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The US withdraws from the INF treaty

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Those long steeped in arms-control issues — meaning they work on ensuring the reduction of nuclear risk and war in general — are very concerned about the agreement’s end.


The INF treaty “has been extremely successful in the destruction of a total of 2,692 missiles” within the specified range, says Bonnie Jenkins, formerly the coordinator for threat reduction programs at the State Department. “Instead of highlighting this accomplishment, we are opening up the possibility of a new arms race by destroying limitations set forth in the treaty. This is another step backwards in our arms-control relations with Russia.”


Jenkins’s comments underscore the arms control community’s main concern: that fewer limitations on Russia and the US building more missiles could escalate to the point that tensions spike along with the chances of nuclear bombs going off.


“When something like the INF goes down the drain almost like nothing, it shows you the degree to which people have forgotten the power of these weapons,” George Shultz, who served as Reagan’s secretary of state, told Voice of America on Thursday. ”One day it’ll be too late.”


But some experts are supportive of the Trump administration’s move.


For one, they say America shouldn’t constrain itself when Moscow brashly violates the treaty. It doesn’t help that Russian President Vladimir Putin last year proudly announced the construction of hypersonic cruise missiles, which he claims can hit any point on Earth and would render American missile defense “useless.”


But Moscow isn’t the only concern. A 2018 Pentagon report showed that Beijing has vastly improved its cruise-missile arsenal, which would likely make it harder for US warships to approach the country’s coast during a fight. Experts say that puts the US at a massive disadvantage in the event of an all-out fight with China and that it should be promptly reversed


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