This op-ed originally appeared in Defense One on Feb. 11, 2019.
Barring an 11th-hour diplomatic breakthrough that resolves Russian and U.S. concerns about the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, new arms control arrangements will be needed to avert a dangerous and costly new missile race in Europe.
On Feb. 2, both sides announced that they will suspend their obligations under the three-decade-old treaty, and will likely withdraw on August 2. This will scuttle the agreement that led to the verifiable elimination of 2,692 Soviet and U.S. missiles, helped end the Cold War, and paved the way to slash bloated strategic nuclear arsenals. Already, each side is accelerating their pursuit of new intermediate-range, ground-based missiles in Europe and beyond.
Russia has already deployed four battalions of its INF-noncompliant 9M729 ground-launched cruise missiles and could soon deploy more. Last week, the Kremlin said it would modify the naval Kalibr cruise missile for use by ground forces by next year. Russia’s under-development RS-26 ICBM could also be modified to fly at intermediate ranges.
Read the full op-ed in Defense One on Feb. 11, 2019.