This op-ed originally appeared in The Hill, Oct. 25, 2018.
It appears that President Donald Trump’s hard-line security advisor, John Bolton, has persuaded him to renounce the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty signed by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.
At least in this case, unlike with Trump’s quixotic violation of the seven-party Iran nuclear deal, the administration can point to a treaty violation by the other party. But as a practical matter, unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the treaty is reckless and will have a similarly counterproductive and dangerous impact on U.S. national security.
Recent statements by Bolton and Defense Secretary Jim Mattissuggest that Russia’s alleged violation of the treaty, testing and deploying a prohibited ground-launched cruise missile (designated by NATO, the SSC-8), is the principal reason for the U.S. plan to withdraw. But Bolton is on record for advocating withdrawal from the INF Treaty years before Russian compliance concerns were raised.
Read the full op-ed in The Hill, Oct. 25, 2018.