Trump Administration Terminates the INF Treaty and the World Gets More Dangerous

By |2019-08-19T14:44:44-07:00August 2, 2019|

For Immediate release

Contact: Sandy Jones (805) 965-3443 ; sjones@napf.org

Today, the Trump administration terminated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces agreement (INF). This treaty, signed in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, required the United States and the former Soviet Union (now Russia) to eliminate all nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of between 500 and 5,500 kilometers.

The treaty was the first agreement between Washington and Moscow that required the two nuclear superpowers to eliminated entire categories of nuclear weapons. As a result of the INF Treaty, the U.S. and the Soviet Union destroyed a total of 2,692 missiles by the treaty deadline of June 1, 1991 (1,846 Soviet missiles and 846 U.S. missiles).

Many believe that the termination of the INF brings us to the brink of a new and dangerous arms race. Russia could move to deploy new short-range and intermediate-range cruise missiles and ballistic missiles on its territory as well as on that of its allies, such as Belarus. If the U.S. were to respond with new intermediate-range missiles of its own, they would be based either in Europe or in Japan or South Korea to reach significant targets in Russia. This would spell the beginning of a new arms race in Europe on a class of especially high-risk nuclear weapons.

David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, commented, “Today the world has become immeasurably less secure with the U.S. pulling out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, in effect, ending the bilateral nuclear arms control treaty with Russia.  The treaty was signed by two leaders who understood that ‘nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.’ Now, both the U.S. and Russia are free to deploy such nuclear-armed missiles in the foolish pursuit of nuclear advantage. This is part of a pattern of bad nuclear decisions by the Trump administration, which also includes pulling out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran.”

With his deeply irrational and erratic leadership style, Trump is demonstrating yet again why nuclear weapons remain an urgent and ultimate danger to us all.