October 2, 2018: Press Briefing by Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison (Excerpt)
Question: [Inaudible] in Norway. Ma’am, can you be more specific what kind of new information that you are bringing to the table regarding the breach of the INF Treaty? And more explicitly also, what kind of countermeasures that you are considering.
Ambassador Hutchison: The countermeasures would be to take out the missiles that are in development by Russia in violation of the treaty. So that would be the countermeasure eventually. We are trying not to do anything that would violate the treaty on our side, which allows research, but not going forward into development, and we are carefully keeping the INF Treaty requirements on our side, while Russia is violating.
We have documented on numerous occasions that Russia is violating. We have shown Russia that evidence. Some of our allies have seen that evidence. All of our allies have seen some of that evidence.
I think it is very important that we have the capability to deter, not only for European defense but for American defense. We have an intermediate range risk from Russia as well. So I think it is important that we continue to do everything as an alliance to put pressure on Russia to come forward, and first of all admit that they are in violation, and then secondly, to stop the violations. Because they are clearly doing it, our allies know that, our allies have spoken at the Summit with a clear indication that Russia must stop these violations.
Question: Thanks, Ambassador. Lorne [Inaudible], Associated Press. Just to clarify a little bit when you said to take out the missiles that are in development, we are a little excited here. Do you mean to get those withdrawn? You don’t mean to actually take them out in a more [inaudible]?
Ambassador Hutchison: Well, withdrawing, yes. Getting them to withdraw would be our choice, of course. But I think the question was what would you do if this continues to a point where we know that they are capable of delivering. And at that point we would then be looking at a capability to take out a missile that could his any of our countries in Europe and hit America in Alaska. So it is in all of our interests, and Canada as well, I suppose. So we have our North Atlantic risk as well as the European risk.
We are not moving in that direction right now, but we are trying to tell Russia, and you know, the United States Congress told Russia last year when they passed the Armed Services Bill about this time last year, that we know they have violated the treaty and we are beginning the research capabilities that are allowed by the treaty to deter a medium-range ballistic missile.
So I think they are on notice. I think Congress has spoken. And I think it is time now for Russia to come to the table and stop the violations that we know they are making.
Oopsie! “Tråkket i salaten” – to borrow a term from Norway, she trampled through the salad bowl. Period.
The U.S. ambassador to NATO just threatened Russia with preemptive war—apparently by mistake https://t.co/512faCAraZ
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) October 2, 2018
— Hans Kristensen (@nukestrat) October 2, 2018
“Welcome to NATO! You have one job: to not start nuclear war with Russia,” – @ArmsControlWonk
When we call for the Trump admin to be tough on Russia, ad lib threats about preemptive strikes that could end in a nuclear annihilation isn't what we mean.https://t.co/w9bXqSzwdn
— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) October 2, 2018
This is super dangerous because it plays to a very specific Russian fear. The Russians sincerely believe the US missile defenses in Poland and Romania will be armed with nuclear weapons and used as covert INF forces to decapitate the Russian leadership. (3/11)
— Jeffrey Lewis (@ArmsControlWonk) October 2, 2018
I was not talking about preemptively striking Russia. My point: 🇷🇺 needs to return to INF Treaty compliance or we will need to match its capabilities to protect US & NATO interests. The current situation, with 🇷🇺 in blatant violation, is untenable. https://t.co/dRaFoK8xlo
— Ambassador Hutchison (@USAmbNATO) October 2, 2018