Fifty years ago, shortly after the conclusion of the 1968 nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), the United States and the Soviet Union launched the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT). Negotiated in the midst of severe tensions, the SALT agreement and the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty were the first restrictions on the superpowers’ massive strategic offensive weapons, as well as on their emerging strategic defensive systems. The SALT agreement and the ABM Treaty slowed the arms race and opened a period of U.S.-Soviet detente that lessened the threat of nuclear war.
U.S. and Russian officials see no quick and easy extension to New START.
Treaty-prohibited missiles to be tested after INF Treaty termination.
In the absence of active U.S.-Russian efforts to resolve disagreements over the INF Treaty, other nations may be
able to lead the way toward preventing a new arms race.
The INF Treaty crisis threatens far more than the INF Treaty.
Every U.S. president since John Kennedy has successfully concluded at least one agreement with Russia or the Soviet Union to reduce nuclear dangers. These agreements have helped to slash nuclear stockpiles, manage nuclear competition, and provide greater stability, thereby reducing the risk of nuclear catastrophe between the world’s two largest nuclear actors.
History of the INF Treaty between the United States and Russia and details on potential violations by Russia
The INF Treaty crisis is a global security problem. Nations will need to step forward with creative and pragmatic solutions that create the conditions necessary to ensure that the world’s two largest nuclear actors meet their legal obligations to end the arms race and reduce nuclear threats.
The difficulties of getting to “yes” on an agreement to extend New START, much less a subsequent strategic
nuclear arms control accord, should not be underestimated.