On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, echoing the Trump Administration’s hard line toward Russia, announced that the United States would give Russia 60 days to comply with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, or the U.S. will walk away from the agreement.
As National Review reported:
The agreement prohibits countries from possessing ground-launched short range (310-620 miles) and intermediate-range (620-3,420 miles) nuclear and non-nuclear missiles. New missiles Russia has been testing appear to fall within the treaty’s prohibition, and would make it uncomplicated for Russia to launch a nuclear attack on NATO countries.
NATO released a statement reading:
Allies have concluded that Russia has developed and fielded a missile system, the 9M729, which violates the INF Treaty and poses significant risks to Euro-Atlantic security. We strongly support the finding of the United States that Russia is in material breach of its obligations under the INF Treaty. We call on Russia to return urgently to full and verifiable compliance. It is now up to Russia to preserve the INF Treaty.
Pompeo was speaking after meetings with NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, Belgium. He stated, ““In light of these facts, the United States today declares it has found Russia in material breach of the treaty and will suspend our obligations as a remedy effective in 60 days unless Russia returns to full and verifiable compliance. … We either bury our head in the sand or we take common-sense action.”
In October, President Trump announced he planned to “terminate” the INF Treaty. After an October 20 campaign rally in Elko, Nevada, Trump stated, “Russia has violated the agreement; they have been violating it for many years. And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to.”
Pompeo also took a tough stance defending Trump’s foreign policy, asserting:
Under President Trump, we are not abandoning international leadership or our friends in the international system, indeed quite the contrary. Critics in places like Iran and China – who really are undermining the international order — are saying the Trump Administration is the reason this system is breaking down. They claim America is acting "unilaterally" instead of "multilaterally," as if every kind of multilateral action is by definition desirable. Even our European friends sometimes say we’re not acting in the free world’s interest. This is just plain wrong.
Pompeo added: “We want our friends to help us and to exert their sovereignty as well. We aspire to make the international order serve our citizens .… America intends to lead, now and always … every nation must honestly acknowledge its responsibilities to its citizens and ask if the current international order serves the good of its people as well as it could. If not, we must ask how we can right it. This is what President Trump is doing. He is returning the United States to its traditional, central leadership role in the world.”
Pompeo concluded, “Let’s work together to preserve the free world so that it continues to serve the interests of the people to whom we’re accountable. Let’s do so in a way that creates international organizations that are agile, that deliver on mission, that create value for the world.”