Deep Cuts Working Paper #9 INF Treaty Compliance: A Challenge and an Opportunity


The inauguration of Donald Trump as 45th president of the United States has shaken the assumptions usually made about the overall continuity of American foreign policy. Although never mentioned as part of his “Day One” list of priorities, President Trump will soon be forced by circumstances to formulate a policy with regard to disputes over compliance with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. How he handles the issue will affect his ability to follow through on his stated willingness to make deals with Russian President Putin on a host of issues, because arms control skeptics in the U.S. Congress are likely to prevent ratification of any agreement that leaves INF Treaty compliance unresolved.

This paper assesses the challenges to and opportunities of INF Treaty compliance in the light of newer political developments. It analyzes the current state of treaty compliance with particular view to Russian and US-American perceptions and gives concrete recommondations regarding a sustainable positive development of the INF Treaty.

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About the Authors

Greg Thielmann is a Senior Fellow and a member of the Arms Control Association’s Board of Directors, and previously served as an office director in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, a professional staff member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and as State Department advisor to the U.S. INF delegation.

Andrei Zagorski is Director of the Department of Disarmament and Conflict Regulation, Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences and Professor of International Relations, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University).