22:56 GMT05 April 2020
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    The INF Treaty and the Security Dilemma

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    Donald Trump has expressed his intention to pull the US out of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. In this week’s program we discuss whether this will lead to another arms race, in what International Relations experts call a ‘security dilemma.’

    Dr Tara McCormack, Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the University of Leicester joins the program.

    Dr McCormack says that the situation is serious, and the US is quite likely to pull out of the treaty. "I think John Bolton has been pretty keen of withdrawing from this treaty for quite a while, but it is important to note that this is not the first arms control treaty that America has pulled out of. In 2002, Bush pulled the US out of the Antiballistic Missile Treaty, and the effect of the US withdrawal inside Russia was quite serious….Earlier this year, when Russia announced the development of its arms program, what was not covered in the western press was that this had been a long-term development. NATO said that it was considering deploying missiles in Eastern Europe and in response, Russia said: OK we've got these new missiles, which can counter that threat….I think it's a terrible shame and when we in the UK and the West go on about Russia overturning the rules based international order, as, especially our government loves to say, what is largely ignored are these massive and detrimental acts by America, for example, pulling out of arms control treaties. But I don't think it is quite back to the early 80s either."

    In the second part of the program, discussion turns to whether or not Russia and America have been caught in a ‘State Security Dilemma' spiral. Tara first of all briefly describes what a security dilemma is within the context of a realist international situation which is ruled by anarchy; where states take actions to defend themselves, which leads the other state to purchase more arms in an escalating arms race. "This does not necessarily lead to war, but it's very difficult to leave this situation of fear and mistrust." Host John Harrison asks whether the existence of an information war is also part of the security dilemma as it can encourage distrust between the states involved. Dr McCormack answers: "Yes, it would be if you were looking at this in more theoretical and abstract terms, but I personally would not particularly characterize what is happening now — what we could say a semi new cold war. Dmitry Trenin of the Carnegie Centre has called it a Hybrid War, we are in a situation of escalating tensions, but I don't know if I would apply the idea of the security dilemma."

    Dr McCormack says that the accusation that Russia is a revisionist state is out of place, "Russia is not a revisionist state; I think Russia is a very defensive state, Russia spends on defense more or less what France or Britain spends a year; about $50-60 billion. Whereas NATO as a whole spends about $900 billion, over $600 billion of that is American spending. Make no mistake, the American arsenal and military might is that which has never been seen before on the globe. China has 300 nuclear missiles, compared to America's 1900, which Russia has parity with. The security dilemma would imply a bit more parity of power, I would describe this more of an American attempt, I think, to maintain dominance in the international sphere. America is losing influence — in Europe, in Syria, which is now basically been sorted out by Russia, Turkey and Iran. There has been a shift in world power, so I would look at the military situation in that context rather than the abstract idea of the security dilemma. America is not threatened."

    We'd love to get your feedback at radio@sputniknews.com

    security dilemma, nuclear safety, nuclear treaty, arms race, INF treaty, Donald Trump, United States, Russia
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