Foreign Policy

Donald The Dove Plans to Withdraw From a Nuclear Weapons Treaty

Written by SK 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?