New Nuclear Arms Race? US Plans to Pull Out of 1987 Russia-US Nuclear Treaty

 In Foreign, Politics

Russia’s development and deployments of a noncompliant nuclear capable missile has caused the US to pull out of the 1987 Nuclear arms treaty, according to Fox.

“Russia has violated the agreement. They have been violating it for many years. And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to.” President Trump

The President is hoping to draw both China and Russia into a new treaty. China was not part of the original.

The 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty

The Arms Control Journal wrote:

The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty required the United States and the Soviet Union to eliminate and permanently forswear all of their nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. The treaty marked the first time the superpowers had agreed to reduce their nuclear arsenals, eliminate an entire category of nuclear weapons, and utilize extensive on-site inspections for verification. As a result of the INF Treaty, the United States and the Soviet Union destroyed a total of 2,692 short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missiles by the treaty’s implementation deadline of June 1, 1991.

The United States first alleged in its July 2014 Compliance Report that Russia is in violation of its INF Treaty obligations “not to possess, produce, or flight-test” a ground-launched cruise missile having a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers or “to possess or produce launchers of such missiles.” Subsequent State Department assessments in 2015, 2016, and 2017 repeated these allegations. In March 2017, a top U.S. official confirmed press reports that Russia had deployed the noncompliant missile. Russia denies that it is in violation of the agreement. On December 8, 2017, the Trump administration released a strategy to counter alleged Russian violations of the Treaty.

The development of intermediate nuclear capable missiles known as the Novator 9M729 missile system, dubbed SSC-X-8 by NATO, are considered in violation of the treaty. Russia reportedly tested the ground launched missile on September 2. Its range is what makes it in violation of the treaty.

“Russia must return to compliance with the INF Treaty or the U.S. will need to respond to its cavalier disregard of the treaty’s specific limits. Make no mistake: The current situation, with Russia in blatant violation of this treaty, is untenable… There was no disagreement about the fact that the Russians were in violation here among the nations…

“…We will respond as we think is appropriate. But we are trying to bring them still back into compliance. Now is the time. It’s gone on long enough.” Secretary of Defense James Mattis to NATO on October 4

The response is to pull out of the 1987 agreement.  Will China and Russia join us to make a better deal? Will this set off a new nuclear arms race? Only time will tell.

 

Featured photo: screenshot of the Novator 9M729

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