(ELN) (Co-authored with Miles Pomper) Few in Washington express much doubt that Russia recently violated the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, testing and deploying ground-launched cruise missiles within the treaty’s prohibited range.
Yet the lack of clear public evidence of Russian violations amid persistent Russian denials has left the United States in a position where the strongest American retaliatory responses could provide Russia with an excuse to abandon the treaty.
Russia already views the INF as an inconvenient hindrance given that its restrictions do not apply to countries such as China and Pakistan that could threaten Russia (but not the United States) with the INF-class missiles. Most U.S. analysts see the treaty as serving U.S interests given that it limits the threat to US allies in Europe and East Asia. Yet failing to respond to the Russian alleged violation could be considered as foolishly ignoring a breach of an important US-Russian arms control treaty, which could, in turn, embolden Russia to conduct further violations. […]
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