and developing and deploying intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in various parts of the world. They were considering international laws and agreements as restricting and intrusive. The new enemy that was devised for the US was international terrorism, which helped the neoconservatives to expand the US hegemony worldwide. The 9/11 attacks presented the last piece of the new strategy puzzle. The once unofficial plan became fully materialized when Bush attacked Afghanistan and then Iraq under the ruse of fighting terrorism. Bolton’s role in Trump arms strategy Neoconservatives look at the US international commitments with pessimism and are occupied by developing ICBMs. While, global tensions add to the profits of weapon companies they also move warmongering politicians such as Bolton out of isolation and help them enter the decision-making circles. Regarding the US huge national debt of over $ 20 trillion, neither Congress nor the public opinion cannot is interested in new wars. So, the available choice for the war hawks is focusing on the ballistic missiles. In 2001, Bolton pressed to failure the conference of the Biological Weapons Convention. He also in 2002 played a crucial role in taking the US out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, signed between the US and the Soviet Union in 1972. Following the exit, Bush administration founded Missile Defense Agency in the same year. The MDA placed its orders for highly expensive missiles to the Weapon companies. The administration also published the 2019 missile defense strategy while there was a debate over the defense budget increase. Trump and Bolton are pushing for an increase of the military spending from the current $715 billion to $750 billion. The new missile defense document fully alternates the several-year missile strategy. Citing China and Russia as key threats, it highlights the need for Washington to develop its missile defense capabilities. Last year, MDA paid Lockheed Martin Corporation $1.2 million to develop new radar systems. The US also frightens its allies and pushes them to enhance their missile powers. In December 2018, Raytheon won $434 million in contract to modify AIM-9X Sidewinder missiles and deliver them to Australia, South Korea, UAE, and the Netherlands. The new defense strategy mentions China 15 times and expresses concerns over its bid to develop its missile program, cooperation with Russia in missile field, purchasing S-400 missile defenses from Russia and posing dangers to the US submarines. But Bolton took a big risk by guiding Trump out of the INF because it will lead to loss of control on intermediate-range nuclear missiles in the world. There is a problem here. In the Cold War era, only two powers were racing for superiority, b now emerging powers are arriving. As a result, the international system will grow fuzzier and the possibility of miscalculation will escalate. Bolton’s disregard of the arms control treaties and encouraging Trump to scrap them will intensify arms race. These withdrawals represent a grave mistake that will undermine the American global position as the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq did. 

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«August 2019»