Global Zero on US Ending INF Treaty: ‘Hard to Imagine a Worse Approach’

WASHINGTON, DC — According to news reports, recent talks to save the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between Russia and the United States have failed and the United States will stop complying with, and likely withdraw from the treaty on February 2.

The move would mean both the United States and Russia would be free to immediately begin developing treaty-prohibited weapons systems, further escalate nuclear tensions. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to officially announce the withdrawal from the treaty on February 2.

In response, Derek Johnson, executive director of Global Zero, the international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons, issued the following statement:

“If this administration doesn’t want Russia to build INF-banned weapons, it’s hard to imagine a worse approach than suspending the agreement. At best, the White House has let Russia off the hook and shifted blame for the diplomatic breakdown to the United States; at worst, they’re running headlong into an avoidable arms race that nobody wants or can afford.

“There is no need for the U.S. to develop these weapons. Negotiators should continue to pursue  reasonable solutions that eliminate Russia’s alleged violations. There is no need to rush, and the premature death of the INF Treaty is counter-productive and dangerous.

“Flipping over the negotiating table and storming out of the room may have worked in real estate, but when you’re dealing with nuclear treaties, the risk of misplaying your hand isn’t a failed business venture – it’s an arms race and possibly nuclear war. The administration’s decision does nothing to make America safer and does not bode well for the future of nuclear arms control.

In October, Global Zero’s Derek Johnson published a piece on outlining the dangerous consequences of terminating the INF Treaty.