The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was signed by then President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. It banned land based intermediate missiles with ranges of 311 to 3,420 miles. Both nations already have missiles in this range that can be launched from air craft and naval vessels. So land based missiles seemed a little redundant and both Europe and Moscow felt more at ease.
It is important to remember that this treaty only involved the then Soviet Union and the United States. But the fact that the two extant super powers weren’t going to develop these weapons…left the rest of the world free to not develop them as well.
Both the Obama administration and the Trump regime have complained that Russia under President Vladimir Putin has been cheating on the treaty. And of course Russia denies any such thing.
So what has become President Trump’s typical response to treaties he doesn’t like? President Trump has pulled the US out of the INF treaty. The normal post WWII response would be to open negotiations with Russia and bring the issue out on the world stage. And maybe even involve the much maligned, by the president, NATO and the UN. But instead, the US simply unilaterally withdraws.
So what does President Putin do? Well now that he’s been snubbed, he can’t ask for new negotiations. He has to withdraw Russia. And?
Mr. Putin said. “Our response will be symmetrical. Our American partners announced that they are suspending their participation in the I.N.F. Treaty, and we are suspending it too. They said that they are engaged in research, development and design work, and we will do the same.”
Why is our current president afraid to renegotiate the INF? Why wouldn’t we want to expand the INF and include all of the 21st C nations capable of building similar weapons? China in particularly? And Iran and North Korea for that matter?
Needless to say the INF treaty as it stands certainly requires a re-examination. It is 30 years old and applies to a different set of circumstances than we have today. So why not make in an international treaty that applies to contemporary global politics?
It would seem that the two presidents, despite their denials, might actually prefer a new arms race…is this another episode of follow the money?
Extra credit reading: