Washington (August 2, 2019) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a long-time Congressional leader on nuclear arms control and nonproliferation issues, released the following statement condemning the Trump administration’s official withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The United States had openly recognized Russia’s noncompliance with its INF Treaty commitments since 2014. In December 2018, the Trump administration announced its intention to withdraw rather than to continue the Obama administration’s work to bring Russia back into compliance.
“The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty helped foster decades of stability and security throughout Europe by banning weapons that could spark a nuclear conflict within minutes,” said Senator Markey. “But instead of using Russia’s well-documented non-compliance against it to force a diplomatic resolution, President Trump has decided it is easier simply to dismantle the global arms control regime previous Republican and Democratic presidents spent decades building to keep America and our allies and partners safe. He has done so without truly consulting these same allies – often forcing them to retroactively support bad policies that will most significantly impact their security – and in a way that is fanning the flames of a new, global arms race.
“Sadly, we have no time to mourn the demise of this historic agreement. John Bolton began his lifelong quest to dismantle the global arms control when he helped withdraw the United States from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 and appears to be pressing President Trump to end the New START Treaty, the last remaining cap on the two largest, most destructive nuclear arsenals in the world. It will not matter that Russia is complying with New START, that our partners and allies globally believe it should be extended until 2026, or that our own Intelligence Community and Defense Department believe it is in our national security interest to do so. Instead, the Trump administration may be manufacturing reasons New START cannot or should not be extended, and if they are allowed to succeed, we will return to the opacity, paranoia, and instability that fueled a Cold War nuclear arms race that more than once almost destroyed the world.
“The Trump administration should immediately extend New START, not only for its present national security benefits, but also to make clear to China and others that stability, transparency, verifiability, and accountability are nonnegotiable principles America will apply to reinvigorating its global arms control agenda in the years ahead. If the Trump administration will not, I urge Congress to pass my SAVE Act legislation to preserve the New START Treaty.”
In May, Senator Markey introduced the Save Arms Control and Verification Efforts (SAVE) Act, legislation that calls for the United States to extend New START and would specifically prohibit any funding to increase the U.S. strategic nuclear arsenal and forces above New START Treaty limits on the numbers of U.S. nuclear warheads and delivery systems through February 5, 2026 if the President does not extend or attempts to withdraw from New START.