The director of national intelligence just released a report, which is the first time we’ve seen anything public about U.S. claims. And, they’re saying that Russia indeed has deployed missiles that violate the INF treaty in Russia. They didn’t give numbers, but others have said it could be, you know, a couple of hundred and that they could threaten both Europe and Asia with nuclear or conventionally-armed missiles. And the INF treaty covers both.
Mostly arms control supporting experts have said, “Yes, Russia is violating the treaty, but we need to just work hard to bring them back into compliance.” The very same thing was done with a radar installation that the Soviet Union had that was violative of the ABM treaty. And critics go on to say that it doesn’t make sense for the U.S. To deploy missiles that would violate the INF treaty. There is no need for them. The U.S. has other capabilities. The allies wouldn’t accept having them based on their territory. So why leave a treaty if you’re not going to test and deploy something that would violate it?
BETWEEN THE LINES: The Russians in responding to Trump’s intention to withdraw from the INF treaty say that the U.S. antimissile systems that have been deployed in eastern Europe and armed U.S. drones are similarly a violation of the INF treaty. Your comment on that?
JOHN BURROUGHS: Well, first of all, I have to say, Scott, you have really researched this very good. Yes, the Romanian missile defense deployment of the U.S. and the planned Polish one drive the Russians crazy. The Russians believe that the missile defense systems – which the U.S. claims are to protect against an Iranian potential capability – that they are really aimed at Russia. So that doesn’t come within the letter of the INF Treaty, but it does show kind of the underlying problem, which is that the Russians feel that in numerous ways, the United States has not held up what the Russians thought was a post-Cold War settlement: no NATO expansion, no pursuit of offensive capabilities that could threaten the other country’s survival. So I would speculate – and you know, this is speculation only – that the Russian deployments of the missiles the U.S. says violate the INF treaty may have been directly driven by the Romanian missile defense and the planned Polish installation.
BETWEEN THE LINES: John, today, so many years after those major protests of the 1980s, the peace movement, the ant- nuclear arms race movement, is really at a low ebb. Do you have any hope that people across the country dealing with many, many other issues in the age of Trump will be focused enough to put pressure on the Senate and President Trump to influence what happens here with the intention to pull out of the INF treaty.
JOHN BURROUGHS: I’m not necessarily looking for a revival of a 1980s-style freeze movement. But what I would like to see and what I think is really possible, is for nuclear arms control and disarmament advocacy to be integrated with the advocacy on other issues that people do, whether it’s racial justice, climate protection, and so on. And I think that is very much possible.