Nuclear Bargaining Chips in a Protracted Arms Race

| Walter Pincus
Walter Pincus
Columnist, The Cipher Brief

OPINION — President Donald Trump’s recent threat to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) provides another false justification for adding to a needless, nuclear arms race that is already underway.

Yes, the United States has a right to protest the fact that the Russians are breaking limitations written into the INF treaty, which eliminated U.S. and Soviet nuclear systems with ranges of between 310 and 3,420 miles. Moscow’s development and deployment of a new, nuclear-capable, land-based, cruise missile with that kind of range, known in this country as the SSC-8, does violate the treaty.

But this should not be a reason for the U.S. to seek to build its own new generation of land–based, intermediate-range nuclear systems. The U.S. Air Force and Navy already have, or are building, nuclear weapons of intermediate-range that can handle that job.

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The Author is Walter Pincus

Walter Pincus is a Columnist and the Senior National Security Reporter at The Cipher Brief. He spent forty years at The Washington Post, writing on topics from nuclear weapons to politics.  In 2002, he and a team of Post reporters won the Pulitzer Price for national reporting. He also won an Emmy in 1981 and the 2010 Arthur Ross Award from the American Academy for Diplomacy.  He can be reached at wpincus@thecipherbrief.com.

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