Russia continues to violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty by fielding a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile system.
The administration’s actions, such as they are, have thus far proven ineffective. In the face of U.S. pleading, Russia refuses to even acknowledge the existence of the offending missile, let alone take steps to return to compliance with the treaty.
Arms control violations are becoming routine for Russia. As Gottemoeller testified in a 2014 hearing on the same topic, the administration is concerned about possible Russian violations of several treaties, including the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty and the Biological Weapons Convention.
As Russia’s brazen violations make clear, the INF Treaty has outlived its strategic utility to the United States. The U.S. should withdraw from the treaty. There is no reason for the U.S. to limit its own nuclear options while Russia clearly does not consider itself bound by the treaty. Doing so would be to effectively invite Russia to gain an advantage across an entire class of weapons.
The INF Treaty also precludes the U.S.’s thinking strategically about intermediate-range weapons, in much the same way the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty limited U.S. knowledge of aircraft carriers prior to World War II.
In addition to withdrawing from the INF Treaty, the U.S. should also step up its nuclear modernization efforts, which pale in comparison to Russia’s.
Not only is Russia undertaking extensive nuclear modernization programs, but its leaders are signaling an increased willingness to use nuclear weapons and have made several nuclear threats against NATO members.
Full article: Russia’s Nuclear Treaty Violations and the Obama Administration’s Tepid Response (The Daily Signal)