ASSESSMENTS

Farewell to an Arms Treaty

MIN READFeb 27, 2017 | 09:15 GMT

An intermediate-range ballistic missile with a nuclear warhead, known as the RSD-10 Pioneer, deployed by the Soviet Union from 1976 to 1988 and withdrawn from service under the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

(Wikimedia Commons)

A long-embattled arms control pact signed by Moscow and Washington in 1987 took its biggest hit yet this month. On Feb. 14, allegations emerged that the Russians had deployed operational units equipped with missiles that violate the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). In response, three U.S. senators introduced the INF Preservation Act, which among other measures calls for the United States to develop its own prohibited missiles. The precarious state of the treaty adds urgency to questions about the potential consequences of its demise, particularly since both countries have growing incentives to abandon the pact. Withdrawal by either Moscow or Washington would compel a rapid build-up of short- and medium-range missiles by both militaries, a surge of investment in missile defense, and a boost to U.S. capabilities in the Western Pacific....

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