The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty: Looking Back and Lessons for the Future
December 8 marked the 25th anniversary of the signature of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. Under this treaty, the United States and Soviet Union eliminated all their land-based missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. Such an outcome was hardly foreseeable in the early 1980s, especially after the Soviets walked out of the negotiations in 1983. In December 1987, however, President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev signed the landmark agreement.
On December 7, the Arms Control Initiative at Brookings hosted a discussion of the INF Treaty, exploring the negotiations, the factors that led to their successful conclusion and what lessons might be learned for future nuclear arms control negotiations. Panelists include three former senior U.S. government officials who were closely involved with the INF issue— former Ambassadors Avis Bohlen and John Woodworth, and Major General (USA, Ret) William F. Burns. Brookings Senior Fellow Steven Pifer, director of the Arms Control Initiative, moderated. The event marked the release of the new Arms Control Series paper, “The Treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces: History and Lessons Learned.”