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'Don't Mess With American Elections': Bolton Says US Nixing Nuke Treaty with Russia

10-23-2018
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Russia Missile
Russia Missile

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton held firm Tuesday to President Trump's announcement that the United States would withdraw from the 1987 INF Treaty with the then Soviet Union now known as the Russian Federation. 

Bolton gave no specific details on the next possible U.S. steps to withdraw from the deal to limit intermediate-range nuclear weapons.

But said President Trump's assertions of Russian violations of the past.

"The American position is that Russia is in violation," Bolton said at a news conference. "Russia's position is that they are not in violation. So one has to ask how to ask the Russians to come back into compliance with something they don't think they're violating."

Prior to the announcement, Bolton said a variety of topics were discussed in meetings, including Russian inference in United States elections.

"The fact was that the outcome would have been the same by all the evidence we have," said Bolton after his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his top lieutenants.

"What the meddling did was create distrust and animosity within the United States, and particularly made it almost impossible for two years for the United States and Russia to make any progress. That's a huge loss for both countries, particularly for Russia," he said. "So it's a lesson I think: Don't mess with American elections."

Russia has staunchly denied any state-sponsored meddling, although Putin has suggested some "patriotic" individual hackers might have been involved.

Special investigator Robert Mueller indicted 12 people identified as GRU officers in July as part of his probe into possible Russian collusion with Donald Trump's campaign.

In addition, Mueller has indicted 13 Russians suspected of working for a so-called troll factory that allegedly spread disinformation and manipulated American voters online.

News reports out of Moscow claim Putin told Bolton that he wants to continue a dialogue with President Trump.  

Putin mentioned possibly meeting President Trump on November 11 when the two leaders are in Paris to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

INF stands for Intermediate Nuclear Forces.

The treaty was signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev when the two superpowers were trying to end the Cold War.

 It ultimately led to nearly 2,700 medium-range nuclear missiles being withdrawn.

Russia denies it violated the treaty and accuses the United States of breaching it by developing anti-missile systems.

During a recent speech, Putin recently made what some are calling are troubling remarks about a possible nuclear war.

"The aggressor should know that a retaliation is inevitable and they will be destroyed. And we'll be the victims of aggressions and rise to the Heavens as martyrs. And they will just drop dead," Putin said.

Richard Weitz, Ph.D., Hudson Institute senior fellow and director for the Center for Political-Military Analysis, feels by leaving this treaty it opens other lines of communication for both Russia and the United States.

"I know President Trump is searching for an out of the box approach to some of these issues. He may want to consider having an arms control treaty with Russia that would include both the intermediate range and the larger ones. So Russia could keep the missiles it's developing and have fewer of the longer range ones," said Weitz.

Some national security experts believe the INF treaty put the United States at a disadvantage.

Take, for instance, China, who was not part of the agreement, has seen a surge in missile build up, even hypersonic missiles.

The US is now in the process of stepping up its hypersonic research.

This year, the Air Force awarded $1.4 billion in contracts to Lockheed Martin to begin working on air-launched hypersonic weapons.

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