Tensions between the United States and Russia took a turn for the worse on Saturday afternoon when President Donald Trump announced he would be withdrawing the United States from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed between the United States and Russia in the Cold War era.
“We’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” he said.”Russia has violated the agreement. They have been violating it for many years. And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons and we’re not allowed to.”
The president also said that the United States would develop the weapons prohibited by the treaty unless Russia and China — a party that was never involved in the treaty — agree to a new one.
The treaty, signed in 1987, forbids producing or test-flying ground-launched cruise missiles that can range up to 3,400 miles.
The news comes as President Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton will be in Eastern Europe this week, with his first stop in Moscow, where he is set to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev.
While President Trump withdrawing from this treaty, along with his comments, is alarming, he has managed to broker new trade agreements by first withdrawing from the ones he deemed to be detrimental to the United States. However in those cases, the stakes have been relatively low, purely economic. Here, the stakes include world destruction. If President Trump manages to sign a new deal with Russia and include China in the process, it will be one of his biggest successes.