Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

U.S.-Russia Rift Could Impact Upcoming Nuke Talks

Inter Press Service

The growing political rift between the United States and Russia triggered by the granting of temporary asylum to U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden, who is now holed up in Moscow, is threatening to further undermine relations between the two superpowers at the United Nations.

With the U.S. decision to call off an upcoming summit meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which was scheduled to take place in Moscow early September, the negative fall-out is expected to have an impact on several politically sensitive issues, including the civil war in Syria, Iran’s nuclear programme and the proposed reduction in nuclear arms.

Russia, along with China, has already vetoed four Western and U.S. inspired Security Council resolutions aimed at punishing Syria – and the chances of any future U.N. sanctions on Damascus remain remote.

“The strained political relations between the U.S. and Russia will further reduce the Security Council to a non-entity,” warns an Asian diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

At the same time, he pointed out, the on-again, off-again Geneva conference on Syria looks to be another casualty.

The growing confrontation between the two superpowers also comes amidst the first-ever high level meeting of the General Assembly on nuclear disarmament scheduled to take place Sep. 26.

In a speech at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin last June, Obama called for drastic cuts in nuclear weapons, which was expected to be on the agenda of a proposed nuclear summit in 2016.

Tilman A Ruff, co-chair, International Steering Group and Australian board member of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, told IPS the disagreement between Russia and the U.S. over Snowden could be used by the US as a pretext to fail to make progress on disarmament.

“That is why the 184 U.N. member states that don’t have nuclear weapons should stop being held hostage by the nine nuclear armed states,” he said.

They should take the lead and begin negotiating a treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, paving the way for their eradication, said Ruff, who is also an associate professor at the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne.

Besides the five permanent members (P5) of the Security Council, namely the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia, the other four undeclared nuclear weapons states include India, Pakistan, Israel, and possibly North Korea.

Dr. Rebecca Johnson, executive director of the Acronym Institute for Disarmament and Diplomacy, told IPS the United States and Russia have far too many mutual interests at stake for Russia’s granting of temporary asylum to Edward Snowden to derail them.

“This won’t be a return to the Cold War,” she said, sounding less pessimistic.

She pointed out that Putin imprisoned Russian nuclear analyst Igor Sutyagin for over 11 years, and is as keen as the United States to prevent exposure of security and intelligence practices and mistakes.

“So even as the U.S. and Russia engage in a public spat over Snowden, their overriding bilateral interests will be in maintaining some kind of arms reduction relationship,” she said.

As more and more governments raise concerns about the humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons, said Dr Johnson, Russia and the U.S. will probably want to put on a strong show of P5 solidarity at the High Level Meeting at the U.N., in the hope of heading off the growing calls to ban nuclear weapons globally.

Ruff told IPS that nuclear weapons pose a mortal danger like no other to everyone, wherever they live.

With 16,200 (94 percent) of the world’s 17,270 nuclear weapons between them, Russia and the U.S. bear a heavy responsibility to remove this existential threat.

“Yet both are developing new nuclear weapons and spending between them more than 75 billion dollars per year to modernise their nuclear arsenals, with every indication that they plan to retain them indefinitely,” Ruff noted.

Eradicating nuclear weapons is the most urgent global priority, and must not be derailed because of other issues, said Ruff, who is also the international medical advisor for the Australian Red Cross.

Thalif Deen is a contributor to Inter Press Service.

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

The brainchild of Sears-Roebuck heiress Nina Rosenwald, the Gatestone Institute is a New York-based advocacy organization formerly chaired by John Bolton that is notorious for spreading misinformation about Muslims and advocating extremely hawkish views on everything from Middle East policy to immigration.


Conrad Black is a former media mogul closely connected to rightist political factions in the United States who was convicted in July 2007 for fraud and obstruction of justice and later pardoned by his friend President Trump.


David Friedman is U.S. Ambassador to Israel under Donald Trump. He is known for his extreme views on Israel, which include opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state and support for Israeli settlements.


Jason Greenblatt is the Special Representative for International Negotiations for President Donald Trump primarily working on the Israel-Palestine conflict.


The neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies has re-established itself as a primary driver of hawkish foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, during the Trump administration.


Rupert Murdoch is the head of News Corp, the parent company of Fox News, and a long-time supporter of neoconservative campaigns to influence U.S. foreign policy.


Shmuley Boteach is a “celebrity rabbi” known for his controversial “pro-Israel” advocacy.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

A series of escalations in both word and deed have raised fears of U.S.-Iranian military confrontation, either direct or by proxy. It is urgent that cooler heads prevail – in European capitals as in Tehran and Washington – to head off the threat of a disastrous war.


Vladimir Putin excels at taking advantage of mistakes made by Russia’s adversaries to further his country’s interests. Donald Trump’s Iran policy has given Putin plenty of opportunity to do that.


The Trump administration’s claims about purported Iranian threats have been repeated by credulous reporters and TV news programs far and wide.


This is the cartoon that the international edition of the New York Times should have run, at least as regards U.S. policy toward Iran.


The assault on Tripoli by Khalifa Haftar, Libya’s renegade general and leader of the self-anointed Libyan National Army (LNA), has forced an indefinite postponement of key UN peace efforts in the country even as the Trump White House announced that the president recognized Haftar’s “important” role in fighting terrorists.


With all eyes focused these days on Donald Trump and his myriad crimes, John Bolton’s speeches are a reminder that even worse options are waiting in the wings.


Advocates of cutting U.S. aid to Israel rather than using it as leverage must understand how this aid works, how big a challenge it represents for advocacy, and how to make a potentially successful argument against it.


RightWeb
share