Concluded in 1987 by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty resulted in the elimination of some 2,700 U.S. and Soviet ground-launched intermediate-range missiles. The treaty, however, has entered difficult times. The United States has charged Russia with violating the treaty by deploying a banned intermediate-range ground-launched cruise missile; Moscow denies the charge and claims that the United States has violated the treaty. Meanwhile, Congress has approved legislation that would authorize the Defense Department to develop an intermediate-range ground-launched cruise missile of its own. Is the treaty about to come undone?
On December 8—the 30th anniversary of the INF treaty’s signing—the Brookings Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Initiative held a panel discussion on the treaty and its future. The panel included Olga Oliker, senior advisor at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, Brookings nonresident senior fellow Steven Pifer and Brookings senior fellow Strobe Talbott. Brookings fellow Alina Polyakova moderated.
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At the end of the day, as we all know thorny national security issues don’t just involve the military; political-military considerations invariably bleed into them. If the senior military’s leadership views are going to be just constrained to military advice … who is thinking about issues from that broader perspective?