Trump Is Igniting a Perilous New Nuclear-Arms Race

Geraldine Edwards
February 6, 2019

"We presume that Russian Federation will not deploy such weapons if develops them, either in Europe or in other regions of the world, medium and shorter range weapons, until such US-made weapons appear in their respective regions of the world", Putin said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, attends a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.

The Nobel Peace Prize recipient International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons tweeted Friday: "By pulling out of the #INF, the U.S. waves the start flag for a new nuclear arms race & proves there's no such thing as a responsible nuclear armed state".

Russian Federation released satellite images to prove the United States violated Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty two years back, after the US President Donald Trump recently announced that they are pulling out of the arms control agreement. "Let's wait until our partners are mature enough to conduct an equal and substantive dialogue on those issues", he said.

When the United States informed Russia Saturday that it was formally suspending a landmark nuclear arms control treaty that had been a centerpiece of European security for three decades, it was more than just the demise of a cold war-era accord.

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At the same time, Putin told his ministers that he would like to review the progress on building other prospective weapons that don't fall under the INF treaty, including the intercontinental Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle and the Poseidon underwater nuclear-powered drone. After all, the freshly-discarded INF Treaty was negotiated by President Reagan, who famously said, "Why wait until the end of the (20th) century for a world free of nuclear weapons?" It made an invaluable contribution to the reduction of global tensions, restoring confidence in the global arena, strengthening worldwide security and strategic stability. "It will certainly receive an effective response".

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by U.S. president Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. -Kings Bay Plowshares SevenTrump pulled out of the INF last Friday, accusing Russian Federation of violating the agreement which prohibited the development of ground-based missiles with ranges between 310 and 3,417 miles. The U.S. has complained to Russian Federation about this missile as far back as the Obama administration but has not received a satisfactory explanation.

Russian Federation says they could also be used for attacks.

France is also concerned over North Korea's nuclear weapons programme and Iran's ballistic missile capabilities.

U.S. officials have emphasised their fear that China, which is not party to the treaty, is gaining a significant military advantage in Asia by deploying large numbers of missiles with ranges beyond the treaty's limit.

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

Given Russia is seen by the U.S. as having already breached the INF treaty by its deployment of a ground-launched cruise missile, designated the 9M729 or SSC-8, Moscow is clearly ahead in the race to field this previously banned category of weapons. Would it not also be developing, or already in possession of, the type of warheads that the Intermediate Range nuclear agreement has banned?

European leaders in particular are anxious about their continent becoming once again the center of heightened US-Russia tensions and the staging ground for an arms buildup between the two. The list would include India, Pakistan, Iran, and North Korea - making the USA condition for negotiating a new and improved INF hard at best.

"Over the same period, we will also have to create a land-based missile system with a long-range hypersonic missile".

For Japan, which depends substantially on the US for its national security, Washington's withdrawal from the treaty is not something it can criticize directly.

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