Killing the INF Treaty Was a Gift to Russia
The author writes that the United States' withdrawal from INF essentially absolves Russia of eight years of its violations of the agreement. This decision was not made out of military necessity, as the U.S. armed forces have not stated that Russian cruise missile deployments place them at a disadvantage or that they require additional technology to reach parity. By withdrawing now, the Trump administration removes its ability to both keep pressure on Russia and paint Russia as the responsible party for the demise of INF. This is particularly true as in the past year Russia has finally acknowledged the existence of the 9m729 missile and opened up the possibility of U.S. inspection. The author writes that Russia was willing to make concessions to save the treaty, and now they can claim the moral high ground. The Trump administration's decision to withdraw now is a fundamental mistake, as with the treaty gone there is little reason to believe that Russia will alter its weapons systems and deployment. The author writes that this move away from arms control agreements will cause division within NATO, and result in the loss of one of the most effective tools the United States has for reducing the risk of crisis escalation with Moscow.
Read the full text at The National Interest.
Jon Wolfsthal is the director of the Nuclear Crisis Group and senior adviser to Global Zero.
Flickr photo by Luke Jones shared under a C.C. BY 2.0 license.