Are Russia and America Headed for a ‘Missile’ Showdown?

    Dave Majumdar

    Security, Europe

    The INF Treaty drama is back. 

    The United States has been discussing ways to coax the Kremlin back into compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with other members of the NATO alliance in Brussels.

    “The discussion included a consideration of the Russian Federation’s violations of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty and our collective efforts to bring Russia back into compliance with the INF,” U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters during a press conference at NATO headquarters.

    “This is absolutely necessary to sustain confidence in arms control agreements.  And we’re doing so in a substantial, transparent and verifiable fashion.”

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    The 1987 treaty, which bans the United States and Russia from possessing ground-launched missiles with ranges of between 500 kilometers and 5,500 kilometers, is credited by many including former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack Matlock as marking the beginning of the end of the Cold War. The landmark treaty, which will mark its 30th anniversary on December 8, is in danger of collapse given Russia’s alleged violation and Congressional language that has been inserted into the fiscal year 2018 National Defense Authorization Act.

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    Though the Senate and the House are still ironing out the differences in their two versions of the bill, Section 1635 of the FY2018 NDAA would require the Pentagon to start development of a new missile that falls within INF ranges if Russia continues to violate the treaty. The bill also authorizes $ 58 million toward the development of such a weapon.

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