Flashback: Obama Let Russians Inspect Montana Nuke Sites
To read some of the national headlines, you'd think President Trump was open to allowing the Russians to come to the United States, throw a black bag over Ambassador McFaul's head, and bring him back to the gulag for interrogation.
Let me just say- whether you are Left or Right- if anyone tried to actually do that to one of our fellow Montanans, you can damn sure expect a rifle behind every blade of grass to come to the defense of Montana native McFaul.
But, pardon me if I question the fake outrage coming from many on the Left and in the Democrat party. Now we're supposed to somehow believe that Congressional Democrats are anguishing over the safety and security of our great American diplomats (remember Ambassador Stephens?)?
For all we know, we could have our people in the room, and the Russians could have their people in the room. We could ask what we want, and they could ask what they want. Likely neither side would offer up much info.
But here we have these same folks showing outrage that our people might meet with their people- and yet these folks had no problem with the Obama Administration allowing the Russians to inspect nuclear weapons facilities right here in Montana back in 2014? Not only that, but the Russian inspectors were allowed to inspect nuclear launch facilities here in Montana in the immediate wake of Russian actions in Crimea, Ukraine, and the continued shelter of NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
This is why Senator Rand Paul calls it "Trump Derangement Syndrome."
In fact, I looked over my old blog post from 2014, and here was the question I raised at the time:
Even if the Obama Administration doesn’t think recent actions by President Putin should have brought a halt to new START (the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), it seems these inspections specifically could be brought to an immediate halt. Montana’s Congressional Delegation and state leaders should demand a halt to further visits by Russian inspectors. Were they even informed ahead of time?
By the way, speaking of Ambassador McFaul- I am very excited to chat with Ambassador McFaul again this Monday on our statewide radio show "Montana Talks." Click here for details on how you can tune in for the show.
PRIOR POST FROM APRIL 2014 IN FULL
April 23rd, 2014: I heard from Dave Parker, the spokesman to Gov. Steve Bullock (D-MT). Parker informed me that the Governor’s office and state officials were not informed ahead of time.
April 9th, 2014- A Nevada ranchers kids are injured during confrontation with federal officials. (Three days after federal agents arrested the rancher’s son for protesting outside of the “First Amendment Area)
April 9th, 2014- Russians inspect Montana nuclear launch facilities. (Not reported until April 21st, 2014)
So, you mean to tell me that on the same day Clive Bundy’s kids were injured during a confrontation with federal officials in Nevada, the Russians were marching on Malmstrom? And this, in the wake of Russian actions in Crimea, Ukraine, and the continued shelter of NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Even if the Obama Administration doesn’t think recent actions by President Putin should have brought a halt to new START (the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), it seems these inspections specifically could be brought to an immediate halt. Montana’s Congressional Delegation and state leaders should demand a halt to further visits by Russian inspectors. Were they even informed ahead of time? (Inquiries have been sent to various state officials)
Here’s an excerpt from the AP story:
The April 9 inspection — the first of its kind at Montana’s Malmstrom Air Force Base, according to treaty compliance chief Richard Bialczak — went ahead despite the strain between the two nuclear powers over Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.
The Russian inspection teams spent 12 hours traveling to sites across central Montana to confirm that each silo’s launch doors had been removed and their launcher tubes filled with earth and gravel, Malmstrom Air Force base officials said in a statement.
The Russian inspectors could return to view 16 additional launch facilities at Malmstrom that were demolished after the inspectors departed, Air Force officials said. Eventually, all 50 of the 546th squadron’s former launch facilities will be demolished.
Inspectors from the Russian Federation visited Malmstrom Air Force Base on April 9 to verify that 18 demolished Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile launch facilities assigned to the 341st Missile Wing have been eliminated in accordance with the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
This confirmation will immediately reduce the number of ICBM launchers that the United States is accountable for, and bring the inventory of deployed and non-deployed launchers closer to the Treaty’s limit that must be met by February 2018.
The launch facilities inspected were formerly operated by the 564th Missile Squadron and are located within a broad complex between Choteau and Shelby, Mont.
The 341st MW was notified April 8 that Malmstrom was selected for the inspection, Bialczak said. The inspection teams and their escorts from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency arrived on base the following day at 9 a.m., and began the site inspections at approximately noon.
At each LF, the Russians used a GPS to confirm they were standing on a launcher and then walked around the site to verify the demolition had been completed. Each site only required a few minutes to check off.
Russia may choose to send another inspection team to Malmstrom within the first 30 days of this window to look at these 16 sites, thereby expediting the removal of these launchers. Otherwise, these additional sites won’t be cleared from accountability until June.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post accuses the Obama Administration of “dithering” on Ukraine while the Russians continue to escalate. Could the Obama Administration send a strong signal by cancelling any further inspections in Montana and elsewhere. Or, is it time to bring new START to a halt altogether? Michaela Dodge has this for The Heritage Foundation:
Even before the ink on the treaty was dry, experts warned that, under New START, the U.S. would have to bear the majority of nuclear reductions while Russia will be permitted to actually increase its nuclear stockpile. Time has justified these concerns, as Russia has launched the most extensive nuclear weapons modernization program since the end of the Cold War.
Over the course of the last four years, the U.S. has engaged in a unilateral reduction of its nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, Russia has violated its arms control obligations, including the Intermediate-Range Forces (INF) treaty. The loopholes within New START have provided Putin with the opportunity to build up his nuclear arsenal and, therefore, undermine one of the very purposes of New START: to provide predictability in the U.S.-Russia strategic relationship. New START’s degraded verification regime further limits insight into Moscow’s nuclear weapons build-up.