Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Other Treaty on Chopping Block

A fierce Debate is brewing inside the Trump Administration over whether to Withdraw from another International Treaty, this one a Cornerstone Disarmament Pact with Russia Banning an entire class of Nuclear Missiles.

The Russian Military in February was Accused yet again of Violating the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which Eliminated U.S. and Soviet Missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers, by Deploying a Battalion of Banned Weapons on Europe’s Periphery. The Obama Administration first reported in 2014 that Russia had Tested the Banned Missile.

Leading Republican Hawks are pushing Legislation to compel President Trump to take steps to develop New Missiles in response, the first steps to jettisoning what is known as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) Treaty, Signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev. House Armed Services Strategic Forces Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Ala.), whose Committee oversees Nuclear Weapons, said he thinks it is “irresponsible for us to continue to adhere to a treaty when the only other participant has long moved on from it.”

But there are serious questions inside the Pentagon, State Department, and the White House National Security Council, and loud Warnings from the Architects of the Pact, about the consequences of such a move, which some say could Spark a full-blown Arms Race.

Spokespeople for the Defense and State Departments said the INF Treaty remains "in the national security interest of the United States" and called on Russia to Return to Full Compliance. The Pentagon, in a previously Unpublished Report to Congress last year, explicitly cautioned against Pulling out of the Treaty, saying Russia's Compliance "remains the preferable outcome, which argues against unilateral U.S. withdrawal from or abrogation of the INF Treaty at this time."

But as the Trump Administration undertakes a Review of the Entire American Nuclear posture, one Focus is on whether the U.S. should remain in the Treaty. “There’s a growing concrete threat that’s being presented to us, to our forces, to our allies and friends … by this new system,” Christopher Ford, Senior Director for Weapons of Mass Destruction and Counter-Proliferation on the National Security Council, recently told the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, referring to the Prohibited Russian Missiles. “We need to do more to ensure … that Russia doesn’t obtain a military advantage from its violation.”

However, many leading Arms Control Advocates from both Parties say that responding in kind could have even more Dire Consequences.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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