On Friday, the US will officially be out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, after a six-month withdrawal period. The INF treaty was signed between the US and Soviet Union in 1987, it prohibits the US and Russia from developing land based and cruise missiles with a range of 310 to 3,410 miles.
The US accused Russia of developing a missile that would violate the deal, although Russia denied the accusation and said it was under the distance restricted in the INF. Shortly after Trump announced he would be pulling out of the INF, Russia announced they would be too.
The Pentagon has requested $10 million in its fiscal 2020 budget to missiles within the INF range. In March, the Pentagon announced they would be testing a new missile in August, with a potential range of just over 600 miles. It looks like a new medium-range arms race will start between the two countries.
As the INF is set to expire, National Security Advisor John Bolton already has his eyes on the next treaty to tear up. The New START treaty between the US and Russia was signed under the Obama administration and limits the number of nuclear warheads each country has deployed at 1,550. The New START treaty is set to expire in February 2021. On Tuesday, Bolton said the deal was “flawed from the beginning” and “unlikely to be extended.” The excuse is that the US wants China to be included in the deal but doubt they will comply. China is believed to have about 290 nuclear warheads, far fewer than the 1,550 cap.
A Russian diplomat told a disarmament conference in Geneva this week that the US will exit the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) based on the false pretext that Russia was violating the treaty. The CTBT prohibits tests of nuclear weapons. The US denied the claim and chalked it up to “Crafty, Soviet-like propaganda.” Although the Russian diplomat’s claims are not baseless, the US did recently accuse Russia of not complying with the CTBT, which is how the withdrawal from the INF started.