September 24, 2019 (missile treaty): Based on an article in the September 23, 2019 issue of The Nation.
I doubt many of us go to bed at night worrying about the INF Treaty. If you’re like me, you weren’t really even tuned in to its existence. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) was one of several commitments we crafted during the Cold War with the Soviet Union. The weapons it covered were for regional use, as opposed to intercontinental missiles, and could be armed with either nuclear or conventional warheads. By 1991, the deadline for weapon elimination under that treaty, 2,692 missiles had been destroyed. Their absence ratcheted down the likelihood of a nuclear war, arguably a good thing.
On August 2 of this year we withdrew from that treaty, thereby ending it. Our stated reason was that our Russian friends were violating the treaty and China was not really a party to it. So, rather than sit down and renegotiate terms, we simply walked away and, a little over two weeks later test-fired a new cruise missile. Amazing that we already had such weapons on hand isn’t it?
In response the House of Representatives voted to exclude funding for these new missiles in the 2020 National Defense Reauthorization Act. However, the GOP Senate is ready to fund them. Resolution of the disagreement will come when the two chambers try to resolve their differences. Are we on the cusp of a new arms race? Keep watching this site.