NEWS INDIA TIMES

n Friday, the Trump administration confirmed its intention to scrap a historic nuclear arms-control pact withMoscow. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States would suspend its participa- tion in the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, likely to be followed by a for- mal withdrawal six months down the road. The news is in keeping with President DonaldTrump's penchant for wrecking diplomatic pacts. He axed a landmark Asia- Pacific trade deal during his first week in of- fice and controversially pulled the United States out of Obama-era international agree- ments on climate change and Iran's nuclear program. "We will move forward with developing our ownmilitary response options and will work with NATO and our other allies and partners to deny Russia any military advan- tage from its unlawful conduct," Trump said in a written statement Friday. The INFTreaty prohibited Russia and the United States frompossessing, developing or deploying ground-launched cruise or ballis- tic missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (311 and 3,418 miles). For several years, U.S. officials have contended that some of Russia's new ground-launched and cruise missiles violate the terms of the pact. Moscow denies those claims, accusing Washington of deliberately trying to exit the treaty to trigger a new arms race. If the INFTreaty collapses, it will mark the end of a cornerstone agreement in which, for the first time, the two ColdWar rivals agreed to destroy portions of their nuclear arsenals. "The treaty has been a central element of Eu- rope's security strategy for more than three decades and its signing was considered a crucial moment in ColdWar arms control, eliminating more than 2,600 missiles and ending a years-long standoff with nuclear missiles in Europe," myWashington Post col- leagues wrote. More than three decades after its signing, however, the Trump administration says it's responding to new realities. Beyond the threat posed by Russia, it seeks more options in the face of China's ownmilitary expan- sion. "China [and] Iran, for that matter, are not bound by the treaty," a senior adminis- tration official said on a phone call with re- porters last week. "We cannot be the only country bound by a treaty." The United States' NATO allies back the administration's tough approach on the treaty, but critics contend that keeping it alive would rein inMoscow's bad behavior. "Crit- ics of U.S. withdrawal from the treaty say that, despite Russia's violation, the best way to keep Russian arms in check would be to negotiate while keeping the treaty intact," ex- plained AntonTroianovski, The Post's Moscow bureau chief. "Putin had previously been eager to nego- tiate with the United States on the matter," he added, "in part because, analysts say, dis- cussion of nuclear arsenals is one of the only issues on whichMoscow can engage on near-equal diplomatic footing withWashing- ton." On Saturday, the Kremlinmustered a tough response, ordering its military to start developing land-basedmissiles once prohib- ited. "Our answer will be symmetrical," Putin said in a televisedmeeting with his defense and foreignministers. "Our American part- ners declared that they will suspend their participation in the treaty, so we will suspend ours as well. They said they would start re- search and development, and we will do the same." Now, questions also hang over the future of the New START, a separate pact brokered in 2011 that limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads deployed by Russia and the United States. That treaty is set to expire in 2021, and the current tensions suggest its collapse may be around the corner. "If theWhite House and the Kremlin do not agree to extend New START," reported my Post colleagues, "the decision would turn the clock back to an era whenWashington andMoscow possessed nuclear arms with practically no agreed restrictions and would risk the return of a full ColdWar-style arms race." Congress, especially the Democratic-dom- inated House, may challenge Trump's nu- clear ambitions, and could try to block funding of missile programs that violate the INF. European officials, meanwhile, raised fears of a perilous escalation. "What we definitely don't want to see is our continent going back to being a battle- field or a place where other superpowers confront themselves," Federica Mogherini, the European Union's foreign policy chief, said to reporters. "We have to think about what the world looks like with absolutely no constraints on these types of missiles at all," Alexandra Bell, an arms-control expert with the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, told Foreign Policy. "Is the security of the world actually improved by Russia having ab- solutely zero constraints over the ability to produce intermediate-range nuclear mis- siles? The answer to that is no." -T HE W ASHINGTON P OST Opinion 3 News India Times February 15, 2019 O A n ad-libbedmoment in President DonaldTrump's latest State of the Union address is the key to interpret- ing it. "I want people to come into our country in the largest numbers ever, but they have to come in legally," Trump said. The words "in the largest numbers ever" did not appear in the prepared version of the remarks. They are also a poor fit for the Trump ad- ministration's record. In 2017, Trump en- dorsed the RAISE Act, a bill that would sharply reduce legal immigration. As the White House put it, "The RAISE Act reduces overall immigration numbers to limit low- skilled and unskilled labor entering the United States." When senators offered legislation in 2018 to provide $25 billion for border security in return for permanent legal status for illegal immigrants who came to our country as mi- nors, Trump said he would veto it in large part because the legislation did not include the cuts in legal immigration he wanted. There's a case for Trump's 2017-18 posi- tion that legal immigration levels should be cut. There's a case for his positionTuesday night that the levels should be raised. Obvi- ously you can't take both views simultane- ously. Perhaps the way tomake sense of his shift from the first to the second is to assume that Trump has decided to give up on cutting legal immigration in order to achieve his more important goal of sealing the southern border -- that he is tacitly admitting that his previous stance was a tactical mistake. But there's another way to explain the shift, and I think there's more evidence for it: Trump wasn't serious about either position. Trump did almost nothing to win support for the legal-immigration cuts.When 14 Repub- lican senators joined almost all Democrats to vote against those cuts, he didn't even tweet about it. He hasn't returned to the topic of cutting legal immigration since then. We are used to presidents who have leg- islative priorities, stick to them andmake deals with congressmen to advance them. Trump is either unwilling or unable to do much of this work, even on his signature issue of immigration control. His copious day-to-day commentary is often discon- nected from that work. A few days after losing the immigration vote, for example, he told a group of lawmak- ers that he favored taking guns away from the mentally ill before going to court, raising the age for buying rifles and taking on the National Rifle Association. He never followed through on any of it. Nobody really expected anything else: His own aides largely ignored his comments. Over the last twomonths, the president has said that the southern border is already secure, that he would shut down the govern- ment to get a wall on that secure border, that actually the Democrats had shut down the government, and that he is considering de- claring a national emergency in the name of a wall that he assures us is being built. There was nomaster strategy behind all of these re- marks, just a president who says things seri- ally without caring whether they cohere. In the hours before the State of the Union speech, aides explained that Trump would emphasize the theme of unity and plug bi- partisan initiatives, and so he did. It would not be a bad strategy for him to follow. But those themes don't line up with howTrump has behaved in the past and are unlikely to govern how he or his aides will act after, at most, a few days. Sticking to plans, even flexi- ble ones, has not been a hallmark of this presidency. It's not a presidency that places a lot of weight on the president's words, either. -B LOOMBERG Forget About Trump'sNew ImmigrationPosition. HeWill Published weekly, Founded in 1975. The views expressed on the opinion pages are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of News IndiaTimes. Copyright © 2019, News IndiaTimes News IndiaTimes (ISSN 0199-901X) is published every Friday by ParikhWorldwide Media LLC., 35 Journal Square, Suite 204, Jersey City, NJ 07306 Periodicals postage paid at Newark, N.J. , and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address change to News IndiaTimes, 35 Journal Square, Suite 204, Jersey City, NJ 07306 Annual Subscription: United States: $28 Dr. Sudhir M. 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