U.S. Plan To Withdraw From Nuclear Treaty Sparks Talk Of Arms Race

Oct 24, 2018

With Meghna Chakrabarti

President Trump threatens to withdraw from a key nuclear missile treaty with Russia, and hints at another arms race with Russia and China. We go past the hot headlines to see what this really means.


Anton Troianovski, Moscow bureau chief for The Washington Post. (@antontroian)

Joe Cirincione, president of Ploughshares Fund, a foundation focused on nuclear weapons policy and conflict resolution. Former director for non-proliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. (@Cirincione)

Evelyn Farkas, fellow at the Atlantic Council Future Europe Initiative, Eurasia Center and Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security. She served from 2012 to 2015 in the Obama administration as deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. Former senior adviser to NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe.(@EvelynNFarkas)

From The Reading List

Washington Post: “National security adviser John Bolton rebuffs Russian appeals to remain in key nuclear-arms pact” — “National security adviser John Bolton held firm Tuesday to President Trump’s announcement that the United States would withdraw from a landmark arms control treaty in place since the Soviet era.

“Bolton gave no specific details on the next possible U.S. steps to withdraw from the deal to limit intermediate-range nuclear weapons. But he echoed Trump’s assertions of Russian violations of the pact, suggesting that no progress was made to ease the impasse during Bolton’s talks with top Russian officials including President Vladi­mir Putin.”

Defense One: “A Serial Killing Spree That Threatens Us All” — “Just in time for Halloween, John Bolton emerges from the basement of the White House to continue his serial killing spree of arms control agreements.

“In his first move, he engineered the horrifying U.S. withdrawal from the Iran anti-nuclear deal, over the screams of America’s national security leaders and our European allies. Now he is pushing President Donald Trump down the stairs, urging him to pull out of Ronald Reagan’s landmark INF Treaty. Trump announced his decision to do so after a political rally October 20. Bolton’s next victim will be Reagan’s entire START nuclear reduction process. Can he be stopped before he kills again?”

ABC News: “Trump says he’s terminating a major nuclear treaty with Russia. Here’s what you need to know.” — “The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty banned the U.S. and the Soviet Union (and later, Russia) from deploying all ground-launched nuclear and conventional missiles with a range of 300 to 3100 miles. The treaty was signed in Reykjavik, Iceland, in 1987 by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, and led to the destruction of more than 2600 missiles by 1991.

“Originally, the agreement covered only the U.S. and Russia. But Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine have joined the treaty as well. And though they are not formally part of the treaty, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have also destroyed their intermediate-range missiles.

“The agreement is a major part of President Reagan’s legacy.”

HuffPost: “Trump: U.S. Will ‘Build Up’ Nuclear Arsenal Until Other Nations ‘Come To Their Senses’” — “President Donald Trump said on Monday that the United States plans to increase it’s already massive nuclear arsenal, a move that could start another arms race.

“‘We will build it up,’ Trump told reporters outside the White House when asked if he was prepared to increase America’s nuclear capacity. He added that the U.S. has ‘more money than anybody else by far, we’ll build it up until they come to their senses.’

“Trump’s threat of an arms race comes on the heels of his weekend announcement that the U.S. would be withdrawing from the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia because Moscow had violated the Cold War-era agreement.

“The Kremlin denied any such violation and suggested that it was Washington — and not Moscow — that had failed to comply with the pact.”

Washington Post: “How China plays into Trump’s decision to pull out of INF treaty with Russia” — “When President Trump announced Saturday that the United States would be pulling out of a landmark nuclear-arms agreement with Russia, he blamed Moscow for the decision.

“‘Russia has violated the agreement. They’ve been violating it for many years,’ Trump told reporters in Nevada, referring to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. ‘I don’t know why President Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out.’

“But Trump also hinted that another country played a role, one that it isn’t even party to the treaty: China.”

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