February 01, 2019

U.S. to Suspend Obligations Under 1987 Nuclear Treaty With Russia

Featuring Elbridge Colby, and Eric Sayers

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Journalists Michael R. Gordon, Courtney McBride

The U.S. said it plans to withdraw from a 1987 nuclear treaty with Russia, setting up potential development of new missiles to counter China, current and former American officials said, and a fresh debate about Washington’s military posture in the Pacific.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday the U.S. would notify Russia on Saturday of its withdrawal from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty in six months if Moscow doesn’t destroy the 9M729 missiles, weapons that Washington asserts violate the Cold War-era accord.

Most arms-control experts see almost no chance of Moscow’s eliminating the nearly 100 9M729 missiles it has produced, along with their launchers, meaning the Cold War-era pact would end later this year.

But while arms-control proponents are lamenting the treaty’s potential collapse, some military experts say it would enable the U.S. to field new, conventionally armed missiles to counter China’s expanding military.

“This will allow the U.S. to pursue longer-range ground-based systems, thereby enlarging the target set the Chinese have to worry about and enabling the U.S. to better counter China,” said Mark Montgomery, a retired rear admiral who served at the U.S. military command in the Pacific.

Read the full article and more in The Wall Street Journal.

  • Elbridge Colby

    Director, Defense Program

    Elbridge Colby is the Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security, where he leads CNAS’ work on defense issues. Previously, Colby served as the D...

  • Eric Sayers

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Defense Program

    Eric Sayers is an Adjunct Senior Fellow for the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Throughout his career, Mr. Sayers has worked on a wide vari...