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U.S. Withdraws from INF - an Implied Forthcoming Arms Race

The Donald Trump administration has announced it will withdraw the United States (US) from the Cold War era-ending Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which was signed here in Washington, DC, December 8, 1987, between US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. The INF essentially banned an entire class of nuclear weapons, a first for humanity at that time.

Subjected to the INF ban were short range and intermediate range ground-launched cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,000 km. The US has repeated complained and accused Vladimir Putin's Russian Federation of violating the pact. In late 2018, the Trump administration gave Russia a 60-day ultimatum to comply with the Treaty. Judging from today's announcement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the administration doubts Russian compliance, thus the withdrawal from the Treaty, which would officially take effect six-months after today's notice.

The withdrawal of the US from the INF implies a new arms race as the US seeks to counter accused Russian action. However, more so than the Russian condition, it is apparent that the US is mindful of advances and modernization by China of its forces and arsenals. 

Leaving the INF, therefore accords the US the unhindered path to counter both Russia and China with regards to short and intermediate range missile technology and arms - to fuel a new seemingly untethered nuclear arms race.