Russian Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces: What They Mean for the United States

Abstract

The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union was one of the most significant arms-reduction accomplishments of the Cold War. The INF Treaty led to the elimination of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges from 300 miles to 3,400 miles, their launchers, and associated support structures and support equipment. In 2014, the U.S. State Department officially accused Russia of violating the treaty. The allegation sparked renewed interest in the utility of the agreement for the United States, and in the implications of Russia’s violations for U.S. allies in Europe. Russia’s aggressive and illegal behavior and the inability of the United States to bring Russia back into compliance with the INF Treaty indicate that the treaty has outlived its utility and is no longer in the U.S. interest.

The 1987 Treaty between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the Elimination of their Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles—known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty—was one of the most significant arms-reduction accomplishments of the Cold War era. The INF Treaty led to the elimination of ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges from 500 kilometers to 5,500 kilometers (about 300 miles to 3,400 miles), their launchers, and associated support structures and support equipment.[1] In July 2014, the U.S. State Department officially accused Russia of violating the treaty.[2] The allegation sparked renewed interest in the utility of the agreement for the United States, and in the implications of Russia’s violations for U.S. allies in Europe. Russia’s aggressive and illegal behavior and the inability of the United States to bring Russia back into compliance with the INF Treaty indicate that the treaty has outlived its utility and is no longer in the U.S. interest. Continue reading

US may deploy missiles in Europe to counter Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is weighing a range of aggressive responses to Russia’s alleged violation of a Cold War-era nuclear treaty, including deploying land-based missiles in Europe that could pre-emptively destroy the Russian weapons.

This “counterforce” option is among possibilities the administration is considering as it reviews its entire policy toward Russia in light of Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine, its annexation of Crimea and other actions the US deems confrontational in Europe and beyond. Continue reading