US reportedly poised to abandon key arms control treaty with Russia
“The Trump administration is moving to abandon the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, per multiple reports, removing a key arms control treaty between the United States and Russia. According to both The Guardian and The New York Times, national security adviser John Bolton has recommended the U.S. leave the agreement and will inform Russia of the move next week. The INF Treaty, signed between the U.S. and Russia in 1987, bans all land-based cruise missiles with a range between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. While the Obama administration had accused Moscow of violating the agreement, Pentagon officials have been more vocal under the Trump administration about their concerns.
The issue became public due to March 2017 comments from Gen. Paul Selva, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying Russia’s deployment of a ground-based cruise missile violated the agreement. Russia denied that, but since Selva’s speech, Defense Department officials have been increasingly outgoing with their concerns. To those officials, if Russia is violating the agreement while the U.S. is holding to its standards, it harms America’s defensive posture. With those concerns in mind, since coming to office, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis has been publicly ambivalent about the value of the treaty, particularly when asked about the agreement on Capitol Hill.”