The INF treaty is no more

After Washington's formal withdrawal from the INF treaty the agreement expired at the start of August. The ban on ground-based nuclear intermediate range weapons had until now been one of the key disarmament treaties between the US and Russia. Observers say its demise was inevitable.

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El País (ES) /

Superpowers never really wanted disarmament

For El País this shows once again who poses the bigger threat when it comes to nuclear weapons:

“Without limiting treaties, without multilateralism, mutual controls and measures of trust, the superpowers' security policy will once again be based on raising defence budgets, the quest for miracle weapons like that presented by Putin, and finally the threatening escalation of the arms race. In truth the biggest danger in terms of proliferation of nuclear weapons does not emanate from the behaviour of rogue states like North Korea or Iran but from the irresponsibility of the governments of the nuclear superpowers, which continue to be the United States and Russia - the only signatories of the non-proliferation treaty who have resisted the philosophy of general disarmament on which the agreement is based from day one.”

Jutarnji list (HR) /

Russia wants what its neighbours have

Jutarnji list sees the INF treaty as outdated anyway:

“This [over] thirty-year-old treaty applied only for the US (and Nato) and Russia. ... In the meantime not only Beijing but also India, Pakistan, North Korea and Iran have all developed short and intermediate-range missiles that can carry nuclear warheads. The world clearly needs a new treaty for these missiles. But China doesn't want to participate in any kind of talks - and the same probably goes for other countries that don't have such weapons, in particular North Korea and Iran. So it doesn't suit Russia at all that it (and the US) are restricted while others, like its neighbour China can develop their weapons without being subject to any controls.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Now Putin has free rein

The US justified its decision to withdraw from the INF treaty saying that Russia had developed a new missile. The accusation is true, De Volkskrant says, but continues:

“The question is whether ending the treaty is the right response. Now that the INF treaty is history President Putin is free to develop more new weapons. This is precisely what he wanted all along. ... The danger is above all that the entire arms control system built up by the US and the Soviet Union/Russia will be buried for good.”

NV (UA) /

Six minutes is the twinkling of an eye

The Russian journalist Alexander Golz sees the new situation as highly dangerous. In Novoye Vremya he writes:

“Washington has done everything it can to prevent the continuation of the deal. ... It's unlikely that the stationing of new American missiles in Europe will provoke the same kind of anti-war demonstrations as those in the early 1980s. The missiles could be stationed in Poland and the Baltic countries. ... This means the end of Moscow's strategic superiority. Like in the 1980s, the US will be able to hit Moscow and St. Petersburg, the command centres, within six to eight minutes. It's impossible to check a signal from the early-warning system (that was repeatedly a false alarm) again in those few minutes.”

De Volkskrant (NL) /

Who will limit the rivalry?

The world is becoming a more explosive place, warns De Volkskrant:

“There is the risk that along with the INF treaty the entire concept of arms control will be lost - at a time when the revolution in military technology is advancing so quickly that we're seeing one arms race after another. ... The situation cries out for new rules and agreements, but these are not popular in an era of growing rivalry among major powers led by politicians who put themselves and their country first. ... Europe won't relapse completely into the old times now that the INF is gone. But the new era has some frightening aspects. Because a world without the INF treaty is a world full of unbridled rivalry.”