Foreign Policy

Donald The Dove Plans to Withdraw From a Nuclear Weapons Treaty

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The New York Times first reported over the weekend that the Trump regime is planning to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) treaty, a pact signed in 1987 that limited deployment of nuclear weapons.

Trump is reportedly going to argue that withdrawing from the treaty is necessary to join an arms race with China.

The Trump administration is preparing to tell Russian leaders next week that it is planning to exit the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, in part to enable the United States to counter a Chinese arms buildup in the Pacific, according to American officials and foreign diplomats. [...]

The White House said that no official decision had been made to leave the treaty, known as I.N.F., which at the time of its signing was considered a critical step in defusing Cold War tensions. But in the coming weeks, Mr. Trump is expected to sign off on the decision, which would mark the first time he has scrapped an arms control treaty, the American officials said.

There's a lot going on here, but what immediately jumped out to me is that this was one of Ronald Reagan’s signature accomplishments. The Republican party as we know it today hasn't been the "party of Reagan" in a long time, but they've now circled 'round back to withdrawing from Reagan's treaties. Trump is probably going to say the treaty was a "bad deal," just like he always does, but this won't be a Democrat's deal he's withdrawing from.

Now, all things considered, it's still possible this won't happen. Trump says and does a lot of things that didn't happen and never will happen, so it would be reasonable to be skeptical until we see an official announcement.

With that said, I think he'll go through with this. Trump probably thinks this is a macho move that will place more pressure on China to give in to his nondescript trade demands. It's more likely they'll simply shrug.

Speaking of which, the whole world will have another reason to shrug the next time Trump or other American officials point fingers at Iran or even North Korea who, last time I checked, is still closely aligned with China. It may be true that Russia has been violating the INF for years, but if Trump decides to formally abandon it, that's on him.

How can we demand that other countries abandon their nuclear weapons programs if we forge ahead with another buildup?

  • muselet

    Charlie Pierce this morning:

    This has to be Bolton. Or Pompeo. Or both. Kelly’s too smart for this reckless nonsense and the president* doesn’t know a Pershing missile from a wombat. In any case, it’s a profoundly perilous and stupid thing for the United States to do, injecting the old Cold War into whatever it is we have for an international order these days. Like I said, this combination of ambition and idiocy has to be Bolton.

    Mikhail Gorbachev said Donald Trump’s decision was not the work of “a great mind,” which shows us all exactly how to throw shade, as the kids say.

    Blowing up everything Barack Obama did makes a sociopathic sort of sense, since Obama made fun of Trump at the White House Correspondents Dinner ‘way back in 2011. Blowing up one of Ronald Reagan’s achievements is simply nuts.

    I don’t think anyone except Trump’s adoring fans will find this decision anything but alarming.


  • katanahamon

    Unless the adults put the brakes on this guy..get used to everything being torn up.

  • gescove

    “How can we demand that other countries abandon their nuclear weapons programs if we forge ahead with another buildup?” Pick any issue and our stature and leverage has been decimated by the Orange Regime in the same fashion: climate change, human rights, free elections, treaty commitments, basic decency, you name it. Everything about our legitimacy on the world stage has been tarnished and sullied by Dotard Squatter currently in the White House.