President Trump last year announced the U.S. would withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. That made sense because Russia was violating the pact and China, which was not a signatory, had exploited it to undermine the U.S. conventional military edge in Asia.
Some in Congress who objected to Mr. Trump’s decision are trying to nullify it by defunding conventional weapons covered by the soon-to-be defunct treaty. The House voted largely on party lines last month to zero out research and development for conventional intermediate-range missiles. If they prevail, it will heighten the risk of nuclear war.
The best way to reduce the chance of nuclear confrontation with great-power competitors is by having conventional forces able to repel any invasion of U.S. allies, and conventional ground-based missile systems would help. Nor would they undermine any efforts to manage nuclear risks. The original INF pact was essentially about nuclear weapons; conventional missiles were included largely for verification reasons. The R&D funding the House zeroed out wasn’t even prohibited under the treaty.
Read the full article in The Wall Street Journal.
More from CNAS
CommentaryNuclear Risks: Russia’s Ukraine War Could End in Disaster
The likelihood of nuclear use in Ukraine may be low, but it is not zero....
By Rachel Tecott & Giles David Arceneaux
CommentaryStrange Debacle: Misadventures In Assessing Russian Military Power
Russia’s botched invasion of Ukraine has befuddled most defense analysts and Russia experts....
By Chris Dougherty
ReportsDangerous Straits: Wargaming a Future Conflict over Taiwan
Download the full PDF Executive Summary Until recently, U.S. policymakers and subject matter experts have viewed the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC’s) forcible unification ...
By Stacie Pettyjohn, Becca Wasser & Chris Dougherty
PodcastPresident Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits front lines as fighting intensifies
In Ukraine, the most intense fighting is happening in the eastern part of the country in a region called the Donbas. Right now, Russia is trying to take control of a town call...
By Chris Dougherty