US President & Reality TV mogul Donald Trump has said that the United States of America is pulling out of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with immediate effect.
Trump also accused Russia of violating the treaty for years so the US would not let Russia “go out and do weapons we’re not allowed to”.
Signed in 1987, the INF Treaty was designed to eliminate intermediate nuclear weapons, such as Cruise missiles, which could strike targets at very short notice. In the UK the treaty was responsible for getting rid of the Ground Launched Cruise Missiles (GLCM) based at RAF Greenham Common and RAF Molesworth ultimately leading to their closure.
Russia had been accused of rbreaching the treaty in 2014 when President Obama said that Russia had tested a new intermediate range nuclear capable missile and the US continue to insist that the medium-range missile called the the Novator 9M729, NATO codename SSC-8, is in breach of the treaty.
As pulling out of the treaty could potentially spark a new arms race the US decided not to withdraw from the treaty in 2014 but Trump has never been one to reserved and has decided that the US should be able to build its own medium range missiles.
Russia has always continued to focus on its Nuclear forces as this is a much cheaper option long term than conventional forces with their budgets under pressure and it has said little about its new missiles apart from to deny they are in breach of the treaty.
Russia state news said that the Russian foreign ministry source said the move by Trump was motivated by the US’s goal to be only global superpower.
China is also believed to have been a factor in Trump’s decision to withdraw as when the treaty was signed in 1987 by President Reagan and Premier Gorbachev only the two superpowers had these weapons. As china is not a signatory it is free to develop these intermediate weapons.
In 2007 Russia openly declared the INF treaty didn’t serve the interest of Russia and it is believed to be at this point that according to the US it decided to develop new intermediate range weapons, despite not pulling out of the treaty.
This is not the first time that the US has pulled out of a treaty post Cold War. In 2002, President Bush withdrew from the Anti Ballistic Missile treaty which banned the development of weapons designed to counter ballistic missiles.
The move by Trump is the latest clear indication that that Cold War is freezing once again and we firmly in Cold War 2.0, this time it isn’t just the US & Russia – the Middle East and China are involved this time too.