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U.S pulls out of nuclear treaty with Russia

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News Analysis |

The United States of America has announced that it is walking off the nuclear treaty it signed with, then, the Soviet Union back in 1987 alleging that another side has not been abiding by its terms with the development of new, nuclear-capable missiles.

In a statement issued by White House, President Donald Trump has said that Russia has been violating the terms of agreement for too long without impunity and it would no longer be allowed the competitive edge in the military technology.

Russia has continued to deny the assertion that the missile is falling between the ranges of 500-5,500 Km and has, in fact, blamed the United States for violation of the treaty.

Hence, the U.S is not only abandoning the Intermediate Nuclear Forces or INF treaty but will also be pursuing the research and development of its own equivalent weaponry once the treaty officially becomes null and void, which would take six months after the formal announcement of withdrawal.

What is the INF Treaty?

Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty or INF, as it is generally known, was a pact signed between the United States of America and Soviet Union in 1987 to prohibit both sides from building the missiles having a range between 500-5,500 kilometers. The accord was a result of efforts carried out in the backdrop of heavy deployment of nuclear-capable missiles from both sides in Europe.

Read more: No support for the Global Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty?

Under the terms of the agreement, both sides were not only to inhibit from developing new missiles within this range but also to destroy the already existing arsenal under this category. Eventually, both sides ended up destroying 2692 short and intermediate range missiles by the implementation deadline of June 1, 1991.

The United States first started to raise its concern back in 2014 and from there on it has continued to accuse Russia of violating the treaty till this date. The reason cited in this regard was the development of a new missile, the Novator 9M729, or SSC-8 as NATO calls it, which the U.S believed to have the prohibited range. Russia has continued to deny the assertion that the missile is falling between the ranges of 500-5,500 Km and has, in fact, blamed the United States for violation of the treaty.

Contrary to the idealistic notions of global arms control, disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, the fact that the global powers that have an influence in geopolitical landscape signify the idea of might is right.

U.S undersecretary for Arms Control and International Security Andrea Thompson met with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov in Beijing ahead of the expiration of 60 days deadline enacted by the U.S in December 2018 to allow Russia to come in compliance with the treaty. But the meeting resulted in no breakthrough and the United States has decided to continue with its decision to come out of the treaty.

The Chinese Factor

Russian contemporary stretch in Europe, both economic and military, has been a cause of concern for the United States but another, and possibly, more grave reason to worry is China. The treaty is between Russia and the United States and China is not a party to it which means that the country is free to develop any sort weaponry it deems necessary or it wants.

Read more: Russia warns Trump over ‘dangerous’ plan to quit nuclear treaty

But since the U.S is bound by the constraints of the INF treaty, therefore, it is in no position to develop relevant weapons of its own to counter the Chinese upper hand in Asia. Hence, this is another reason for pulling out of the treaty but it remains vague.

Since China has the liberty of deploying these weapons and the range covers the entire Asia Pacific where the threat of U.S carriers and force lies. But for the United States, the dilemma is to where to place these weapons as even the friendly countries in the Asia Pacific are highly unlikely to allow their land to be used for this purpose.

Read more: Nuclear Treaty Pullout: US must ‘think twice’ says China

Contrary to the idealistic notions of global arms control, disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, the fact that the global powers that have an influence in geopolitical landscape signify the idea of might is right. And under this condition, the world will continue to be the hub of deadly and smart weapons capable of an all-out annihilation.

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