Foreign Policy

U.S. Pulls Out of INF Treaty

The president follows through on his threat to withdraw from missile treaty with Russia.

National Security Desk · Feb. 4, 2019

President Donald Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. will withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) missile treaty it formed with the former Soviet Union and subsequent Russian Federation in 1987. The reason for the decision, Trump noted, was due to the fact that Russia had failed to uphold its end of the bargain. “We cannot be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty, or any other,” Trump declared.

He further added, “For arms control to effectively contribute to national security, all parties must faithfully implement their obligations. We stand ready to engage with Russia on arms control negotiations that meet these criteria, and, importantly, once that is done, develop, perhaps for the first time ever, an outstanding relationship on economic, trade, political and military levels. This would be a fantastic thing for Russia and the United States, and would also be great for the world.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo explained, “We provided Russia an ample window of time to mend its ways and for Russia to honor its commitment. Tomorrow that time runs out.” On Saturday, the U.S. formally notified Moscow that it is in “material breach” of the INF treaty and announced our withdrawal. Pompeo further noted that our NATO allies have “stood with us in our mission to uphold the rule of law and protect our people.”

This decision has been a long time coming, as the U.S. first accused Russia of failing to live up to the agreement in 2014 and has subsequently attempted 35 times to diplomatically encourage Moscow’s compliance — to no avail. So much for “collusion.”

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