How Russia Undermined Over 30 Years of Nuclear Arms Control

Since 1987, a treaty with Moscow to limit midrange missile deployment has boosted trans-Atlantic security. But Russia has been cheating, and is fielding missiles banned by the compact.

Comments: 163

  1. I suspect a diversion here. NATO is a guarantee of Russian security since Europe's long-standing pugnacity is held in check by membership. Lavrov respects it and the EU. There is a potential problem for Russia, though. It isn't the USA/Canada/Europe that looks with longing at the vast, lightly populated, and resource- rich expanse of Siberia, it is a huge power much closer--within medium-range missile reach. Just a geo-political thought.

  2. @Bruce Williams If as you say there are other threats to Russia, why doesn't Russia turn to NATO and together decide how to meet them?

  3. I will refuse the suggestion to blame Russia for our apparent inability or disinterest in ensuring all countries are held to the same standards regarding weapons and weapons development referred to in the early part of this article, circa mid 2000s. Based on this editorial, it sounds like Russia preferred that other countries who were not a part of the INF treaty ought to sign on and meet the same standard. It sounds like a very similar concern to the US being disinterested in a treaty that years later, it claims Russia is in violation of. It sounds like the right thing to do would have been for global powers who were already engaged in nuclear deescalation to urge other countries to join a growing international community held to the same standard. I am sick of being told to blame Russia for everything. In deciding to decline to renew the INF treaty, Russia referred to itself as a parallel to the United States. I do not understand why we would not, as partners, pressure each other towards peace and better international standards. The rhetoric I am fed about this and other situations is rooted in the past. This situation could have been avoided. Both countries can still choose this route through a mutual partner in China, and pursue deescalation without either country losing face. The issue is about standards, not that anyone actually has interest in revisiting a past that hurt a lot of people around the world.

  4. @Ryan Swanzey Unfortunately both countries have thrown away the so-called 'Peace Dividend' at the end of Cold War pt 1. Neither has been interested in seriously reducing their remaining nuclear weapon capacity for 20 years; the US has only been concerned with threatening countries that are disliked for historical reasons who are attempting to gain nuclear weapons for regime survival whilst Russia attempts to reverse their decline post Soviet Union. Not good for anyone on the planet; a total failure of leadership and the 'can't see it, won't worry' attitude of the general masses. Now I've got that off my chest, who's got pix of Bezos in the raw?

  5. A good article and argument. However, it fails to say why and how Russia violated the treaty through weapons development. How about a description of which Russian weapons violated the treaty and with what parameters.

  6. @Samuel Spade Compared to the older version, the 9M729 has a heavier, more powerful warhead, and a more accurate but bulkier targeting system. This required increasing the missile’s length and the size of its transport and launch container. The size increase made it incompatible with the launcher used for the 9M728 version, so the defense ministry had a new launcher developed for it. It is bigger and carries four 9M729 missiles, compared to two for the 9M728 variant. He showed diagrams of both weapons for comparison. The increased size had an impact on the range of the 9M729, which is not only below the threshold of the INF, but also about 10km lower than that of the 9M728. The bigger missile can fly up to 480 km, and was tested to that range during a major military exercise in 2017, the official said. The journalists were also given a chance to compare the 9M728 and the 9M729, which were displayed in their containers, and inspect the 9M729 launcher. According to Ryabkov, US military inspectors were offered a chance to take part in the Wednesday event, but Washington chose to ignore it.

  7. When George W. Bush withdrew from the ABM treaty, he put the human race on a path to destruction. If there is ever a nuclear exchange, that decision will make the Iraq War look like a minor miscalculation. One of the authors of that decision is now Trump's "security" advisor.

  8. @Roger Evans "When George W. Bush withdrew from the ABM treaty, he put the human race on a path to destruction..." This began in December 2001. The advisers about Bush, especially Vice President Cheney were always determined to ring Russia with missiles and wanted the ABM treaty gone from the beginning.

  9. Why, yes, Russia cheats, just like the Soviet Union cheated. That has been understood from the start. And there are ways a capable President could persuade them to reduce the cheating. But the INF Treaty keeps the Russians from cheating enough to give them a major advantage. When Trump and his minions scrap the treaty, there will be no more restraining Russia, which can and will expand these weapons a lot. When would it be to our advantage to threaten to scrap the treaty? If we were ready to produce our own such missiles, that would be different. Russia would back down, because the threat of American intermediate range nuclear missiles scares Russia more then their missiles of that sort frighten us. If Trump had embarked on that development when he became President we would be in a position of strength. He chose not to, nor has he begun recently. If Congress did appropriate such funds, he would surely try to divert them to build his wall.

  10. @Marvant Duhon You are advocating a renewed arms race?

  11. There's no mention of Trump here. Kay Bailey Hutchison may have the unenviable task of trying to clean up Trump's messes, and Russia may have begun to unravel the I.N.F. treaty, but Trump wrongly pretended he had "no choice" but to withdraw from the treaty. He displayed this same apocalyptic ignorance when repeatedly asking his advisers in 2016 why he couldn't just use America's massive nuclear arsenal. Trump actually thinks this is great since, as he stated, it means he can now "outspend and out-innovate all others by far" in the production of weapons of mass destruction. It's insane. The proof of how little Trump understands what he's doing is how his pledge elicited an immediate vow from Putin of a "symmetrical" response. If this wasn't already bad enough, Trump is making noises about pulling the US out of the 2010 New Start agreement, which caps deployed nuclear warheads, intercontinental ballistic missiles and heavy bombers, and requires verification. Without an extension or a new treaty, nuclear arsenals worldwide will become entirely unregulated, meaning no legally binding verifiable limits on US or Russian nuclear arsenals for the first time in nearly half a century. Two weeks ago Nate Silver wrote in FiveThiryEight: "How President Trump Is Like A Terrible Poker Player." He's doing it again, but the stakes aren't a wall, it's the end of everything. Trump actually thinks that as long as he has the most "Beautiful" nukes when the missiles start to fly, he wins.

  12. @Robert B. I'd sooner blame Kay Bailey Hutchison and Trump for the fiasco rather than Russia.

  13. @Robert B You are right that Trump had another choice. He could have ignored the Russian cheating just like Obama did. That wasn't the right answer then and isn't the right answer now.

  14. @James Or he could have gone to the U.N. Or he could have levied more sanctions. Or he could have tried to strengthen the INF treaty by getting other nations to sign onto it, and thus make Russia look like the pariah. Or, or, or...

  15. Unfortunately, the world is more complex than the US-Soviet dichotomy. Russia borders many countries and the US may not be its only or even main potential adversary.

  16. Rather than abandon the INF treaty the US should be talking with Russia and all other nuclear nations to expand INF to all include all nations with nuclear weapons. In the end, if Russia continues to act in bad faith the US may have no choice but to abandon the treaty. That is not an outcome to be faced with equanimity; nothing that increases the probability of nuclear weapons being used in a conflict can be so. The fact that none have been used so far since Hiroshima and Nagasaki is no guarantee that they will never be used.

  17. Putin is empire (re)building. Why didn't George W. Bush or Barack Obama challenge Putin when he as good as announced his intention to violate the INF Treaty in 2007? Trump declaring the treaty broken plays into Putin's political narrative. He gets to build-up his military capability without suffering further strategic sanctions to bring him back into compliance. Trump gets to rev up US arms manufacturing, thus boosting the economy and adding thousands of manufacturing jobs and looking good for 2020. It's a win-win for Trump, the great dealmaker, and Putin.

  18. Putin’s speech in Munich was one of the most important speeches in 21st century because there he warned us about problems arising from hegemony in world affairs. Indeed, now China easily downplays our significance in Asia and even at home (steal technologies). Three administrations were blind and, finally, Trump took hard decision.

  19. @Pauline What hard decision? To threaten leaving the arms treaty? Or to leave Syria.... to the Russians? Trump is not your friend. His friend is Putin and he defines the term, traitor.

  20. Putin isn't only afraid of NATO, he also afraid of China. He knows NATO will not attack him, as NATO is essentially a defensive alliance, and most European countries would like friendly relations with Russia. For Putin, the main danger coming from the West is democracy. On the other hand, China and Russia have not always been friends in the past. Remember that China wants to overturn what it calls the Unequal Treaties, including the Treaty of Aigun and the Convention of Peking. Vladivostok, where the Transiberian railway line ends, used to be a Chinese city, before the Russian tsar conquered it.

  21. I'm surprised no one else has brought up the China issue. Consider the vast border, massive economic power and enormous growing population at the same time the population of Russia has plateaued. Despite the joint military maneuvers last year its hard to imagine a greater potential threat to Russia. Putin is clearly no democrat or saintly man but he's made the point about a global treaty that would include China and sofar not much has been said by the Trump administration about it.

  22. It takes experienced diplomats to negotiate treaties and keep them in force. Our state department is in a shambles, all the experienced ones were sent packing by Tillerson not a diplomat, and now headed by a war monger Pompeo a Kansan, not a diplomat either. Russia sees an opening to develop more modern weapons systems, they see NATO as a threat with past states under their control, now under the influence of Western European states that threatens their autonomy. Putin and friends have authoritarian states, the western democracies are a threat to this. As we see, he is encouraging more authoritarianism in Poland, Hungary, and Turkey to give him a buffer zone. The Russians have been invaded several times since the rule of the Czars beginning with the Mongolian Khans. It has expanded it territory then had it taken away several times, the current rulers want the world to respect them, they want to build and army equivalent that of the U.S. and China, advanced missals and warheads are to equalize the military strength. With their economic system it can not challenge the west, this will keep the west out. We need real diplomats to make peaceful agreements with Russia, not a blustering swindler and his self important cronies, another example of an incompetent blowhard in office.

  23. This piece touches on but then ignores one or two important points, mainly that the Russians have advocated for a global INF treaty, no mention of where the U.S.A. and NATO have stood on that idea. A universal INF treaty, if not a total pipe dream, would appear to be a most worthy goal. It would protect Russia from nearby enemies and potential enemies, its public explanation for conduct regarded as having violated the treaty. It would protect the entire Middle East, including Israel, from nuclear attack. It would put an end to the threat of nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan. And it would do what its main purpose was at the outset: protect our NATO allies from nuclear blackmail by Russia. Which raises a question: since the INF teraty in its present form applies only to land based weapons, and doesn't apply to weapons deployed on surface ships or nuclear armed submarines, is the U.S. playing into Russian hands by terminating the treaty, thus making our NATO allies dependent on a U.S. nuclear umbrella at a time when Trump's rhetoric and policies have made the U.S. appear much less reliable as an ally, much less inclined to risk an intercontinental nuclear war in defense of our allies threatened by intermediate range missiles.

  24. Moscow denied that it had broken the treaty, and offered additional mutual inspections during failed talks in Geneva last month. On February 1, Washington officially confirmed that the bilateral agreement signed by Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan will be suspended for 180 days. The White House also signaled intentions to entirely withdraw from it afterwards. ‘US directly violated INF’ During the meeting in front on the cameras on Saturday, Lavrov insisted that Moscow “attempted to do everything we could to rescue the treaty.” This included “unprecedented steps going far beyond our obligations,” he said, accusing Washington of systematically undermining the INF Treaty at least since the late 1990s. In particular, Washington started “testing drones that matched the characteristics” of ground-based cruise missiles banned in the treaty. Later, the US “installed MK 41 launching systems for the defense shield in Europe that can be used to fire mid-range Tomahawk cruise missiles without any modification.” “This is a direct a violation of the INF,” Putin interjected.

  25. There are always two sides to a story. We keep the side that blames Putin's Russia. We need to ask, what is it that the US has done or NOT done to perhaps move Russia in the direction they are taking. A blame game will not rectify the situation. Intellectual honesty and a commitment to real communication can.

  26. @Gordon Alderink Our missle defense systems might eventually make icbms obsolete. Not now, not in the near future but someday. The only way to defeat high tech is to overwhelm with low tech short range cruise and hypersonics. The main reason, Russia only knows how to build weaponry, and our country is completely corrupt. Money money money.

  27. The greatest protection for us all lies in a balance of nuclear weapons in the hands of the superpowers and no nuclear weapons in the hands of others. It would be nice to maintain the balance with fewer weapons or more restricted weapons, but as shifts in the geopolitical landscape ocurr, that may not be possible, and in the end it is maintaining the balance that is critical.

  28. Is this supposed to be a careful analysis of the break down of the 1987 INF missile treaty? Under President Obama the US and Russia conducted nuclear arms negotiations. Now that is considered treason. This article overstates the Europeans objections of these highly technical minor violations of the treaty. This is more neo con going ballistic over trivialities because they want to continue the phony narrative that Russia is relentlessly aggressive. I'm surprised that the bombastic disinformation daily spouted against Russia has not caused a blow up. Hutchison is living in the past when the window of vulnerability propaganda spouted by Reagan was useful to rout Jimmy Carter. These neo cons have taken the US to a dark place that could have dire consequences for the entire planet.

  29. Thanks for the accurate history of this arms control treaty. Too many fall for the old chestnut that NATO and the US have somehow baited the Russian bear with expansion in Eastern Europe and in supporting Ukraine. This article sets the record straight. Russia, not the US, is responsible for the detioration of the treaty.

  30. Everything Ms Hutchinson may be true and valid. Or maybe not. Trump's assault on the truth and republicans slavish adherence to him has led to more than half the nation doubting anything any Republican says. Trump's friendliness towards Putin and attacks on our alliances has emboldened Russia. Unless Trump makes a huge change in his behavior or Republicans can break with him, the future looks sad.

  31. A constant frustration with the current Administration is its inability/unwillingness/incompetence? to make the case to the American public regarding many issues, including this one. In this, there is no leadership and it gives the impression of random, erratic decision-making. I understand that The Donald is not very good at this, but really, can they find no one who is able to do this? Certainly not Sarah H. Sanders.

  32. I'm wondering what the point of this opinion is by Ms. Hutchison. What does it matter who is at fault if the treaty does not stand? This NATO ambassador should be doing more than trying to assign blame. Her job assignment is to do something about it, through negotiations and dialogue, not give more lip service to this administration. That is Sanders job. We all know that it is a constant struggle, but that is what we must do to avoid another Cold War. What was the point of this whining?

  33. I suspect both sides are at fault. It’s not Ms. Hutchinson’s job to present both sides of the story, but it would be informative to hear what Europeans have to say.

  34. @Seldoc Wo cares what the Europeans say. They aren't a party to the treaty.

  35. @James They are our allies and the are certainly and profoundly affected by the treaty of the lack of one. It seems Trump's it's my way or the highway approach has either tricked down from him to his base or trickled up from it to him.

  36. @Seldoc Sure they are our allies. However, American troops stationed in Europe to protect our allies are threatened by those Russian missiles that the treaty prohibits.

  37. Finally a clear and comprehensive review of the situation concerning this treaty. Unsurprisingly, the left, including the editorial board of the NYT, has been wringing it’s hands about the tragedy of Trump abandoning yet another treaty, of another arms race set off by American hawkishness. Claiming that everything the Trump administration does is evil because they’re mostly amateurs led by an unfit and corrupt president is counterproductive. The INF treaty, purposely and systematically breached by Russia, is not the Paris agreement on climate change or the TPP treaty. The left does exactly the same thing as Trump: misinterpret each and every event to energize its base, while pushing away any people capable of independent thinking. The candidacy of Howard Schultz looks better and better by the day.

  38. @Gimme A. Break Here is a break for you: how about negotiations and dialogue, instead of pulling out? Quiting and whining instead of engaging is the response of losers. That is true in honorable real estate deals and even more in international negotiations where the "I win, you lose" mentality is useless and creates a distrustful and risky future. Stop believing the art of the deal. It is as fake as its fictional author.

  39. The INF Treaty bans intermediate range misses that are land based. The US response was to build a generation of intermediate range missiles that can be launched from sea. We have seen these weapons in action in the Iraq war and throughput the Middle East. While they technically don't violate the treaty, strategically they accomplish the same goal as if they were based on land. Given our overwhelming superiority in weapons and forces Russia understandably sees this as a threat. The author also fails to note that Russia's building intermediate range missiles is a direct response to our deployment of our "Star Wars anti-missile system". We of course didn't violate the IBM treaty by deploying them. Instaed, we unilaterally withdrew from the IBM treaty and then deployed those weapons. Russia has asked for talks to reinstate that treaty as far back as the Bush administration but each time we refused. They have now taken the position that they will respond in kind to military advances that pose a threat to their security. As we look at what is unmistakably an arms race it's clear that both sides are responsible. But the militarily superior side, the US bears more than a 50/50 share of the blame.

  40. The Ambassador is not saying anything new that the President isn't already saying. Our government could have imposed more sanctions on Russia until they start complying. Instead, this administration decides to pull out. What if the President turns out to have been compromised by Russia and that pulling out of the treaty was actually a gift to Putin? Nobody knows for sure because the President and Putin had meetings that have not been memorialized. We'll know the facts around this soon enough when Mueller concludes his investigation.

  41. Intermediate range missiles don't defend anyone. When you lower the threshold of time between strikes these weapons become much more offensive in nature. The Trump administration is also planning on building lots of low level nuclear weapons that are about half as powerful as the Hiroshima nuclear bomb. They obviously feel that the time has come to use nuclear weapons as a conventional weapon. Once these "low yield" nuclear weapons, deployed in our conventional forces break the international taboo against using nuclear weapons we won't be worrying about global warming. Intermediate range nuclear weapons need to be negotiated on a multi-lateral basis. They should be banned around the globe. President Trump, the great negotiator doesn't believe in multi-lateral agreements.

  42. So Russia is cheating in the weapons game? Kick over the table and eliminate the rules as well? How about real global solutions that do not add to the horror of these weapons and their threat to all of humanity? Anyone who speaks of blame is incapable of understanding accepting responsibility in a leadership role in the world.

  43. Surely, no one expected Republicans — and particularly Trump —to share any responsibility.

  44. Ms Hutchison claims it’s all the Russians fault they have broken the INF treaty and developed new weapons but the US by her own admission had known this was happening g for 20 years so why didn’t they act. I will tell you one thing: if these missiles were stationed in Cuba the US would have acted immediately. But let’s remember that these missiles in Riussia can’t reach the US , and that’s why the US were so blasé about the matter. As one of Trump’s immoral cabal put it recently when discussing North Korea, the millions in Seoul may be annihalated but “over there not here”. Such is the isolationist immorality that has ,Onge pervaded American attitudes towards the rest of the world dating back to September 1939 when the US refused to declare war on Germany. Nothing has changed.

  45. Just another way for Putin's Puppet to pretend he is "tough on Russia" by giving Putin yet another thing he wants. This administration really thinks the American people are all marks, no different than the sheep he sheared at his "Trump University". Of course, the biggest mark of all, is Donald John Trump, who keeps playing right into Putin's hands every time. Putin's not stupid, even if his long-range vision is warped. He knows Trump has to publicly criticize Russia. Price paid for getting what he wants: The end of the INF, weakening NATO, disruption of the EU, and freeing his "oligarchs" to continue to violate the Magnitsky ACT. KBH should know better but she always put Party ahead of Country, like most Republicans.

  46. I guess it's useful to hear from the #GOPRussia on this but they are so compromised first by taking Russian money and then by covering up and obstruction of the Russian investigation that they lack any legitimacy. Sen Hutchison is a proud adherent so I'm not sure what she adds.

  47. The INF was mainly to prevent Russia from threatening Europe and China. Both the US and Russia have longer range missiles. Both the US and Russia have navel nuclear weapons, or those that can be delivered from airplanes (not just dumb bombs, but cruze missiles lanched from planes at stand off distance). Both likely have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the entire planet. An arms race would accomplish nothing except perhaps show simpletons that Putin and Trump are "tough" leaders, even though their actions would be ridiculous and meaningless. Both Putin and Trump depend heavily on their ability to rile up a very dimwitted segment of their respective populations. For Trump, it's also a way to shovel money to military contractors and hopefully get either political support or kickbacks, or both. Putin just wants his people to think he is a strong leader, even as he makes their lives worse.

  48. Ambassador Hutchison represents the ignorant Trump Administration and the crazed warmonger, John Bolton. The need for intermediate-range nuclear missiles is predicated on the notion of limited nuclear war. Would we want to engage in such a war? Is a limited nuclear war even possible? Doesn't the acknowledgment of limited nuclear war undermine the concept of MAD (mutually-assured destruction) which has kept the peace since 1948? Wouldn't more all-range MIRV ICBMs's be the best response to Russia's deployment of intermediate range missiles? We need a strategic direction defined by wise and knowledgeable men and women before embarking on an intermediate-range nuclear arms race with Russia.

  49. Apparently, since we can't trust Russia or the US to abide by an IMF treaty, the only solution is an agreement to dismantle and destroy missiles. The goal is to destroy them faster than we or they can build them.

  50. @Fourteen You didn't think those treaties signed in the 1980's would hold forever, did you? That would be naive thinking, and that will get you killed in this day and age. Look at Obama's Iranian Deal? They were breaking it on day 1. Look at the Paris Accord Obama personally signed. China and India were violating it on day 1. Look at the NATO deal. Tell me how many of those NATO countries are actually paying their fair share? This is a dynamic fluid world we live in. If you don't believe that..look at how quick Facebook and Google are to capitulate to the Chinese government when trying to get entry into their market.

  51. The end of the I.N.F. without a fight is the fault of Russia and of Trump. We can retaliate with our existing missiles, we don’t need intermediate missiles to deter an attack with Russian intermediate missiles. It would seem that Trump’s team are ignorant of the real threats, here. When we set up intermediate missiles in Europe with fight times to Moscow of five minutes it caused Russia to panic over a possible first strike that could de-capitate the regime. Better to use more sanctions to encourage compliance in this case. The treaty helps to reduce that kind of fear.

  52. @Casual Observer What good is a treaty that binds us to behaviors that the other side is ignoring? That's like entering the boxing match where both sides agree to fight with one arm tied behind your back only to find out when the bell rings to start the match that the other guy's hands aren't tied behind his back at all? It takes all of 2 punches before you're on the floor. I guess the good news is you'll have proven to be morally right..even though you're factually wrong by spitting up your own teeth and blood. Trump knows exactly what he's dealing with, as does Pompeo and Haskell and the entire senior leadership. The rank and file in the IC also knows the threat Russia poses. These guys in Russia and China are playing the long game with us..knowing all too well that our every other year political system provides ample cover for mayhem while they still committed to their 30-40 year plans. Если вы не изучаете, как говорить по-русски, сейчас будет хорошее время, чтобы начать.

  53. The Trump Doctrine is founded on Trump’s Three Pillars of Wisdom: One, Always blame the other guys. Two, Mine’s bigger than yours. Three, Spend lavishly trying to prove it... but always do so with other peoples’ money; always enrich yourself in the process; and always leave others holding the bag when it all goes sour. It’s one thing to apply these Pillars of Wisdom to the development of garish casinos, condos and hotels, with the bankruptcy ripcord always at the ready. It’s quite another when they become the bedrock of the domestic, foreign and military policy of a nation of 330 million people. Faithful Trump servant Kay Bailey Hutchison appears to be more than willing to march to the beat of the Trumpian drum, straight towards oblivion, shielded from accountability by those three core principles. Alas, none of that will matter much when they “drop the big one.” Sad!

  54. I don't understand. The Republican party, led by it's party leader Trump, tells us Putin is a fine fellow and we have nothing to fear from Russia. As a matter of fact, the Republicans say, we should life sanctions we imposed due to Russia attacking and absorbing parts of other countries. And whats this about consulting closely with NATO allies? The Republican party, under it's party leader Trump, wants to pull out of NATO and thinks we should go our own way. They don't believe in collective security. After all, the Republicans, under their party leader Trump, believe we have the biggest (fill in the blank) and come first. Thanks, Republicans.

  55. @wfisher1 You seem to have a rather short memory. It was the Obama Administration that pulled our missile systems out of Poland and Eastern Europe to appease Putin and the Russians. We got nothing in exchange but a stupid 'reset' button. The Republican Party is fully 'woke' to what the former Soviet's are up to...it's the Democrats who appear to be in bed with them. Which, makes sense since Marxism/Socialism/Leninism/Communism are all one in the same. After all, in the 2016 election, we only had one political party and one Presidential Candidate ACTUALLY collude with the Russians to try to bring their opponent down. That would be the Democrat Party and Hillary Clinton herself..all designed to lay a series of trapdoors for an ignorant Trump to walk through. How else to explain the cutouts and backdoor payments to Kremlin friendly sources in Moscow via christopher steele, Fusion GPS, Marc Elias and Perkins Coie and the Clinton Campaign and DNC..the latter two being one in the same during the 2016 campaign? We're not leaving NATO alone..but what purpose is there in defending Germany when they've sold their soul to the devil by relying nearly 100% on Russian energy? What NATO country would do that to themselves since the very being of NATO is to counter Russian aggression across the European continent?

  56. Ambassador Hutchinson, While it is outside of your purview as UN Ambassador, could you please explain the threat Russia poses to all of us? I am not trying to belittle you or your column. You have laid out specifics to INF treaty-breaking that have been absent in any discourse I have seen to date, which I appreciate. Personally, I agree that Russia is inimical to the US in various ways right now. However, as President Trump has had multiple private meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and expressly disallowed most staff in, personally confiscating and destroying the notes of the translator brought along to one of these sessions; and has sought to end sanctions against Russia put into play because Russia violated rules and norms even over the objections of a rarely-found bipartisan Congress; and has repeatedly taken the assurances of Putin over the advice of every US intelligence agency, including over issues of Russian interference in our elections; and has in several ways looked more like he is advancing the goals of Russia more than the goals of the US... well, I have to wonder. I believe that in light of this wide dichotomy, I am not alone in being at least a little skeptical that this administration truly worries about Russian influence.

  57. @Jacob Sommer You're not serious, are you? About Russia's threat to the United States? Putin is a product of the KGB and lived through Perestroika that he thought was a huge mistake. Too many people in the west tried to impose Western Style Capitalism on Russia after the breakup of the USSR that does not fit the Russian mindset. In other words...the decisions of very few people in a capital far away..made the decision FOR the vast majority of people who had no voice in how this transition was to take place (Sound familiar? Brexit) Putin's nationalism makes Trump look like a piker. They want more power in the Middle East and Greater Europe, which Obama enabled and Merkel insured with their desire to gain access to Russia energy. Now that this umbilical cord is in place...and Germany is acting stupidly with regards to living up to their own NATO investments..one has to legitimately ask if the former East German Merkel has another long term plan in place for Germany other than being for a free and open society? Obama gave Russia a free lane into Syria knowing that Russia's proxy in the region is IRan..and they're dealing with their own issues (fewer issues since Obama wrote them a check for $20 billion +). Russia's whole mindset is one of strength and honor on a global basis. Yes..they have a 3rd world economy, but not if they get control of Europe and the Middle East. AT that point..they will have taken their rightful place next to China and the USA as world dominators.

  58. While you might be right, the only thing this administration appears to be capable of internationally is to break things. Coming up with better solutions, negotiating, ushering through Congress, doesn’t appear to be their sweet spot. Paris, TPP, Trade wars, Iran, North Korea, I’m still waiting. Lots to get done in less than two years...

  59. When the future of earth is at stake, two wrongs definitely don't make a right. As a former combat veteran, I must ask: "How many nuclear weapons are needed to create mutually insured destruction? I'm not anti-defense, but this could mean the end. I'm reminded of the old Sting song: I Hope the Russians Love their Children too. I'd also paraphrase: I Hope Republicans Love their Children too. The tax cut for the rich suggests they do not, and sword waving doesn't suggest it either.

  60. Imagine if Mexico, Haiti, and Cuba all had nuclear missiles and were not part of any treaty to limit their deployment. This is essentially the situation Russia finds itself in. I wouldn't expect our government to abide by a treaty that cripples our offensive capabilities with that many potential threats within short and medium striking distance of our borders. Add to this the fact that America has not been a good faith participant in nuclear treaties in the past. Our government has withdrawn from treaties in bad faith, and continuously adopted a chauvinist attitude in our dealings with Russia. I'm not saying it's wrong for America to advance American interests, but stubbornly refusing to understand Russia's point of view is not going to win any diplomatic victories. They are veritably surrounded by unfriendly nations, many of whom have nuclear capabilities. Would America be able to sleep easy knowing we shared hundreds of miles of border with China? What about if San Francisco was within a few hundred miles of Pyongyang? We have had a succession of presidents that failed to manage US-Russia relations, failed to seriously address the issue of nuclear arms and treaty enforcement and compliance. If Russia is forcing the issue on us now, then all the better. We can bring more nations into the treaty talks, nations that address Russian concerns as well as American, so that there is more incentive for Russia to abide by the terms of the treaty.

  61. @Joel Bravo. Russia was demonized in the US long ago, and has remained so. I despised the SovUnion and what their communism stood for, but you have to hate the sin, not the sinner.

  62. @Joel I agree with the wise viewpoint in this comment. That US policy doesn't recognize Russia's predicament is no surprise, unfortunately, because we've been similarly short-sighted so many times in the past. Putin is no angel, but the American people have been lied to by our government so many times, most egregious of which were the "justifications" given for the Vietnam and Iraqi wars where large numbers of American soldiers have needlessly died or been maimed for life, that it's a bit difficult to give our government credence for its statements on this issue.

  63. As a former resident of Washington, DC, I will never forget Hutchinson's meddling in our local affairs, including trying to re-instate the death penalty. Just as KBH was out of her depth then, she is clueless now. Getting rid of the INF eliminates our ability to hold Russia to account, exposes us to a new arms race, and diminishes American leadership and moral authority. Russia is a dying (dead?) empire looking for ways to reassert itself. An arms races plays into its hands - they want to appear relevant. Russia wants to appear bigger as it shrinks; we justify their importance when we engage their petulance. Moreover, engaging in a tit-for-tat cancellation eliminates our ability to nudge China into the agreement by joining the big boys. Let us also not forget about budding nuclear states, Iran and North Korea. With the INF intact, America has the leverage to argue in international forums for Russia to live up to its obligations. On the other hand, you can not enforce a treaty that does not exist. The INF underlines American committment to peace and no-proliferation. How can America enforce non-proliferation with Iran, North Korea, and China when the President has declared in the State of the Union address that he will 'out spend and out innovate' Russia in an arms race? The INF is vital to our future and America needs to do everything possible to keep it in place., even in the face of Russia cheating.

  64. @Joe Yours is a very thoughtful comment that shows a much deeper understanding of my poor old country than most people in the West appear to possess (unfortunately). And I most definitely agree with the following passage: "Russia wants to appear bigger as it shrinks; we justify their importance when we engage their petulance." But please do note that this argument can actually be used *against* continuing to engage in non-proliferation, and similar talks with them. For years Russia has been nothing but "petulant" in its participation in nuclear treaties and negotiations. The American diplomats often sounded genuinely puzzled, as to what it was that the Russians actually wanted - they were extremely difficult to negotiate with, seemingly without pursuing any clear strategic goals... But that's the answer - being difficult WAS the strategic goal. Russia's loss of the superpower status is a source of an all-consuming inferiority complex that has been the driving force behind its foreign policy. You are very much correct about that. Their nukes are Russia's only remaining claim to that status. When the West keeps engaging in these negotiations, putting up with their changing demands and petty protests, it reaffirms and proves Russia's importance... so they keep it going. It's a scam and a waste of time. And the West would indeed be better off not indulging their illusions of grandeur.

  65. I agree that a treaty is not a treaty when one side breaks it. I hope the US is committed to its allies as Mr Hutchinson says. To those who keep asking the value of the US presence in Europe and Asia: Europe was nearly consumed by one of historically the most brutal regimes, and your own territory was bombed by the imperialist Japan. Please don’t forget history.

  66. Mrs Hutchinson's article is a good answer to this morning's editorial which takes the opposite position. Russia wants nuclear superiority as much as the Soviet Union did. Russia can no more afford that superiority if the US keeps upping the ante than its predecessor could. It will be forced to stop the race at some point and reenter arms limitation talks. New treaties will be signed, probably with a new regime in Russia and certainly with a new one here in the US, that will hold, possibly for decades. This is a horrible game and both sides will squander vast amounts on useless objects and systems. But we have to play the game to win because the greater danger lays in not doing so.

  67. @Max Davies Wouldn't more and more economic sanctions, by restoring the political will of the Russian people to oppose spending on nuclear weapons, achieve the same result as the resumption of the arms race you envision? Another question - Since treaties must be ratified by congress, must they also require congressional approval for their cessation?

  68. We, especially our politicians, are very good at blaming other countries for whatever faults. What is profoundly lacking is to look at ourselves in the mirror. In the case with Russia in particular, I think our biggest diplomatic miss step was to expand NATO to some of the former Soviet block counties right after disintegration of the Warsaw Pact and then the Soviet Union. It had created a deep miss trust of the West among the Russians, and contributed the rise of Putin. In addition, our media have a pretty poor job in their coverage of the countries like Russia and China. I feel I need to go to there and see for myself in order to have a basic understanding about Russia.

  69. Russia offered to inspect the 9m729 missile, but the US did not do it, because it could be that this missile really corresponds to the declared range parameters of less than 500 km .Instead, the US accused Russia of violating the Treaty. This leads to the idea that the United States sought in any way to break the Treaty is not convenient for them.

  70. Why did Russia argue that the United States should keep the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty intact and then recently declare its own suspension of the treaty? This is good question. And wrong answer by NYT. The correct answer is : Russia declared about exit from IRNF("RSMD") AFTER USA declared. USA declared 02.02.2019. Russia declared 07.02.2019, after 5 days. Secondly: Russia also have some questions about MK41 in Poland, which could use sea-landing "Tomahawk". third: 9M729 does not violate the contract. 01/23/2019 Russia held a briefing with this rocket. Where clearly showed the dimensions of the compartments. Experts understand that with this volume of the rocket, it can not overcome a distance of more than 500 km. By the way, the USA and NATO did not come to this briefing, because they had nothing to say to these facts. There are fourth and fifth and sixth, but the main thing is that the United States decided to withdraw from this treaty not because of “violation” of Russia, but because of the fact that such missiles exist in China, India, North Korea and they did not participate in this agreement. But blaming Russia is a common occurrence in the United States.

  71. And you don’t think the US has been designing and has stuff we don’t even know about?

  72. "But Russia’s leaders must understand that we will not hesitate to develop the capabilities necessary to ensure the security of ourselves and our allies." I guess not or at least not according to NYT editorial policy: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/10/opinion/trump-putin-inf-treaty.html: "If Mr. Trump continues to push for an expanded nuclear arsenal and abandons the strategic arms accord, Congress should freeze the nuclear modernization budget and block funding for new weapons." If it is Mr. Trump's policy, then NATO should forget about getting any support from the House of Representatives.

  73. As a Russian gentleman of power who now lives in the United States said in aNY Times opinion piece last week, "Corruption is in the Russian DNA." They behave as enemies of civilization. They should not be given any places of honor, or civil consideration, until they change their ways. Thank you, Ms. Bailey Hutchinson for representing our United States of America in NATO. Hopefully you will be able to work with our European allies to prevent the chaos Russia threatens. It is a dangerous time for our world and clear heads are needed now more than ever.

  74. Obviously much need to look tough on Russia right before House begins investigating its connections to the Trump administration. What better way than a little theater involving a missile treaty neither side has been honoring?

  75. This essay is a post facto justification for Trump's policy declaration. The Russian treaty violations have nothing to do with Trump's political motivations. He's giving Putin exactly what he wants, an end to the INF treaty, and pretending the action is "tough" on Russia. Oh you want intermediate range nuclear weapons? Here! Have intermediate range nuclear weapons without any binding legal penalty. Take that Mr. Putin! Trump is selling out US interests again. Without the INF, we've lost our nuclear negotiating leverage throughout all of Asia. Way to go Trump...

  76. @Andy I guess Trump should have followed the Obama admin policy of acknowledging the Russian cheating but doing nothing about it.

  77. @James @James Or Trump could have gone to the U.N. Or he could have levied more sanctions. Or he could have tried to strengthen the INF treaty by getting other nations to sign onto it, and thus make Russia look like the pariah. Or, or, or... There were many other options on the table for Trump to consider. But guess he was out golfing during his "executive time" and went with his gut instead of thinking it through.

  78. @James "Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand."

  79. Compared to some of the pathetically partisan garbage we have to read here like Douthat's latest on the green new deal, this is actually welcome. I don't agree and still think Hutchison is being manipulative by failing to mention Trump's allegiance to Russia, but an intelligent reader can fill in the blanks. At least this is a credible opinion from the other side and yes, a stopped clock is correct twice a day, but I still wish the opinion pages would get rid of the ideologues who don't make any sense. Another comment for the black hole, I'm sure, but maybe it means something to somebody.

  80. If anything or anybody dies, blame Russia - if you are in the US, that is. Blame the US if you are in Russia. It's called politics.

  81. If I.N.F. Treaty dies then NATO becomes even more essential. Ms Hutchison, your GOP colleagues need to hammer this home with your boss. It's been crickets so far.

  82. It is just as correct to place blame with the pro Russian Trump Administration.

  83. Why do I get the sense that just like with Trump's wall, Putin's missiles, and the Trump administration's response, are more an expression of "manhood" than any real counterbalance to perceived threat. And, frankly, given that we've expanded NATO to Russia's border, Putin has a better claim of possible threat than do we. Are we really concerned that Putin is going to march on Paris or even Latvia? And if he did, would NATO's response (or his response to our response) be any different because of the existence of these intermediate missiles? In other words, a nuclear attack whether from submarines, planes or near or distantly-placed land-based missiles probably ain't a good idea. Sadly and scarily, though, we humans seem to engage in a lot of bad ideas.

  84. @J. Cornelio NATO given its minimal investment in arms is no threat to Russia.

  85. You don't think we install those NATO missiles?

  86. This column is a smokescreen. Granted, Russia has been violating the INF treaty for years. But you don't take your ball and go home when your opponent cheats. That's called forfeiting--i.e., you voluntarily lose. What a fine dovetailing of Russia's ambitions to engineer the installation of a puppet American president then have that puppet make it easier for you to do what you want to do anyway. So, Russia wants out of INF, Trump takes the lead by withdrawing, thereby holding the door for Russia to ignite a new arms race and destabilize eastern Europe and the Baltics. Next up: Russian tanks roll over the borders of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, and their puppet president stands aside because our NATO partners "haven't been paying their bills." Et voila! Postwar world order undone. Russia wins the Cold War 30 years after the west thought it ended.

  87. Words of wisdom or just sycophantic Trumpist Republican rants designed to get votes? Get rid of INF. leave NATO, Snub allies? Who will know? It is a shame in the current world that truth is just not available. Thanks for writing your missive, but is it true or just partisan? First you have to relieve T of duties and then rewrite this for all to believe.

  88. If the Russians are cheating, the treaty doesn't enhance our security. It undermines it.

  89. NATO has this kind of weapons on Russia's border. Russia does not have them on ours but has them pointed at NATO countries. The EU should be the ones to make treaties with Russia on these weapons, but it is fine for us to do so too.

  90. @Bartolo No NATO doesn't have these kind of weapons. The US abided by its treaty obligations and so therefore doesn't have these weapons.

  91. @JamesThere are, along with MK-41 launchers in Romania and Poland and disassembled Tomahawks in Pentagon warehouses. In Russia, these missiles are not violators of the Treaty, their flight range is 490 km.

  92. So the news reports of Trump declaring that the US is pulling out of the INF treaty, and Putin later saying Russia is following suit, were wrong? According to Hutchison, Russia pulled out and the US isn’t even considering such a move. Granted, Trump probably made his announcement after Putin ordered him to do so, but this alternate reality proposed by a professional Republican is inexcusable. I propose that, henceforth, any editorial written by a member of the Republican Party be followed by a list of fact checks setting the record straight.

  93. I smell duplicity in this Opinion column. Nine nations possess nuclear weapons with delivery systems. The US, Russia, UK, France, China, and Israel are signatories or have ratified the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty. India, Pakistan, and North Korea possess but have not participated in the treaty process (North Korea being an international outlaw). If it is true that Russia started the withdrawal process (remember this column was authored by the representative of an administration notorious for suppressing the truth), that is no reason to withdraw from the Treaty. To the contrary, it is a reason to push Russia to respect the treaty. It is also a reason to expand the terms of the treaty to nations that have not signed and to thoroughly inspect for compliance. It is also a reason to expand the terms of agreement to reduce all nuclear weapons, land, sea, or air-based. The entire strategic rationale for nuclear weapons as a defense mechanism is flawed and has never served the goal of peace among nations. The current Administration should be universally condemned for not taking the lead for a new and comprehensive Trearty.

  94. @Svirchev Israel is not a signatory nor have they ratified the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty. They are n the same category as India and Pakistan.

  95. Unfortunately, a former Republican senator in Trump's administration has no credibility in matters like this. Neither do the Russians, they almost never have. Both sides are obviously lying, as each wants an excuse for a "patriotic" military buildup with huge economic benefits to their buddies, the arms manufacturers. The part I can't figure out is why they think anyone would believe them -- wait a sec, I got it -- it doesn't matter whether anyone believes them, as long as they get the OK to their plan.

  96. Ms. Bailey Hutchinson was governor of Texas some years ago and, from everything I have read, has a sterling reputation as an upstanding moderate, seattle expat. Political affiliation doesn't tell the whole story. Apparently Mr. Clinton did not object to Russia participating in NATO. Perhaps that was the real mistake.

  97. @njglea FWIW, she was a senator from Texas. She was never the governor.

  98. The 5g economy requires precision and through-put with no interruptions. The Space Force, with its orbital capabilities, and low-cost automation, offers the best hope of rendering the weapons of the 20th century obsolete. President Trump sees the future and the tools that are needed to keep ahead of Russia and China. Old treaties need to be updated or abandoned. The left is wasting time spying on Trump, while Trump is conserving American blood with new policy and new technology. All of this will eventually help the “green dream” unless the left promotes inefficiencies for political reasons. Get out of his way and let Trump run the country until it is your turn to govern.

  99. @Eugene Patrick Devany - This is utter nonsense, sycophancy run amok to advocacy for world war.

  100. Intermediate Range Nuclear Missiles are Weapons of Mass Destruction that can destroy cities, large massed troops or massed missiles within 5-10 minutes of being launched - i.e. before rational world changing decisions can rationally be made. If launched from ground based sites, they are also most vulnerable when they are still on the ground and can be attacked by Intermediate Range Nuclear Missiles. This is relatively strong motivation to launch them quickly when you see or suspect an attack. Given these facts, and the fact that the USA has ICBMS (30 minute fly time) and relatively invulnerable submarine launched nuclear tipped missiles, and an ABM system of some utility in Eurasia, WHY would the USA want such missiles? What would we use them for? Wouldn't it be better not to have them at all, as their primary consequence would could be to scare adversaries into launching destructive nuclear barrages?

  101. Feb. 11, 2019 All for making Mother Russia Great Again -so sad and Trumpian - But there is hope as soon as both leaders find a better way to live and retire.

  102. Well in fact it is Russia and Yeltsin who ended the Soviet Union without a civil war, and Russia who had the wherewithal to make sure that the nukes in it's disparate republics were removed via treaty memorandum. It is the US who is constantly rattling the nuclear saber, with it's upgrades and modernization of weapons far beyond anything called for under any rules of military common sense. It is the US who overlooks fascist groups ostensibly running what the eminent historian Stephen Kotkin calls the "Trashcanistan" of Ukraine, where he says, "If you give they foreign aid you might as well just send the money directly to Switzerland." Yet our press and our Congress play that border nation against Russia for what seems like kicks. It's not humorous to Russians who lost over 20,000,000 to invasion via Ukraine in WW2. That is what their nukes are for, to prevent a repeat, not like ours; to prevent a fantasy. Noam Chomsky, who knows quite a bit more about these things without suffering the jaundiced eye of K. B. Hutchinson, is on record: The single biggest threat to Europe's peace is the constant push to expand NATO.

  103. I don't care how to blame. I just don't want an arm race like we hade in the past.

  104. No Ms. Hutchinson blame the ego maniac, incompetent demagogue Trump. Stop making excuses for the greatest threat to our democracy since the Civil War. If America has a dispute re this treaty, you respond tit for tat, and negotiate, not withdraw completely and use it as an excuse as Trump does to boost incompetence and his demagogue nature. As he is doing this, on the other cheek, he is a Putin operative in the WH, doing his bidding. Withdrawing from this treaty is no threat to Putin and makes his operative Trump look good.

  105. And if some, most, or all of the world blows up will the dead care who had the 'right' of it?

  106. Already, the U.S. is militarily weaker than both China in the Pacific and Russia in the European theater.(China has precision ballistic anti-ship missiles, which can't be shot down and which render aircraft carriers, with their short-range strike jets, obsolete showboats). Russia has all kinds of tactical nuclear weapons, which we don't. And here in the comments section are all these readers excoriating the United States for having the temerity for even considering bolstering its own defenses. That's not only myopic but downright idiotic.

  107. "...Russia’s leaders must understand that we will not hesitate to develop the capabilities necessary to ensure the security of ourselves and our allies." Thanks, KBH, for this kind invitation to the arms race. You people are crazy. And no, it does no good to :blamer Russia" when our President has just given them permission to build whatever they like, and use it with our blessing. You people are crazy.

  108. why not impose aggressive sanctions targeted on Putin and his oligarchs? Oh, right, never mind.

  109. I don't care how is to blame. I just don't

  110. Early in the Bush/Cheney administration, the US unilaterally pulled out of the ABM Treaty that prevented the presence of defense missile system in Europe. Bush/Cheney falsely claimed they planned on deploying such a system in Poland so as to protect Europe from nuclear armed missiles from Iran. The real purpose, as was clearly evident, was to poke Russia in the eye by elevating its vulnerability to NATO nuclear arms. At the time, Russia was at its weakest politically, economically and militarily. They would have to suck it up, cower, and simply accept American exceptionalism. However, as some ancient Chinese sage noted, actions have consequences, often negative ones. So, we are now faced with a new, dangerous nuclear arms race.

  111. I'm a retired officer and former Pershing II specialist who spent months and years in Europe hoping we'd never have to use our devastating weapon. The INF Treaty was a watershed moment in the Cold War, and thankfully put me out of a job, leading to a much more rewarding career in medicine. Years later, I've been thankful that the only place you could see a Pershing and a Soviet SS-22 was at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum. Now we're considering scrapping that treaty because one side is allegedly violating its terms. Is this the only option? Are further sanctions, pressure on allies, negotiations, diplomacy seen as options at all? Are we really interested in another nuclear arms race? What does that gain us? My brothers and sisters of the 56th Field Artillery Regiment would tell you that there are no winners in such a contest, only growing risk and potential disaster. We're better than this.

  112. @Neil Moody You are absolutely correct. But take into consideration the author of this article. From Texas,who spent her entire Senatorial tenure, bowing and cowing to defense hawks, her colleagues in Congress, Tom DeLay and Dick Armey etc. who now lobby for defense companies. Can you expect a broad minded look at this situation?!

  113. @Neil Moody Great post, sir! My father (aerospace engineer - Martin Marietta) was chief engineer on the Pershing II program in its early days. I always take my family to the Air and Space Museum to see his (and others') work each time we visit Washington, DC...and more importantly, point out how the treaty made it in fact a museum piece and how much better the world was because of it..today he'd be sad to see the two parties walk away from that.

  114. @Neil Moody Russia's defense budget is a tiny fraction of what NATO members spend. With the loss of the East European buffer and with the continued development of NATO infrastructure on Russian borders, it is very difficult to envision how Russia can ensure its security without medium range missiles. Russia is probably betting that the Europeans will not want US nuclear-tipped medium range missiles back to Europe, but it is a dangerous gamble. It is interesting that ambassador Hutchinson emphasized that the US will develop non-nuclear counter-measures, but it is also difficult to understand what deterrent apart from a 15-min delivery of nuclear warheads to Moscow is going to convince Russia to stay in the treaty.

  115. Never give a cheerleader an open mike.

  116. "If the I.N.F. Treaty Dies, Blame Russia" Should we blame Putin? Should we blame Putin's flunky, Trump? Or should we blame people who prop Trump up, like Kay Bailey Hutchison?

  117. This whole discussion creeps me out. All I keep thinking about is "Dr. Strangelove"!

  118. Fascinating that some readers don't want an arms race when, due to Russian violations, we are in de facto arms race except we haven't left the starting gate.

  119. @Peter No, Peter. Quite the contrary... if there was no Treaty, the Russians would be in violation of nothing. But until just recently, the Russians, were indeed in violation of the Treaty terms. There are amble remedies under the Treaty, to demonstrate the value of compliance. That pathway was most certainly to our advantage. That's why it was such a good treaty. We only wish the "base" were able to understand complex ideas and purpose. You probably have problems with your neighbors too. News Flash: 1) There was collusion. President Bone Spur is a traitor. Three secret meetings with Putin. 2) Mitch McConnell is corrupt and likely compromised. Kavanaugh is illegitimate. 3) If you support a fake emergency declaration over the fake crisis at the Southern border...you deserve to be Impeached. We are tired of the lies.

  120. "In reality, the breakdown of the treaty started in 2007..." This isn't true. The breakdown began much earlier with the U.S. building missile defense systems under the Bush administration. Russia warned us and we didn't listen. Now we have a missile defense system that doesn't work (never could defeat Russia's weapons anyway) and no treaty.

  121. "...we will not hesitate to develop the capabilities necessary to ensure the security of ourselves and our allies." These are the words of 70+ years of confrontation with Russia/ Soviet Union. It all likelihood, the words mean nothing to Putin and his henchmen. "Hey, we're tough! Don't mess with us!" The nuclear missile and arms treaties were a long overdue recognition that confrontation solved nothing but put ourselves and the world in constant danger. The equation remains the same if we resume a new symbolic race to re-arm. Ultimately, stock piles of throbbing ready nuclear arms will be used, somewhere, somehow and the world might not recover from the immediate mass death and radiation pollution around the world that would follow. Putin wants to use the U.S. to rebuild his status and that of Russia in the world. He wants to be able to strut on the world stage like a mighty power and he has only two means: the nuclear threat and oil. Otherwise, he is impotent. Everything we do should be aimed at one goal, moving back from confrontation and lowering the nuclear threat.

  122. Military members served entire careers to keep us safe from Russia. It's incredible that we can throw away their service and US security because Trump wants to gain some kind of weird friendship with Putin. Putin is playing Trump; Trump's obsequiousness mirrors that of some of his own appointees toward him. All in the name of vanity and perceived power here at home.

  123. Who is getting paid? I’d like a list of all recipients of campaign funds from defense contractors that will benefit from the construction and deployment of these missiles. Once that is released, we can then find the experts who don’t ha r skin in the game to give us their options.

  124. How they did it? The got their agent elected president, and he has regular meetings with Putin, where no American policy people are present, and he gets his marching orders.

  125. Putin got what he wanted from Trump, again. Clearly the Russians have been violating the treaty for years, and the U.S. has been trying negotiate and impose sanctions under the treaty. Putin has now goaded Trump into an irrational move, basically tearing up the treaty. This gives Putin political cover to escalate his intermediate range weapons, as he can now claim there is no treaty and he has to respond in-kind to U.S. escalation. Where is a military-savvy statesmen like John McCain when we need him/her?

  126. @Ken L Negotiations, sanctions and saying pretty please haven't worked. Otherwise the Obama admin would have gotten a result. Therefore the only logical thing to do is to leave the treaty. Putin would much rather have a treaty that the US abides by and they openly ignore than no treaty at all.

  127. @Ken L agreed, except Putin didn't goad him. Trump is doing Putin's bidding and that's the cover. Classic KGB blackmail.

  128. @Ken L Your comment is utter nonsense like this whole article from an elderly woman former NATO Ambassador.

  129. "How Russia Undermined Over 30 Years of Nuclear Arms Control." If John Bolton was not behind the US withdraw from the treaty, it was not so difficult to consider the above statement as credible. But Mr. Bolton is a known "personality". We got to know him well from the reckless decisions he made in the run-up to the Iraq War. He is a zealot ideologue and a chicken-hawk with one mission: wipe out any country that dares to challenge US policies. One can find a treasure trove of twisted, extreme-right, thinking in articles John Bolton has published and statements he has made in the last 40 years. His role in the invasion of Iraq has shown that he regards facts that do not support his position as irrelevant. And, if no facts exist to bolster his position, he can always create them.

  130. Ms. Hutchison shows no understanding of how her kind of bullying and mistaken belief in the inherent goodness of USA intentions damages lives, even without an actual war.

  131. Question: Is the United States committed to having the weapons it truly needs for nuclear deterrence or is it keen on making the rubble bounce? Answer: The United States needs credible nuclear deterrence. It already has that. Nothing is going to be gained by abandoning the I.N.F. The Russians have become nothing more than Korea writ large. Failed state, failed economy and failed Superpower. I guess they need the 9M729 to look tough, but they've got to know that using them would be murder-suicide.

  132. How very curious that the former republican senator from Texas did not mention once, in her condemnation of Russia with regard to the INF treaty, the name trump or the office he currently holds.

  133. What did they expect? Russia would encourage the U.S. to start developing these weapons again? And if it was so clear they were doing it, why the hesitation here? Oops... "we won't hesitate".

  134. A few questions I can't really figure out from the article or the comments. The Russians have been in violation of Treaty since at least the Obama administration according to both American and European sources. But it's Trumps fault the Russians are using it for eye catching toilet paper? I don't like Trump didn't vote for him but that's .....illogical at best? As there are no binding legal penalties for violating the Treaty, Trump was supposed to do what? Negotiate ? That worked oh so well for the Obama administration. Continue to keep a treaty that's worthless? A treaty that one side keeps and the other ignores isn't a Treaty it's a joke by any man's definition. As for other countries signing on? China, Pakistan? Almost all of their arsenals would be in violation of the INF treaty if they signed it. Anyone honestly believe either one would sign a treaty to scrap almost all their nuclear arms? India I couldn't say. Israel it's not going to happen. People can argue all day that adhering to a treaty the other side is ignoring is "Morally" right. Unfortunately Morality is worth absolutely nothing when dealing with countries that have no concept or interest in morality. The US is freely admitted not overwhelmed with it but it still scores above Russia or China. Ask the Uighur's or people sent to a Russian labor camp of strict regime.

  135. The US Wants to do away with the INF treaty because it wants to deploy such weapons in Asia. Russia is just an excuse.

  136. The Russians undermined over 30 years of Nuclear Arms control by getting a compromised, unfit man to be president of our country.

  137. This is the result of our failure to pursue the potential for long lasting peace after the end of the Cold War. Instead, under the last four administrations, we wallowed in the triumphalism of the only remaining superpower, continued to maintain and expand the obesity of our own military-industrial complex, throwing our overweight around in the world to the point of starting a major illegal war of aggression and trumpeting for all to hear that the American "national interest" overrides any other consideration. It is high time to reconsider our national strategic priorities. In that context, rename the Defense Department to what it is, War Department, then cut its budget in half and give the other half to a new cabinet-level Peace Department. This might help to finally reap the previously wasted peace dividend.

  138. What Russia needs is a smart leader that respects the life of human beings. Mr. Putin clearly prefers to use the "fear strategy". It is very hard to understand why he strongly supports the dictatorship in Venezuela, where his friends made a terribly bad job. Intelligent persons are expected to say: " Why I have to support somebody that makes me look so bad"? And, we have to remember that the most risky moment, so far, in the history of mankind -really- was the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. Yes, the Castros are also friendly with Mr. Maduro. No food, no medicines, and one million percent inflation rate in Venezuela.They don't care about the suffering of human beings.

  139. @M Martínez Pride is everything there, but they aren't proud to help people.

  140. Russia deploys a few missiles and the Trump/GOP reaction is to panic. Deploying medium range missiles with nuclear tips would be irrational for Russia to do so. Instead of watching TV, why doesn't Trump try and figure out what Russia is actually doing.

  141. Ms. Hutchison is either uninformed or misrepresenting history. George Bush abandoned the ABM treaty beginning in December 2001 with no hint of Russian undermining. Bush and Cheney were the underminers.

  142. https://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/reports/52401-nuclearcosts.pdf February, 2017 Costs of U.S. Nuclear Forces ( 2017) ( 2017 - 2026) Nuclear delivery systems ( 13.3) ( 189) * Nuclear weapons, supporting laboratories, and naval reactors ( 7.5) ( 87) Subtotal ( 21.6) ( 286) Command, control, communications, and early-warning systems ( 5.3) ( 58) Total Budgeted Amounts for Nuclear Forces ( 26.8) ( 344) Additional Costs Based on Historical Cost Growth ( ----) ( 56) Total Estimated Cost of Nuclear Forces ( 26.8) ( 400) * Billions of dollars -- Department of Defense and Department of Energy

  143. Quite simply, weak and unimpressive US presidents, now we have one that sees through all of the nonsense, the party’s over

  144. Interesting how the Times has an editorial today that points the fingers at the Trump Administration and fails to mention the point made in Ms Hutchinson's first sentence, that the Russians have been cheating for some time. Tell the truth.

  145. The Russian Federation has supposedly put IRBM's in Kallingrad putting these missiles within range of Warsaw and Berlin among others. I wish the Times would engage a commercial satellite company and get the before and after satellite photographs of these missile sites in Kallingrad. A picture is worth a thousand words. I think the American public would have more insight on this issue once they saw these photographs.

  146. Kay Bailey Hutchinson is a product of old time Texas political machine that still exists and is well funded with third generation oil money from Dallas. Her political contributions in the past has serviced that machine. How she was appointed as an ambassador to NATO follows the old scheme of political appointments I would take any comments or writings from this person with a grain of salt as she always follows the political line that benefits the herself and the 1% special interest and she is out of her depth.

  147. Hutchison's argument makes it clear that the Russians felt threatened by the same developments that the US now worries over - the deployment outside of Europe of IRBMs and other systems that amount to regional nuclear threats. What's been obfuscated by Trump's claims that this is all Obama's failure are belied by Hutchison's observation that the problem can was first kicked down the road by the Bush administration. What's really needed here is an effective proposal for a global INF agreement. The US wasted a decade when it could have joined with the Russians in pursuit of this badly needed agreement. That is probably as much a root cause of the Russian failure to observe the agreement as any charge of Russian perfidy. The long term lack of a solid American commitment to sharp reductions in nuclear arms isn't the fault of the Russians, but of those who have sought to exploit the issue of arms control as a matter better decided by domestic sophistry over alleged US nuclear "weakness." Those arguments are nonsense in the face of facts that most of the US arsenal is unusable. Why? Because the fallout from any significant attack would poison ourselves and the rest of the world as surely as it would the Russians who survived the initial blast and fire of an attack. What's "significant"? Virtually any use of nuclear weapons. Just 60 megatons is the rough amount of yield theorized as a threat by 1949 and confirmed by testing by 1959. These are weapons of national suicide.

  148. We Will All Go Together When We Go Tom Lehrer When you attend a funeral It is sad to think that sooner or Later those you love will do the same for you And you may have thought it tragic (Not to mention other adjec- -tives) to think of all the weeping they will do But don't you worry No more ashes, no more sackcloth And an arm band made of black cloth Will some day nevermore adorn a sleeve For if the bomb that drops on you Gets your friends and neighbors too There'll be nobody left behind to grieve And we will all go together when we go What a comforting fact that is to know Universal bereavement - An inspiring achievement! Yes, we all will go together when we go We will all go together when we go All suffused with an incandescent glow No one will have the endurance To collect on his insurance Lloyd's of London will be loaded when they go Oh we will all fry together when we fry We'll be French-fried potatoes by-and-by There will be no more misery When the world is our rotisserie Yes, we all will fry together when we fry ......................... And we will all go together when we go Every Hottentot and every Eskimo When the air becomes uraneous We will all go simultaneous Yes, we all will go together When we all go together Yes we all will go together when we go

  149. Another Trump apparatchik heard from. You would think Trump toadies such as Hutchison would be too embarrassed to associate their name with the nonsense this administration foists upon us. But I am proven wrong over and over. Trump is a fool. Those who serve his cause are no better. Treaties are more than contracts and abrogating this one moves us all closer to scenarios we thought we had outgrown 50 years ago.

  150. https://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/13/opinion/tearing-up-the-abm-treaty.html December 13, 2001 Tearing Up the ABM Treaty With his decision to junk the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty, President Bush is rolling the diplomatic dice. If he is lucky, the Russians will live with the decision and relations with Moscow will continue to improve while Washington freely experiments with new missile defense systems. If he is not, Mr. Bush may alienate the Kremlin and give rise to a dangerous new arms race with Russia and possibly China as well.... [ Ms. Hutchinson is recording history incorrectly. ]

  151. Abolishing intermediate-range ballistic and cruise missiles between U.S. and Russia is not a "square" and even deal at its outset. Such missiles placed with U.S. allies in Europe and Turkey could reach St. Petersburg and Moscow within minutes. Clearly, we have never allowed such missiles (500-1500km) within our hemisphere (remember Cuba?), nor will we or should we. This treaty was never a fair deal in Russia's eyes and, as they have stated, is even more of a concern with the nuclear powers of Pakistan, DPRK, India and China - all not subject to a INF treaty and all with the capability of reaching and destroying the ecumene of Russia. The U.S. concern with these weapons is the safety of London and Paris. Important, yes, but nonetheless not an even trade in Russia's eyes. Russia's concern with these other nations, and with the general imbalance of the original 1987 treaty is understandable. Geography is important. The solution, however, is to bring these other nations into the deal, while continuing to comply with the terms of the original treaty. There is an opportunity here to strengthen the treaty and increase global security. Abandoning the treaty and deploying our own intermediate-range weapons will start a new arms race and increase the risk of global conflict at best; and at worst ...hard to even imagine.

  152. Lipstick on a pig. You have, Kay, drunk the Kool Aid. This is the end result of the sophomoric, irresponsible, Trump-first version of you choose to call diplomacy; the beginnings of a new arns race born of ego, duplicity and self-dealing. We pretty much saw this coming. What we didn't see was Kay Bailey Hutchison being the primary apologist. You should be ashamed...I'm ashamed for you. Is there anything, really anything, worthy of plunging your country back into this darkness to score a few points, create some cover, for that beast you call a President?

  153. It is suicidal for Russia, not the USA nor China, to play chicken with nuclear weapons. In a nuclear exchange with the West, Russia will simply cease to exist. This is not a matter of technological superiority, but simple arithmetic. The population, of the the US is nearing 350 million. Russia's is half of that. Of course, the true winners -- if one can call it that -- in a nuclear exchange between Russia and the West, will be China and India. Sure, they'll have to adjust to a nuclear winter, and the world will certainly won't be worth much. But, make no mistake, the Russian nation as it is today, will disappear.

  154. The 1987 IMF treaty is moot, Putin or no Putin, Trump or no Trump. China now has similar precision missiles that can destroy US Aircraft carriers and take out the American Naval and Air Force bases in Guam. If push ever comes to shove, China will use this weapon to enforce its writ on the South China Sea, including commercial shipping from Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, etc. etc. A Chinese admiral recently made provocative statements about “Teaching America a Lesson” by “sinking a couple of aircraft carriers” in the South China Sea. This loose talk was not disavowed by the Chinese government and most likely represents the view of Xi Jinping. With Aircraft Carriers now vulnerable and no longer sufficient for deterrence, the US is forced to develop other weapons to deter China. This has rendered the IMF treaty moot and irrelevant.

  155. Does this development mean that the START treaty limits on total deployed nuclear weapons and delivery systems is dead also? Or will both sides still comply with treaty limits even with new missiles? Total deployed weapons and missiles is more important to me in the long run. The neighborhood you live in has heavy influence on the type of delivery systems a country would need.

  156. So we punish Putin and the Russians by leaving the treaty? How does that work Ms. Hutchison? This editorial is utter and complete nonsense because at no time did we even try to implement any of the remedies contained within the treaty. For example, the INF Treaty established the Special Verification Commission (SVC) to act as an implementing body for the treaty, resolving questions of compliance and agreeing on measures to "improve [the treaty's] viability and effectiveness." Because the INF Treaty is of unlimited duration, states-parties could have convened the SVC at any time. In addition, treaty provisions also allowed for monitoring of specified missile-production facilities to guarantee that no new missiles were being produced. Russia does have security concerns relative to its shared border with China and what they may be producing there, but would it not have been wiser to first try to expand the INF to China, among other countries, rather than leaving it completely and perhaps starting a new arms race? Next, why would European elements of NATO want a new arms race since medium range, as well as tactical nuclear missiles represent a far greater threat to their security than ours? This is total nonsense Ms. Hutchison!

  157. Everybody in the world looks up to America. When Trump arbitrarily walks out of the Iran nuclear deal, climate change, NATO,.......what example does it set for others?

  158. This from the self-same GOP stalwart (from Texas, naturally) who casually threatened the Russians a month or two ago that ‘we’d take them out’ if we found missiles that weren’t in line with the treaty. ‘Diplomacy’ ‘Trump style’ will get us all killed. I am unable to put my disgust with these people being in power into English. It is awful, a dangerous, demoralizing and globally humiliating turn in American history. Putin and other powerful thugs are beside themselves with how lucky they got.

  159. It is sweet that Hutchison assumes we still have "close" NATO allies. Maybe she'll mention that to her fellow Republican and fellow traveler in DC.

  160. I'm not an expert but have read more than most on this subject and the Ambassador's perspective is in line with what most of the experts say (and we should be listening to experts on this complex subject), at least that Russia is more of a violator than the US. Moreover, despite the natural predisposition to disbelieve everything Trump says (which he does deserve) and oppose it, countering Russian moves on these missiles is in fact a viable point of diplomacy especially given that the approach of previous administrations yielded little on this issue. The problem is whether Trump has the diplomatic team in place to compliment threats of escalation with moves toward a new and better treaty. The article points out, interestingly, how the Russians were concerned about other countries not being beholden to the INF treaty, which now is a principal concern of the US (regarding China's missile buildup). One might think there is common ground to be found there, though the Trump team's antagonism toward multi-lateral treaties of any kind does not bode well.

  161. Anyone who thinks that Russia has any chance of being a contender on the world stage need only visit Russia. Russia is at best a second world country and no one has any interest in its former Soviet states, unless they touch on Western Europe. Putin can huff and puff, but you can't even flush toilet paper in the Kremlin, because they don't have proper sewage treatment in Moscow. While everyone is looking at Russia, China is colonizing the world. Treaty or no treaty, Russia will do what it wants, including interfering with US elections. But try as it might, Russia will never be a superpower again, with or without missiles. Gorbachev understood Russia's failings, when the Swedes notified him, that there has been a nuclear meltdown in the Ukraine, at Chernobyl.

  162. I am, admittedly, a rather pessimistic person. I fear all sorts of doomsday scenarios. And God knows Russia has been at the very top of the list of my fears, as a destabilizing force and a threat to the world. All that said, this effective cancellation of the INF treaty has not even registered as a serious scare for me; counter-intuitive as it may sound. The thing is, there is no realistic threat of a renewed mid-range missiles arms race between the US and Russia on any scale similar to what happened in the 70s and 80s. For many simple reasons, the most obvious of which is that Russia in its present state cannot possibly afford mass-producing and deploying these missiles in any serious quantities. They don't need any more nukes either. The nuclear arsenal they already possess is (unfortunately) sufficient to incinerate the world a few times over. Most importantly, they have by now discovered that their troll farms and similar information warfare techniques are orders of magnitude more cost-efficient, as far as weapons that bring down superpowers go. Much safer for them to use too.

  163. This article certainly underlines the importance of the State Department. It is vital to have a competent and experienced Secretary of State, particularly at a time when all our incipient Democratic candidates are mainly running on issues of domestic policy. Our State Department has been eviscerated, Starting with Rex Tillerson, and continuing with the hawkish ideologue Pompeo. Experienced diplomats have fled, leaving their positions unfilled, even by marginally competent replacements. "America first" may sound like a patriotic drumbeat to the thoughtless, but it sounds a warning note to the rest of the world. In the current article, does it really matter who is to blame. There is seemingly nobody who can try to find a solution short of a new arms race. Of course, this means billions in new defense spending, so we can identify at least one group for whom this is good news. The real cold war, as always, is between the defense industry and the social safety net.