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
CommentaryThe state of acquisition is in need of better coordination
The U.S. defense enterprise has been in a near-constant state of acquisition reform since the 1980s. Although it has been a top Pentagon priority, expected competition with Ch...
By Susanna V. Blume & Mikhail Grinberg
VideoCNAS: Bold Ideas for National Security
This year, CNAS experts brought bold ideas and bipartisan cooperation to the national security conversation. In 2020, the CNAS team will continue tackling the biggest security...
By Susanna V. Blume, Kara Frederick, Kayla M. Williams, Loren DeJonge Schulman, Richard Fontaine, Kristine Lee, Andrea Kendall-Taylor, Ely Ratner, Paul Scharre, Elizabeth Rosenberg & Carrie Cordero
ReportsMake Good Choices, DoD
In a new report, Susanna V. Blume and Molly Parrish offer a deep dive into how the U.S. Department of Defense makes decisions about what the U.S. military needs, what to buy a...
By Susanna V. Blume & Molly Parrish
VideoResults of the second Pentagon audit
Bob Hale discusses takeaways from the Department of Defense’s latest audit, and the impacts it’s having on the agency’s culture.Watch the full conversation on Government Matte...
By Robert F. Hale