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The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

U.S. Soviet Relations Nuclear Arms INF Treaty Ronald Reagan Michael Gorbachev

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#1
caltrek

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The INF Treaty is done, but lessons for policy remain
 

https://thebulletin....-policy-remain/

 

Introduction:

 

(Bulletin of Atomic Scientists) The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty or INF, ends on August 2, bringing to a close one of the most remarkable chapters in arms control history. There is much about the INF story that bears recalling, as it provides lessons for the conduct of US diplomacy and policy making in the uncharted waters ahead.

 

For decades, the combination of deterrence and arms control has shaped US policy. However, the strategic landscape and weapons technologies have changed dramatically since the INF negotiations in the 1980’s, in which I played a role as deputy negotiator. Under the Trump Administration, it increasingly appears that the policy balance is swinging to greater and perhaps sole reliance on deterrence. The administration has spoken about 21st-century arms control, but beyond involving China, it is unclear what this means. The US-Russian strategic dialogue that got underway in July is encouraging, but it remains to be seen whether new approaches to stemming the nuclear arms race, as well as rivalries in space and cyber warfare, will emerge.

 

The INF Treaty was hardly a foregone conclusion at the time of its signing in 1987. Remarkably, the outcome hewed closely to President Reagan’s famous zero proposal in 1981. The agreement remains unprecedented, eliminating all US and Russian missiles between the ranges of 500 to 5500 kilometers. The two countries destroyed a total of 2,692 ballistic and cruise missiles by the treaty’s deadline of June 1, 1991, with verification that had not been imagined as possible before.

 

The impact of the treaty extended well beyond its arms control achievements and halted the widespread anti-nuclear demonstrations that roiled both Europe and America in the 1970s and 1980s. More important, the treaty underwrote the vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace that seemed to hold real promise after the collapse of the Soviet Union. In addition, the treaty set the stage for US President H.W. Bush to remove nearly all tactical nuclear weapons in Europe and Asia and aboard US Navy ships—in other words, expanding nuclear reductions to include weapons outside the parameters of “intermediate-range.” Never before in the post-World War II era had Europeans been able to experience life largely free of the fear of nuclear war.

 

At the heart of the complex story of the INF Treaty were the two signatories of the treaty: President Reagan gained a deep disaffection for nuclear weapons, perhaps as only a person who held the authority to unleash unimaginable destruction could feel. He came to think increasingly that nuclear dangers must be reduced. At that historical juncture, he found a partner in Mikhail Gorbachev, who shared Reagan’s views on nuclear weapons. Gorbachev also saw the need to end a mindless and expensive arms race that would only impede the reforms he sought for the Soviet Union.

 


  • Erowind likes this

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#2
PhoenixRu

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Frankly, I don't think this corpse of another international treaty deserves its own thread. But, since the thread was created, I'll just quote the opinion of one of top Russian bloggers:

 

The initiative to break the treaty came from the United States, which have found a formal excuse to accuse Russia, although they failed to provide any significant evidence. Russia's attempts to demonstrate the (allegedly forbidden) missile to NATO’s specialists, in order to show that it doesn’t violate anything, did not succeed since the United States and NATO initially did not aim to study the actual state of affairs. There was a task to withdraw from the treaty and simultaneously accusing Russia of this, and this task was successfully accomplished.

 
In the next couple of years, a similar fate awaits START-3, preparations for the withdrawal from which are already underway in the United States. There is no doubt that Russia will also be blamed for the termination of START-3.
 
Before our very eyes, the old system of international treaties that underlies the architecture of the nuclear safety of the Late Washington world order is breaking down, primarily at the initiative of the United States, which needs the free hands to deal with global troublemakers challenging American hegemony.
 
On the one hand, this makes our world more dangerous, as control over nuclear weapons continues to weaken. On the other hand, this is an eloquent sign of the collapse of existing Late Washington world order, where the INF Treaty was one of its pillars. Should we regret about the outgoing "Brave New World" of unchallenged American hegemony? Well, of course not.
 
The new world order will be shaped during the current edition of the Cold War, the results of which will redistribute the influence of key countries which, either during the ongoing conflict or following its results, will develop new agreements on control of nuclear weapons.
 


#3
caltrek

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This "makes our world more dangerous"  and is "an eloquent sign of the collapse of existing Late Washington world order,"   yet it "doesn't deserve its own thread"?

 

 

Whatever. 


  • Erowind likes this

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#4
PhoenixRu

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This "makes our world more dangerous"  and is "an eloquent sign of the collapse of existing Late Washington world order,"   yet it "doesn't deserve its own thread"?

 

I just meant that this treaty is a part of bigger issue which, yes, deserves own thread. But this thread is already exist.  



#5
caltrek

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^^^^Fair enough.  I just made this distinct thread because the article, especially the parts cited, is more of an historic retrospective.  I suspect the thread you are alluding to is in a different forum.  Hopefully, others will appreciate my editorial decision to place this particular article in The History Forum.     


  • Erowind likes this

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: U.S. Soviet Relations, Nuclear Arms, INF Treaty, Ronald Reagan, Michael Gorbachev

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