Trump plans to quit nuclear arms treaty

US President Trump wants to withdraw from the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The agreement between the US and the former Soviet Union committed the two countries to a ban on mid-range missiles and was viewed as a milestone on the path to ending the Cold War. Moscow and Washington now accuse each other of failing to respect the agreement. Is a new arms race in the offing?

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Pravda (SK) /

Europe finally needs to wake up

The potential withdrawal from the INF treaty once again highlights Europe's vulnerability, writes Pravda:

“Withdrawal from the treaty could have a negative impact on Europe's security in the long term. Not because Putin wants to point his medium-range missiles directly at European targets, but because - if he did decide to do so one day - nothing would stand in his way. Neither Europe nor Nato are INF signatories. So for the Europeans to just continue as before, as they did in the case of the US's withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran, would not be possible. The EU is not strong enough to take the place of the US and negotiate a similar deal with Russia. ... This is a wake-up call (how many have there been now?) for Europe. If it has no ambitions of its own to become an architect of the world order it will become a victim of the chaos that others have caused.”

The Independent (GB) /

International inspections make more sense

Simply tearing up the arms control agreement is no solution, The Independent complains:

“It may be true, as President Trump claims, that the Russians have been cheating, developing new nuclear missiles covertly. However, the correct response should have surely been to call that out, to push for proper international inspections and to engage in a more gradual escalation of threats. For what it is worth, the British should be restraining America, rather than standing 'resolute' as defence secretary Gavin Williamson says. If Russia is obliged to verify, then they should try and hold them to it first through tough diplomacy - not walking away.”

Vedomosti (RU) /

Withdrawal fits in with Putin's plans

The withdrawal of the US from the INF treaty wouldn't be such a bad thing as far as Moscow is concerned, writes Vedomosti:

“The INF treaty has been dead for a long time - it's a relict of the Cold War that doesn't fit in with today's situation. But for Moscow it was important that it is buried by the Americans. ... The willingness to withdraw from agreements that in the past freed the world from the danger of a global war seems truly ominous in view of the recent deterioration in relations between the US and Russia. Add to that Trump's impulsiveness and Putin's jaunty announcements about the Russians' willingness to die a 'martyr's death'. The fact that focus is now being placed on destruction rather than on adjusting the global security architecture is particularly worrying.”

Denik (CZ) /

All about business

The arms race can no longer be stopped, Denik writes bitterly:

“The major powers' mutual accusations that the other is not honouring the disarmament agreements have borne fruit: a new arms race. They are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to make weapons that were banned in the past. For example intermediate- and long-range missiles. Weapons companies are also expecting great gains from the non-renewal of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or Start. Rearmament is continually justified with reference to boosting defence capacities. The new production, however, is above all for export purposes. Missiles without nuclear warheads have a huge trade potential. And with the development of attack systems, interest in missile defence systems increases. All in the name of peace, of course.”

Público (PT) /

Trump just making his usual threats again

Trump's threat shouldn't be taken so seriously, Público comments:

“As we have already seen on several occasions, many of Trump's countless threats soon evaporate: time, the international balance of power and opponents within the US administration ensure that most of his threats remain empty. ... To ignore them completely would, however, be a mistake - because they are tolerated and even welcomed in certain parts of US society. ... Cancelling treaties in order to invest in new missiles encourages a new global arms race that has already begun. And we know from recent history how this madness begins - and how it could end.”