Written by: Kelly Grounds, Peak Associate
1987 Cold-War era Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. The announcement came after multiple accusations by US officials that Russia has repeatedly violated the treaty since its conception.
The INF was established in the 1970s when Russia began to replace their older intermediate-range SS-4 and SS-5 missiles with a new intermediate-range missile, the SS-20. These new missiles had a firing range of up to 5000 km, far enough to reach all of Europe and northern parts of Northern Canada.
With the impending new threat, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) began to negotiate an arms freeze with Russia, eventually resulting in the INF treaty. This created a framework for both the US and Russia to start to permanently eliminate their more powerful long-range nuclear missiles. There was also a regulation committee put in place to monitor both parties’ compliance with the treaty.
Much of why the US is dropping from the INF is due to US national security advisor John Bolton. Bolton carries a less informed attitude of American global nuclear power, showing disinterest in any compromise with potential threats to the US. His dislike towards agreements like the INF are strong enough that even his memoir is titled Surrender is not an Option.
Leaving the INF is a continuation of a pattern for the US, as they appear unwilling to be in any deal that promotes international peace. They’ve already pulled out of the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, and it seems the Obama-era New Start treaty could be at risk next.
Very quickly, President Trump’s advisors are dismantling arms control with their incredibly biased advice. Peace does not appear to be something the US is interested in maintaining.