The pressure game between US and Moscow has once again erupted, spreading its lava all around. John Bolton, the national security advisor to Donald Trump is now pressurizing the US to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.
It is expected that as he pays visit to Moscow on October 22-23, the withdrawal could be confirmed. Russia has been violating the terms with development of a new cruise missile, the grounds on which, John Bolton sees a plausible exit from the treaty.
However, doing so would completely turn the tables against the US.
The INF is going through a rough patch and the congressionally imposed deadline next year requires the president to convey to the Senate by 15 January, if Russia is in “material breach” of the treaty or not.
The US-Moscow Debate
The Treaty was signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Regan, according to which, all US and Soviet-Union land-based ballistic and cruise missiles, ranging between 500 and 5,500 kilometers should be banned. This further resulted in destruction of nearly 2,700 missiles as well as their launchers, giving US- Soviet relationship a boost as Cold Wars erupted.
However, back in 2014, Obama’s administration charged Russia with violation of the treaty. US claimed Russia violated the terms by testing ground-launched cruise missile of the intermediate range. Trump administration officials in 2017 also charged that Russia had begun deploying the missile, known as the 9M729.
However, in December 2017, Washington tried to settle the dispute and announced an “integrated strategy”. A comprehensive plan, which has completely failed to provide a solution.
An Ocean of Problems for the US
John Bolton looks adamant on withdrawing out from the INF treaty. Therefore, if US decides to withdraw, it would probably label them as the killers of treaty. Further, as the pact comes to end, there would then be no limits for Russia to test its ground-launched cruise missiles. Only alleged up till this point, the 9M729 missile could then seriously and easily travel the extremes Russia wants.
US would also end up losing big numbers with its European allies and others who feel Russia never actually violated the terms. Correspondingly, no European leader has yet raised a question on Kremlin, and there is a little chance anyone would do that.
Ironically, adding ‘cheery on the cake’, the US has no missile that it could use to match the Russians. Also, if Pentagon were to build a missile, it would take them ample amount of time, which the US does not have up its sleeve.
So, in this ‘loss-loss situation’ it is important that US rethinks because the next step they take, might very well trigger celebrations in Russia.