NEW YORK, October 26. /TASS/. Former General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and ex-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev hopes that Washington’s allies will "refuse to be launchpads for new American missiles" in case the United States withdraws from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), as he himself wrote in an article for the New York Times.
New arms race
According to Gorbachev, the 1987 INF Treaty, as well as a series of Strategic Arms Reduction Treaties (START), made it possible to greatly reduce Russian and US nuclear weapons.
"There are still too many nuclear weapons in the world, but the American and Russian arsenals are now a fraction of what they were during the Cold War. At the Nuclear Nonproliferation Review Conference in 2015, Russia and the United States reported to the international community that 85% of those arsenals had been decommissioned and, for the most part, destroyed," the former Soviet president wrote.
"Today, this tremendous accomplishment, of which our two nations can be rightfully proud, is in jeopardy. President Trump announced last week the United States’ plan to withdraw from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty and his country’s intention to build up nuclear arms," Gorbachev noted.
"A new arms race has been announced. The INF Treaty is not the first victim of the militarization of world affairs. In 2002, the United States withdrew from the Antiballistic Missile Treaty; this year, from the Iran nuclear deal. Military expenditures have soared to astronomical levels and keep rising," he pointed out.
There will be no winner
Gorbachev stressed that "with enough political will, any problems of compliance with the existing treaties could be resolved. But as we have seen during the past two years, the president of the United States has a very different purpose in mind. It is to release the United States from any obligations, any constraints, and not just regarding nuclear missiles."
"The United States has in effect taken the initiative in destroying the entire system of international treaties and accords that served as the underlying foundation for peace and security following World War II," he said, adding that "there will be no winner in a "war of all against all" particularly if it ends in a nuclear war. And that is a possibility that cannot be ruled out. An unrelenting arms race, international tensions, hostility and universal mistrust will only increase the risk."
"Is it too late to return to dialogue and negotiations? I don’t want to lose hope. I hope that Russia will take a firm but balanced stand. I hope that America’s allies will, upon sober reflection, refuse to be launchpads for new American missiles. I hope the United Nations, and particularly members of its Security Council, vested by the United Nations Charter with primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security, will take responsible action," Gorbachev wrote.
INF Treaty situation
On October 20, US President Donald Trump said that Washington would pull out of the INF Treaty because Russia had allegedly violated it.
The INF Treaty was concluded on December 8, 1987, and took effect on June 1, 1988. It applies to deployed and non-deployed ground-based missiles of intermediate range (1,000-5,000 kilometers) and shorter range (500-1,000 kilometers). In the recent years, Washington has been repeatedly accusing Russia of violating the treaty. Moscow strongly dismissed the accusations and voiced its own claims concerning Washington’s non-compliance.