At the annual conference of ASEAN, the organization of Southeast Asian countries held in Bangkok, Thailand, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told National Review that “the U.S. has triggered its formal withdrawal” from the INF Treaty.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) came about during the Reagan-Gorbachev diplomacy in the 1980’s that “proved the endgame of the Cold War.” When the Soviets deployed intermediate-range missiles that could hit NATO countries from the Soviet Union, the U.S. countered with its own missiles in Europe. This prompted President Ronald Reagan to propose a “zero option” to eliminate U.S. and Soviet missiles and the INF Treaty solidified such agreement.
However, diplomacy shows the Russians have been “flagrantly violating the treaty for years.” President Trump announced in October of 2018 that there was an imminent U.S. exit looming. Now, “It’s official: The U.S. is out of the INF Treaty” reports National Review.
Secretary Pompeo said of the violations:
six months ago now, after years of discussion with the Russians about their noncompliance, we put them on notice…not only the United States, but the European countries…we have all done our level best to convince the Russians that it was in their best interests to come back into compliance with the INF Treaty, and they have done literally nothing – literally nothing.
Withdrawing from the Treaty is intended to “stoke talk of a renewed U.S.-Russia arms race.” Pompeo said, “no one inside of NATO or the EU has any doubt” that there is extensive evidence of Russian cheating; “there is complete unanimity.”
An additional element to withdrawal is that the original treaty does not include China and their nuclear weapons “buildup.” National Review states that any talks on arms-control agreements today need to account for China. In regard to China Pompeo said, “President Trump has been pretty clear in saying that we really do need this other…significant nuclear power to be part of this conversation as well.” As for Russia, the Secretary of State said, “a two-party treaty with one party in compliance isn’t work a hell of a lot…and that’s where we unfortunately found ourselves.”