David Bercuson: Fear of China is what killed this Cold War treaty

David Bercuson: Fear of China is what killed this Cold War treaty

In one of the first blows to post-Cold War arms control efforts, the US pulled out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty in 2002. "Withdrawal from the INF could lead to the collapse of the system of global agreements in the field of worldwide security, disarmament and arms control", Andrei Shuplyak said. Washington has so far not provided a single shred of evidence to prove that Russia had violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the Russian-Tajik Slavonic University on Tuesday.

Washington's accusations of Moscow breaking the terms of the INF treaty date back to at least 2014.

Days after the United States pulled out of a Cold War-era nuclear treaty with Russia, France's Armed Forces Ministry has said it conducted a rare simulation of a nuclear deterrent mission.

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by United States president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Jeff Merkley's Prevention of Arms Race Act (S. 312), which would cut off funding for unilateral USA development of intermediate and shorter-range nuclear weapons which had been banned under the INF.

The Kings Bay Plowshares Seven warned that Trump's withdrawal from the INF may not be his final effort at unwinding treaties that have kept a new arms race at bay in recent decades. It was the development of that missile, which the Russians call the Novator 9M729, that prompted the US decision to abandon the INF treaty.

"At the same time they are actively working to create a land-based missile with a range of more than 500 km which is outside the treaty's limits". He has ordered the development of new land-based intermediate-range weapons - but emphasised that Russian Federation won't deploy them in the European part of the country or elsewhere unless the United States does so first. The missile, with a maximum range of at least 4,000 kilometers, can hit US bases in Guam from the Chinese mainland and is thus called a "Guam killer".

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The U.S. and Russian Federation had long taken part in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty that banned ground-launched medium-range missiles with a range of 310-3,400 miles.

China wants Russian Federation and the U.S.to remain in the treaty while arguing against expanding its scope or mandate to include Beijing's nuclear weapons program.

"Another effect of the USA withdrawal from the INF Treaty is stimulating the proliferation of nuclear missile technologies in non-nuclear, threshold states and unofficial nuclear states seeking to acquire nuclear weapons", Mikhail Remizov added, noting that the United States itself is not at any risk after its exit. He ordered the development of new land-based intermediate-range weapons, but emphasized that Russian Federation won't deploy them in the European part of the country or elsewhere unless the USA does so.

"Crossroads is a good word to describe where this decision puts us", says Thomas Countryman, a former acting undersecretary of state for arms control and worldwide security.

But how much does the United States really want the treaty to continue? China has stated that Russian Federation and the USA should adhere to the INF and objects to any efforts to expand the treaty beyond its current scope.

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