Ditching Nuclear Treaties: Trump Withdraws from the INF

President Donald J. Trump has made it his signature move to repudiate the signatures of others, and the latest, promised evacuation from the old US-Soviet pact otherwise known as the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty was merely another artefact to be abandoned.

When it came into force after 1987, it banned ground-launched short- and medium-range missiles within the range of 500 km and 5,500 km. Of primary concern to the US had been the deployment by the Soviets of the SS-20, the result of which was the deployment of Pershing and Cruise missiles in Europe.

According to the Arms Control Association, the INF Treaty “successfully eliminated an entire class of destabilizing nuclear weapons that were deployed in Europe and helped bring an end to the spiralling Cold War arms race.”  Some 2,700 missiles and their requisite launchers were destroyed in the arrangement.  It suggested a certain degree of trust: both Washington and Moscow were permitted verification about installations.

The usual withdrawal technique (the Trump retraction style) has become known.  Trump is an expert practitioner of interruptus, but the issue is what he replaces it with: a new vision with provisions and obligations, or butchered nonsense wrapped in ribbon?  “I don’t know why President Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out.”  The Russians had “been violating it for many years.”  This included the testing, and ultimate deployment of the 9M729, a ground-launched…

Read more