Can the Nuclear Treaty Between Russia and the US be Saved?
Without the treaty, USA can develop new nuclear weapons systems in East Asia to counter Chinese military advances.
Since the Obama administration, the US has accused Russia of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which prohibits the US and Russia from developing a certain types of ballistic and cruise missiles. A day after Pompeo’s announcement, President that Russia would also suspend its participation in the treaty.
The treaty is not dead yet. The announcements serve as the six month’s notice required by the treaty before parties can withdraw. There is still time to reconcile differences.
But I don’t think that will happen.
Here’s why a resolution is unlikely:
Cold War Context
In the 1970s, the Soviet Union began placing missiles in strategic locations within its territory that could each carry three nuclear warheads a distance of about 2,500 miles.
These SS-20 missiles were in a category of weapons called “intermediate-range ballistic missiles.” The missiles could strike almost all 29 member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation with the exception of the US and Canada.
At the time, NATO did not have a way to address the new threat through diplomacy with the Soviets. Nor did they have equivalent missiles capable of striking strategic locations in the Soviet Union from Western Europe.
The US sought to reassure NATO allies and deter a nuclear Soviet attack on Western Europe. In the early 1980s, it placed , as well as other missiles in Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and West Germany.
Terms of the Treaty
Negotiations between the US and Soviet Union began in 1979 in the late stages of the Carter administration. The aim was to limit the number of intermediate-range missiles each could deploy.
The negotiations carried over into the Reagan administration with various proposals on how many missiles each side could have and where they were be allowed to be placed.
In 1987, Mikhail Gorbachev proposed eliminating all short- and intermediate-range missiles. This led to the landmark INF Treaty that banned the entire class of missiles.
The treaty was signed by Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev on 8 December, 1987.
Both sides agreed to eliminate all existing cruise and ballistic missiles that could be launched from the ground (as opposed to from the sea or sky) and had a range between roughly 300 and 3,400 miles. They also pledged to “not have such systems thereafter.”
Before the treaty’s implementation deadline in 1991, the US and Russia destroyed more than 2,500 missiles covered by the treaty.
Nuclear Powers Beyond Russia
Russia began to fear in the mid-2000s that the treaty was constraining its military options.
Some analysts have argued the US should abandon the INF Treaty for – not because of Russian noncompliance, but because it limits US military options . The treaty prohibits the US from putting ground-launched, short-range missiles in places like Japan. Trump’s national security adviser of this approach.
Unbound by the treaty, the US could develop new nuclear weapons systems in East Asia to . The treaty’s demise seems likely. What follows depends on several variables, especially the outcome of the U.S. 2020 presidential election.
(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article here.)
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