Senator Markey Statement on Trump Administration’s Announced INF Treaty Withdrawal

 

Washington (February 1, 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 on the Trump administration’s decision to declare Russia in material breach of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and announcement of its intent to  withdraw the United States from the accord in six months if Russia does not return to compliance.

 

“The Trump administration’s misguided decision to suspend U.S. obligations under the INF Treaty is a tragedy that makes the world less safe,” said Senator Markey. “President Trump and his war cabinet have yet again decided that America should go it alone, this time, by paving the way for a dangerous arms race, with costly new weapons. In doing so, they undercut our allies – essential to U.S. security and prosperity – and are playing squarely into Russia’s hands, giving it the perfect excuse to justify its well-documented noncompliance with the treaty. This approach demonstrates little thought for the long-term consequences and potentially throws away a seminal arms control treaty negotiated by a Republican president and ratified by the U.S. Senate 93 to 5 that for decades has fostered stability, transparency, and security.”

 

“And although China’s military modernization poses unique challenges in the Indo-Pacific, we have yet to hear from the Trump administration how this decision to suspend U.S. INF obligations is the right approach to this problem and how any deployment of INF-noncompliant weapons systems in the Indo-Pacific could be done responsibly and with the support of allies and partners in the region. This announcement is further evidence of President Trump’s disdain for treaties and raises fears that we will not renew the New START Treaty to limit nuclear weapons, with which Russia is complying.”

 

Since 1987, the INF Treaty has eliminated ground-launched missile systems with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, which had enabled the Soviet Union to target Europe with nuclear cruise missiles. The treaty, negotiated by President Ronald Reagan, was the first to ban an entire class of nuclear weapon. The United States has openly recognized Russia’s noncompliance with its INF Treaty commitments since 2014, when it began confronting Russia for developing and testing a new ground-launched missile that fell within this range.

 

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