Stories by Greg Thielmann

Expert Voices

Scrapping INF Treaty would spell trouble, but it could get even worse

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with John Bolton, National Security Adviser to the US President, during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow on October 23, 2018.
Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with National Security Adviser John Bolton during a meeting at the Kremlin on Oct. 23. Photo: Maxim Shipenkov/AFP via Getty Images

In a visit to Moscow on Tuesday, national security adviser John Bolton delivered President Trump’s message that the U.S. will withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, a Reagan-era nuclear deal that has been credited with helping end the Cold War. If the INF Treaty collapses, which seems likely, there will exist only one remaining treaty — the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) — regulating U.S. and Russian nuclear stockpiles.

Why it matters: In addition to the INF Treaty, the U.S. and its allies now risk losing another, more vital arms control agreement that provides predictability and transparency regarding Russia’s nuclear arsenal. If Trump and Putin fail to extend New START, an even more dangerous phase in U.S.-Russia relations will be on the horizon.