The Trump Administration announced Sunday that they intend to pull out of a nuclear arms treaty, inked with Russia during the Cold War, and accused Moscow of expanding their base of nuclear weapons in violation of the treaty.
President Donald Trump told members of the press late Saturday that the United States intends to seek a new deal with both Russia and China to put a halt to nuclear armament. China was not part of the original deal, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), authored in 1987 before China was officially a known nuclear power.
USA Today reports that the president seemed adamant about renegotiating the deal, much the same way the president has been about renegotiating trade deals.
“We’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” Trump said Saturday night, adding that the United States would pour more money into developing weapons if that’s what the situation requires.
“Russia has violated the agreement. They have been violating it for many years,” Trump added. “And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to.”
The INF is set to expire in two years anyway and is one of a number of small deals inked with Russia over the course of three decades. INF specifically prohibits the United States and Russia from testing rockets that could reach the other country’s shores.
Anti-nuclear activists immediately decried the decision and suggested that Trump was leading the nation into a second nuclear arms race — and this time with an additional country that could make the “Cold War” a three-way conflict. As with North Korea, left-leaning foreign policy experts immediately predicted that the United States would fall under nuclear threat.
But even USA Today, not entirely a bastion of conservative journalism, admitted that the INF is, at best, an inert agreement. The U.S. government has routinely accused Russia of violating the deal and developing long-range missiles with international capability, even as the INF prevents it, including a missile that could reach American coastal cities.
The president also expressed concern that countries not bound by the agreement, like China, were able to aggressively develop nuclear weapons outside of any oversight and without transparency.
“We’ll have to develop those weapons, unless Russia comes to us and China comes to us and they all come to us and say let’s really get smart and let’s none of us develop those weapons, but if Russia’s doing it and if China’s doing it, and we’re adhering to the agreement, that’s unacceptable,” Trump told reporters.
Trump added that he will not be the “only country” that abides by the 1987 agreement.