Citing Russian violations, the U.S. announced its withdrawal from the Intermediate-Nuclear Forces Treaty last Friday.
Signed in 1987 by Russian and U.S. presidents Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan, the INF Treaty banned nuclear missiles whose range fell between 500 and 5,500 kilometres.
These missiles could land so quickly that neither Russia nor the U.S. were certain they’d be able to retaliate before one struck. During the Cold War which pitted the Soviet Union against the U.S.A., intermediate-range missiles were considered to represent imminent threats of nuclear escalation.
On Saturday, Russia responded by declaring it would pull out and begin building previously-forbidden land-based missiles.
The INF’s abandonment begs the question: do future arms-control agreements need to include far more players than Cold War-era dynamics suggested?
For instance: together, China, France and Germany export close to a fifth of the world’s weapons. Significant nuclear powers include Pakistan, India, North Korea and — reportedly — Israel.
Credit for this article’s header image goes to Getty.