President Donald Trump is once again giving Russian dictator Vladimir Putin exactly what he wants by choosing to withdraw the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, a move that would spark an arms race and put Europe in grave danger.
Former President Ronald Reagan signed the landmark treaty with former Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, banning the development and use of land-based nuclear missiles that can travel between 300 and 3,400 miles.
The historic treaty helped pave the way toward the end of the Cold War and gave our European allies a measure of protection from a specific military threat they had long feared.
But Trump is accusing Russia of violating the treaty, and rather than use mechanisms to counter Russia, Trump is giving Putin the green light by declaring his intention to rip up yet another longstanding international agreement.
“Russia has violated the agreement,” Trump said on Air Force One on Saturday. “They’ve been violating it for many years.”
He then blamed former President Obama for it”
“And I don’t know why President Obama didn’t negotiate or pull out. And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to. We’re the ones that have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honored the agreement. But Russia has not, unfortunately, honored the agreement. So we’re going to terminate the agreement. We’re gonna pull out.”
Trump then demanded new negotiations that include China, but Russia and China have to go to him first.
“Unless Russia comes to us and China comes to us and they all come to us and say, ‘Let’s really get smart and let’s none of us develop those weapons.’ But if Russia’s doing it and if China’s doing it and we’re adhering to the agreement, that’s unacceptable,” he concluded.
But it’s unlikely China or Russia would just come to the negotiating table, especially since Trump is untrustworthy and has a habit of breaking deals or demanding a deal that makes negotiations an uphill battle.
Retired Rear Admiral John Kirby criticized Trump’s decision to withdraw from the treaty, warning that it was “designed to provide a measure of some strategic stability on the continent of Europe.”
“I suspect our European allies right now are none too happy about hearing that President Trump intends to pull out of it,” Kirby said, going on to point out that Trump is falling right into Putin’s hands.
“This gives Putin an excuse to just continue doing what he’s doing, only doing it more blatantly,” he said.
The United States should not just pull out of a deal without trying other options to get Russia back in line with the terms of the treaty. This is too important of a treaty to rip up and go back to the drawing board. And that’s if Trump actually wants to renegotiate it. His obsession with nuclear weapons in well-documented, and he once refused to rule out using nuclear weapons in Europe.
This is also the second nuclear deal that Trump has withdrawn from this year alone, the first being the Iran nuclear deal. And he’s being duped by North Korea into believing they will denuclearize as Kim Jong-Un strengthens his own arsenal and capability.
At this rate, it won’t be long before the world faces a nuclear catastrophe. And when it happens, it will be because of Trump and his incompetence.
Featured Image: Wikimedia