The Return of a Nuclear Arms Race
Editor's note: GMF's Thomas Kleine Brockhoff analyzes the demise of the INF Treaty.
Thanks to the INF treaty, the Soviet Union and the United States started scrapping their intermediate-range nuclear missiles in 1987. Now, President Donald Trump has demanded proof from his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Russia’s new missiles do not violate the treaty. Trump’s deadline expires this weekend.
“The Obama administration used the treaty’s mechanism to bring up that the Americans suspected the Russians of violating the treaty. They did this during annual meetings on the verification process in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. The Russians initially denied or ignored this. The Europeans were overwhelmingly completely quiet.”
Are we possibly seeing the continued effects of the rearmament debates of past decades? “Of course, it is like a big déjà-vu that we are facing here. The Federal Republic of Germany’s own past of the 1980s is now reappearing like an evil shadow.”
“What I cannot see is any person in charge taking a position of strategic realism – I cannot see a Helmut Schmidt.”
“Of course, all of us in Germany are concerned about a new nuclear arms race. Personally, what worries me even more, though, is having to live in a country that is susceptible to nuclear blackmail. That is the kind of realism that I would call for. Therefore, the answer to this threat situation cannot consist of wanting to preclude certain possible answers from the very beginning.”