President Donald Trump allowed a profoundly important agreement to expire this month — the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Analysts fear a new nuclear arms race will follow.
Trump’s score card on other international deals so far is 1 out of 5. Now he’s promising a better deal on nuclear missiles.
He has no deal with North Korea, no deal with Iran; he and China are still in a trade war, and he’s failed to get other Pacific rim nations to sign onto a trade agreement to replace the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). Why believe this latest withdrawal from an international agreement will end differently?
Except for North Korea, he created his own paucity of victories by withdrawing from agreements, then failing to replace them despite promises to do so. The one exception: he negotiated NAFTA 2.0.
The U.S. accuses Russia of violating the treaty. But hasn’t Trump’s record demonstrated that rather than throwing out agreements wholesale, he should first attempt to reach accord under the protection of existing vessels? The real dealmakers were Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev who signed the INF in 1987.
Alarming fact: Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton is a known critic of the nuclear treaty most important to U.S. safety, New START, which covers long range missiles. If New START expires there will be no legally binding limits on the world’s two largest strategic arsenals for the first time since 1972. Elect a different president in 2020 — before START expires in 2021.