Tearing up the INF will mark return to Cold War-style nuclear weapons escalation

Tearing up the INF will mark return to Cold War-style nuclear weapons escalation

CND Press Release

CND Conference 2018 in Bristol this weekend condemned Donald Trump’s INF (Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty) withdrawal announcement, and called for popular action to prevent a return to Cold War nuclear escalation.

Kate Hudson, CND general secretary, said:

“This is a reckless move by Trump. Tearing up the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty will mark the end of the restraints on nuclear arsenals achieved in the 1980s. The danger is that we will see spiralling arsenals on a Cold War scale.

“We utterly condemn the Defence Secretary’s comment that the British government’s support for the US administration at this time is ‘absolutely resolute’. Britain should be voicing strong opposition to this dangerous move rather than fanning the flames that can lead to nuclear war.

“This is just the latest in a growing list of rash US positions. Only this month we saw the US ambassador to NATO threaten to use force to ‘take out’ Russian missiles in breach of the treaty. Trump has already broken received wisdom on nuclear weapons, deeming them no longer ‘defensive’ weapons but weapons that can be used in conventional warfare scenarios. Trump announced a move to develop so-called ‘usable’ nuclear weapons earlier this year.

“Trump has also withdrawn from the successful Iran nuclear deal and there is speculation that the New START Treaty signed by Obama and Medvedev may be next. We also recall the US withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 which has done so much to damage US-Russia relations and hinder the possibility of major arms reductions.

“The INF Treaty was in large part a result of massive international protest against nuclear escalation in the 1980s, including CND protests against cruise missiles which mobilised hundreds of thousands of people. The iconic Greenham peace camp was part of that wave of protest. We stand resolutely against this return to the nuclear escalation of the Cold War and we call on all peoples once again to reject thsee moves.”

From the BBC:

What is the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty?

  • Signed by the US and the USSR in 1987, the arms control deal banned all nuclear and non-nuclear missiles with short and medium ranges, except sea-launched weapons
  • The US had been concerned by the Soviet deployment of the SS-20 missile system and responded by placing Pershing and Cruise missiles in Europe – sparking widespread protests
  • By 1991, nearly 2,700 missiles had been destroyed. Both countries were allowed to inspect the others installations
  • In 2007, Russian president Vladimir Putin declared the treaty no longer served Russia’s interests. The move came after the US withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002

‘A significant setback’

Analysis by BBC defence and diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus

Concern about Russia’s development and deployment of a missile system that breaches the INF treaty predates the Trump administration. But the president’s decision to walk away from the agreement marks a significant setback for arms control.

Many experts believe that negotiations should have continued to try to bring the Russians back into compliance. It is, they fear, part of the wider unravelling of the whole system of arms control treaties that helped to curb strategic competition during the Cold War.

Other factors too may have played into President Trump’s decision. This was a bilateral treaty between Washington and Moscow. China was free to develop and deploy intermediate range nuclear missiles. Some in the Trump administration feel that the INF treaty places them at a growing disadvantage in their developing strategic rivalry with Beijing .

From the Guardian:

Ditching nuclear arms treaty would be dangerous step, Russia warns US