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
PodcastU.S And 25 Other Nations To Participate In Huge Joint Training Exercise
Last year the pandemic derailed large-scale war gaming – this year it's back with a vengeance. The U.S. military is taking part in a massive joint training exercise across Eur...
By Becca Wasser & Jay Price
ReportsMaking Sense of Cents
Executive Summary This report contextualizes the Biden administration’s discretionary funding request for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) in fiscal year (FY) 2022, referr...
By Stacie Pettyjohn & Becca Wasser
CommentarySharper: The Next 100 Days
As the administration marks its 100th day in office, what lies ahead?...
By Anna Pederson & Chris Estep
CommentaryAmerica’s Military Risks Losing Its Edge
Much about the way the Pentagon operates continues to reflect business as usual, which is inadequate to meet the growing threats posed by a rising China and a revisionist Russ...
By Michèle Flournoy