The Trump administration has successfully managed to replace Russia with China in the ongoing narrative of election hacking and economic and geopolitical aggression, a shift that was underlined by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Tuesday morning when she declared that China was engaged in an “unprecedented effort” to “influence American Opinions”. But just because Russia has lost its place as the primary object of election hacking doesn’t change the reality that the US is enmeshed in a modern redux of the Cold War as the US and Russia threaten to leave longstanding arms control treaties amid a scramble to develop next-generation weapons like the hypersonic missile.
And as Russian and US diplomats met in Geneva on Wednesday to try and settle a dispute pertaining to a watershed arms control agreement called the INF (which each side has accused the other of violating), one senior Russian official warned that the ongoing hostilities between the two nuclear superpowers risked unraveling the decades-old arms control regime in its entirety.
Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said during an interview with the Financial Times that “complete malfunction of the American system” meant key treaties could lapse and leave nuclear powers “without constraint in the event of a conflict.”
In recognition of Russia’s annoyance at being accused of trying to assassinate former intelligence agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, Ryabkov dismissed allegations that Russia tried to hack the Netherlands-based headquarters of the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, saying these accusations would only further increase tensions.
Mr Ryabkov said Moscow would not be swayed by Dutch, British and US claims that its agents had also sought to hack into the computer network of The Hague-based Office for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons as it investigated the attack on Mr Skripal.
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