Written by Brynn Slicer and Rebecca Satzberg.
The United States has accused Russia of violating the Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and is threatening to withdraw from the treaty. NATO has also supported the accusations and is asking Russia to immediately stop and follow the treaty again. Russia has denied their breach of treaty, but this is not the first time they have been accused. In 2014 President Obama also accused Russia of violating after Russia allegedly tested a ground-launched cruise missile. This time Russia is using what is perceived as a cheaper alternative by producing medium-range missiles that could strike NATO countries. The US Secretary of State has threatened Russia with 60 days to return to compliance or they will withdraw.
This is a game of brinksmanship, with a continues escalation between Russia and the US. First Russia has supposedly violated the INF treaty, then the US has threatened to withdraw from the treaty. Russia can next choose to stop complying or begin complying again, which the US can then choose to withdraw or not. Both countries can continue to test each other and forgo treaties, which can lead to either total destruction or intervention from the UN. If both countries were to stop the game of brinksmanship and resume or create a new treaty in order to restore regulations this could potentially have a higher payoff than continuing the game. Russia would be better off with new regulations that they feel better suits them, the US would be better off if Russia were not to violate the treaty, and the UN would be better off if both countries negotiated on their own while keeping everyones safety in mind.
Nuclear weapons will be a threat to the entire world as long as they exist, and while Russia’s latest missiles may only reach NATO countries, it poses a threat to everyone’s security. The US will not be as safe with Russia having such weapons and testing them. Russia failing to comply also shows that they are forgoing current treaties, and Putin has stated in the past that the INF no longer applies to Russia. If Russia fails to comply and the US does withdraw it will cause an even larger threat to homeland security. Without the structure and guidelines for both countries to follow, how does the US move forward to ensure everyone’s safety? The US must keep up with Russia’s expansion of nuclear missiles in order to protect the country and find ways for both countries to continue to keep global security in mind.