Thursday, October 6, 2016

The Russian Bear vs. The American Rainbow Unicorn

Yep.  We seem to be seeing a stalemate between Russia and America.  Perhaps it will become a stare down like JFK and Kruschev....Putin staring down the Boy Wonder and lord only knows what happens when the Unicorn baby king shits his pants and runs to Valerie Jarrett to kiss his owie.

The story comes from YNET News.

US suspends contacts with Russia on Syria, as Russia suspends plutonium treaty

Faced with a truce in Syria that never truly took hold, the US suspends talks with Russia regarding the deal; Russia also decides to air out its grievances against the US, suspending their plutonium disarmament treaty over disputes regarding Syria and Ukraine.

The US State Department said on Monday that the US is suspending bilateral contacts with Russia over Syria. Russia, for its part, also came out with a statement on Monday, saying that it is suspending a plutonium disarmament deal wth the US.

The US announcement came after last week's threat by Secretary of State John Kerry to suspend contacts amid new attacks on the city of Aleppo. The department said in its statement that Russia had not lived up to the terms of an agreement last month to restore the cease-fire and ensure sustained deliveries of humanitarian aid to besieged cities.

As part of the suspension, the US will be withdrawing personnel that it had dispatched to take part in the creation of a joint US-Russia center. That center was to have coordinated military cooperation and intelligence if the cease-fire had taken hold. The suspension will not affect communications between the two countries aimed at de-conflicting counter-terrorism operations in Syria.

An end to the Russia-US plutonium treaty

The US State Department's announcement came as Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended a treaty, as well, regarding the Kremlin's agreement with Washington to clean up weapons-grade plutonium, thus signaling that he is willing to use nuclear disarmament as a new bargaining chip in disputes with the United States over Ukraine and Syria.

Starting in the last years of the Cold War, Russia and the United States signed a series of accords to reduce the size of their nuclear arsenals, agreements that have so far survived intact despite a souring of US-Russian relations under Putin.

But on Monday, Putin issued a decree suspending an agreement, concluded in 2000, which bound the two sides to dispose of surplus plutonium originally intended for use in nuclear weapons.

The Kremlin said it was taking that action in response to unfriendly acts by Washington.

The plutonium accord is not the cornerstone of post Cold War US-Russia disarmament, and the practical implications from the suspension will be limited. But the suspension, and the linkage to disagreements on other issues, carries powerful symbolism.

"Putin's decree could signal that other nuclear disarmament cooperation deals between the United States and Russia are at risk of being undermined," Stratfor, a US-based consultancy, said in a commentary.

"The decision is likely an attempt to convey to Washington the price of cutting off dialogue on Syria and other issues."

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