top of page

Save the INF Treaty - But Not by Repeating History

In 1983, the United States began deploying ground-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe. The deployment caused the Soviets to walk out of ongoing arms control negotiations. But it also led to the negotiation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and the elimination of an entire class of missiles from the arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union.

Thirty-odd years later, as the United States contends with a Russian violation of the INF treaty, some experts and policy makers have urged Washington to develop its own treaty-violating missile and to help allies—who are not bound by the treaty—acquire the new missile. Indeed, Congress is currently considering legislation calling for the United States to develop a program of record for a missile that, if tested, would violate the treaty. But even if the United States retraced all the steps it took during the initial INF Treaty negotiations—including the deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Europe—it could not recreate the underlying conditions that allowed the negotiations to succeed in the first place. Only a clear understanding of today’s underlying conditions can shape an effective response to Moscow’s treaty violation...

Co-authored by Thomas Graham, Jr. and Bernadette Stadler

from Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists


Ambassador Graham served as Special Representative of the President for Arms Control, Nonproliferation and Disarmament from 1994 to 1997. He is Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors of Thorium Power. He was Special Counsel to the law firm of Morgan Lewis. He participates in the International Energy and Department of Energy practice areas.

bottom of page