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Why Did the United States Withdraw from the INF Treaty?

The United States withdrew from the INF treaty and ostensibly blamed the Russians. But China, not Russia, is the real target.

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The INF Treaty governs missiles like these.

Hello, this is Darrell Castle with today’s Castle Report. Today I will be talking about why the Trump Administration chose to withdraw the United States from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty or INF Treaty, a treaty with Russia that had been in effect for 22 years. Yes, we will take a foreign policy look today in hopes that the killing abroad will drive away thoughts of the killing at home, at least for a few minutes.

 I try to use logic and apply it to what the world leaders are publicly saying in order to gain some perspective of what is really happening in the world and then come to some conclusion given the evidence that I have.

History of the INF Treaty

The INF Treaty was painstakingly negotiated by President Reagan and the leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbechev and finally signed in 1987. It became an integral step in the dismantling of the Soviet Union and the relaxation of tensions between the two countries. President Reagan acted on behalf of Europe and removed much of the nuclear threat to our NATO allies. Intermediate Range missiles have a range of 310 to 3400 miles and, therefore, were no threat to the United States. Europe, on the other hand was totally exposed to such missiles as was the Soviet Union since America had stationed Intermediate Range missiles along Europe’s eastern borders. 

Point of the INF Treaty

Intermediate range missiles are extremely dangerous because the warning time of an attack is almost eliminated. The missiles can hit targets in a first strike that can greatly reduce or eliminate the ability of the targeted nation to retaliate. The treaty eliminated 2,692 such missiles with opportunities for both sides to verify elimination and it helped to establish trust between the two leaders and the two governments. Reagan’s trust but verify statement became part of folklore, but its result was a more peaceful world.

Why withdraw from the INF Treaty?

Why then would the United States withdraw from a treaty that had been so beneficial to both nations? There are many collateral issues, such as, unwillingness to accord Russia much respect as a great nation after the demise of the Soviet Union and the unwillingness of the NATO countries to live up to their agreements and spend the agreed amount on their own defense, and therefore, President Trump is just saying, OK, if you won’t relieve part of our NATO cost burden as you agreed to do, then you are on your own.

To contain China

Those are factors, but not the real reason for ending the treaty. The real reason, in my view, is containment of China. What could a missile treaty with Russia have to do with China? That country has been in rapid expansion mode all over the world and seems to be in a kind of informal alliance with Russia against the United States. Just listen to or read the words of the leaders of the world’s nations, especially the United States, and you can often see their intent quite clearly.

The US-China trade war

China has recently said that the United States is its number one enemy. You are aware that there is a trade war between the two countries and now China has expanded that to a currency war. Earlier this week, President Trump applied a 10% tariff to the last $300 billion of Chinese goods without tariff. That could be devastating to a Chinese economy completely dependent on exports. Everything made in China now costs more than before the tariffs. The world’s economy was already slowing due in part to increasing debt loads of various trading partners as well as sanctions placed on various nations by the United States.

The Chinese had to either retaliate for the tariffs or lose face, so they allowed their currency, the Yuan, to devalue. They said it devalued due to market forces but everyone knows they devalued it in retaliation. Reducing the value of the Yuan to its current value against the dollar is close to unprecedented. With a lower value Yuan everything made in China is cheaper so it becomes a race to the bottom for the two countries.

Control of the financial system

The United States controls the world’s financial system through its reserve currency status and through the Federal Reserve’s and other central banks’ ability to create money. Trillions of dollars are nothing but blips on the computer screens of banks. Just digital ones and zeros but to those countries not in control it is real money.

The United States can place sanctions on a country’s ability to transact business and sell its exports as it has done with Russia, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, and many other countries. When you tell a country, such as Iran, which is almost 100% dependent on oil exports, that it cannot sell its oil on the world market then that country will dry up and die unless someone cheats. Right now China is about the only country willing to cheat the sanctions and buy Iranian oil.

The real backing of the dollar: the Navy

The dollar was backed by gold until August 15, 1971 when President Nixon defaulted and removed the dollar from its link to gold. Would it be fair then to say that the dollar is just computer blips backed by nothing but thin air? No, that would not be accurate because the dollar is backed by the United States military,  especially the Navy and its carrier battle groups, which constantly prowl the world’s oceans controlling trade and reminding the world of who is in charge.

In order to avoid the U.S. Navy, China finds itself trying to fulfill a task that has been the dream of empires since at least the ancient Persians. Napoleon, Hitler, and Stalin all tried and failed to unite Eurasia into a vast empire stretching from the east coast of China in Asia to the west coast of Portugal on the western tip of Europe. Such an empire, if it existed, would link two-thirds of the world’s population and at least one-half of its GDP.

Mackinder Theory

That dream of Eurasian empire is called Mackinder’s Heartland Theory. It was developed by a British historian named Halford Mackinder in the early years of the last century. He theorized that whoever controlled the heartland of Europe and Asia at the same time would control the world. The United States has spent the last 100 years or so trying to prevent that from happening. My argument is that virtually all United States foreign policy is based on keeping Mackinder’s Theory from becoming a reality.

A new Silk Road

What does Mackinder’s theory have to do with the decision to withdraw from the INF Treaty? Right now China does not have the military power to make a Eurasian empire happen, but it does have the finances thanks to many years of trade deficits with America. Enter then the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is nearing completion and will connect by road, rail, pipeline, and shipping all of Europe and Asia thus avoiding control and sanction by the United States Navy.

Money flowing freely

The BRI is China’s version of the ancient Silk Road where camel caravans carried silk from China to Europe and the Middle East. It also reminds me of the old communist philosophy that said we will sell the capitalists the rope to hang themselves since trade deficits are paying for much of it.

Chinese money has been flowing freely across the world of Eurasia and almost everybody is taking it. The Chinese are loaning vast sums of money to the governments of various countries to complete their portions of the BRI , then the work is being done by mostly Chinese firms which are mostly owned by the Chinese Government.

INF treaty problem: China, not Russia

When Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo explained the United States withdrawal from INF he said that it was, of course, all Russia’s fault. He also said that the United States wants to build an entirely new supply of Intermediate range nuclear missiles which the INF treaty would not allow it to do. He said these new missiles will be deployed in Asia so you can see that withdrawal from INF was not about Russia which is no threat to the United States, but it’s about containment of China.

Pompeo has been in Australia, and the Far East discussing plans and gaining the cooperation of those countries with hosting missiles with a 3400 mile range on their territory. China has warned the Asian countries that if they host the missiles they will be targeted. Tension is building in the world both economically and militarily. The US stock market has fallen steadily since the Yuan devaluation and the world economy seems to be slowing. Every day along with a lot of struggling people, I see a list of companies closing or in bankruptcy, here in America.

The new SecDef

Interestingly, the new Secretary of Defense is Mark Esper, formerly Secretary of the Army. He seems to be very qualified for the job of Defense Secretary. He’s a West Point graduate from the class of 1986, which was also Mike Pompeo’s class, and he’s a qualified Army Ranger who served with the 101st Airborne Division in the Gulf War. There’s always a but it seems, and the but here is that he is also a former Vice President of Raytheon, the company that will build the new supply of intermediate range nuclear missiles he is ordering. Is this just business as usual in the swamp that is Washington?  I can’t help but think that it is business as usual, just move along folks, nothing to see here.

Lack of patriotism

The Chinese use trade policies such as WTO, and now BRI, as tools to further Chinese national interests. China’s largest global corporations are state owned enterprises and are used as an arm of the Chinese government. American corporations, on the other hand, use money to lobby and influence the foreign policy of the United States to enrich only themselves. There is no patriotism left in the corporate world and very little if any in the political world. Patriotism is a quaint concept for little people like us, and not for those who really matter.

These corporations offshore manufacturing, and import commodities at low prices, because the commodities are subsidized by the Chinese government. They move operations overseas to avoid American taxes but come running to the American military every time they encounter a hostile group abroad. They demand cheap labor at home and are more than willing to import the third world to get it for them. They have found that it is cheaper to lobby the government to bring the third world here than it is to move to the third world.

Is Google aiding the PLA?

This is all very legal and all approved by Congress and the United States Senate, except for what Google is alleged to be doing, which is aiding the Chinese Communist military against the interests of the United States.

Trading one Cold War for another?

In conclusion, we won the cold war. It cost a lot of money and lives but the Soviet Union collapsed as a failed concept. Now it seems that we are in an even more dangerous cold war with China that could turn hot if someone strikes a match in the wrong place. Why is all this necessary and why can’t we just mind our own business. Encircling China and Russia with nuclear missiles seems like a really bad idea to me.

Powerful forces work behind the scenes day and night to keep American leaders from doing the right thing. There is a very clear and obvious choice for America and unless we make the correct choice we will end up morally and financially bankrupt and without status in the world, but there seems to be no motivation to do the right thing and our only choice is to continue a policy that has failed time and again.

Deep State machinations against Trump and Gabbard both!

 Paul Craig Roberts pointed out in a recent article that Trump campaigned on promises of rapprochement with Russia, and withdrawal from the Middle East wars, but the Deep State will simply not allow it, and as a result of fear that he might do what he promised, Trump has spent his entire first term fighting off completely groundless charges of Russian collusion.

Tulsi Gabbard, the smartest and most sensible Democrat in a long time, also advocates minding our own business. The New York TimesWashington Post, and CNN have already determined that she is not a credible candidate. My understanding is that she will not be allowed in future Democrat debates because she is “not credible”. The result is that no matter who is elected the madness continues and nothing will change.

Is representative government an illusion?

Finally folks, this is all evidence that representative government in the true sense is just an illusion. We are allowed the illusion that we still have choice but if we exercise it as in 2016 the Ministry of Propaganda goes to work to nullify it.

At least that’s the way I see it.

Until next time folks,

This is Darrell Castle.

About the image

This chart showing side-by-side images of medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles appears courtesy of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.

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Attorney at Law at | Website | + posts

Darrell Castle is an attorney in Memphis, Tennessee, a former USMC Combat Officer and 2008 Vice Presidential nominee. Darrell gives his unique analysis of current national and international events from a historical and constitutional perspective. You can subscribe to Darrell's weekly podcast at

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