The president blamed Russia for the lack of arms control despite the history of the US pulling out of treaties
By Dave DeCamp
President Biden took aim at Russia at the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday in a speech that revealed US hypocrisy on the war in Ukraine and other issues.
Discussing arms control, President Biden accused Russia of “shredding longstanding arms control agreements,” mentioning that Moscow suspended its participation in New START, the last nuclear arms control treaty between the US and Russia.
Biden’s rhetoric omits the fact that the US withdrew from several arms control treaties in the years leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In 2019, the Trump administration pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which banned ground-launched short and medium-range missiles.
In 2020, the US exited Open Skies, a treaty that allowed the US, Russia, and other signatories to conduct unarmed surveillance flights over each other’s territory. At the time, then-presidential candidate Biden slammed the move, but his administration declined Russia’s offer to salvage the treaty in 2021.
Back in 2002, the George W. Bush administration pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Systems Treaty, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has cited as the reason for developing the Sarmat ICBM, Russia’s most powerful missile that can pack a huge nuclear payload and travel 11,000 miles. A Russian official recently said the Sarmat was placed on combat duty for the first time.
Shifting to the war in Ukraine, President Biden called the conflict “an illegal war of conquest, brought without provocation by Russia against its neighbor, Ukraine.” While Biden claims the war was unprovoked, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg recently acknowledged that Putin invaded to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO after the US and the alliance refused to provide a guarantee that Kyiv would never become a member.
“Russia alone bears responsibility for this war. Russia alone has the power to end this war immediately. And it is Russia alone that stands in the way of peace,” Biden said. In the early days of the war, the US and its allies discouraged peace talks between Russia and Ukraine, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that one goal of US involvement in the conflict was to “weaken” Russia. Ahead of Ukraine’s counteroffensive — which US officials expected not to succeed — Secretary of State Antony Blinken rejected the idea of a ceasefire in Ukraine.
Biden urged for continued support for Ukraine in its war against Russia, saying an aggressor cannot be appeased and that Ukraine can’t give up its territory. “If we allow Ukraine to be carved up, is the independence of any nation secure?”
Biden administration officials often say territorial borders cannot change under international law when explaining their opposition to a peace deal that would involve Ukraine ceding territory to Russia. But as a senator, President Biden was a staunch supporter of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, which broke up the country and carved Kosovo out of Serb territory. To this day, Kosovo is not recognized by much of the world, including ethnic Serbs living within Kosovo’s borders.
Biden also led the charge in the Senate before the 2003 invasion of Iraq to whip up Democratic support for the aggressive war that was based on the lie that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs. In 2006, then-Senator Biden proposed carving Iraq into three regions based on ethnic and religious divisions, a plan he devised with the help of one of his Senate aides, Antony Blinken.
Dave DeCamp is the news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.
Not For Profit – For Global Justice – Since 2001
Views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.