Issue Brief #3: Saving the INF Treaty


This issue brief by Deep Cuts Commissioners Oliver Meier, Greg Thielmann and Andrei Zagorski turns to the latest crisis surrounding the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF). The authors argue that the trail-blazing accord, which resulted in the destruction of 2,700 U.S. and Russian ground-based, nuclear-tipped missiles of 500-5,500 km ranges in less than three years should not be abandoned lightly. Even though some U.S. experts and politicians have started questioning the treaty due to concerns of Russia cheating, the treaty is still in the national interest of Russia, the United States, and its European allies. Rather than allow the compliance dispute to fester, or worse yet, respond with a military build-up, both sides should quickly start addressing compliance concerns in the treaty's Special Verification Commission. Practical steps to build on the treaty’s achievements should include opening discussions on “grey area” weapons of INF-range, such as armed drones; and encouraging third parties to adopt elements of the treaty for limiting their own nuclear delivery systems, thus protecting the security advantages of the INF Treaty for Russia and the United States.

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About the Authors

Oliver Meier is an Associate with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP).

Greg Thielmann is a Senior Fellow at the Arms Control Association (ACA), Washington and served as State Department advisor to the U.S. INF delegation.

Andrei Zagorski is Head of Department for Arms Control and Conflict Resolution at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences.