With INF Ultimatum, Trump’s Maximalist Approach Strikes Again

 In Nuclear Weapons, Russia, Trump Administration

Washington, D.C. — December 4, 2018 — In response to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement that the U.S. will formally announce its intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 60 days if Russia does not come into compliance with the treaty by then, Paul Kawika Martin, Senior Director for Policy and Political Affairs at Peace Action, released the following statement:

“The administration’s decision to forestall withdrawal from the INF treaty offers a glimmer of hope for those committed to reducing rather than expanding the risk of nuclear war, but only a glimmer. Mirroring the administration’s maximalist approach to diplomacy with North Korea, the approach here is essentially, ‘either capitulate or don’t, there is no middle ground.’ That’s a dangerous way to negotiate with so much at stake.

“Rather than offering an ultimatum, the U.S. should have started with intensive diplomacy with Russia to address the concerns of both parties. That will likely be a harder lift after today’s announcement, but it’s still the right approach. Failing that, we may witness an acceleration of the arms race that Trump lamented just yesterday, a race that the U.S. continues to push by escalating nuclear weapons spending to a projected $1.7 trillion over 30 years.

“The Trump Administration’s propensity to tear up successful treaties makes Americans less safe. The U.S. and NATO need to find a solution with Russia on INF and look ahead to extending the critical New START treaty that expires in 2021. Voters want to see less nuclear weapons, and agreements that will decrease the likelihood that these catastrophic weapons will ever be used again.”


Founded in 1957, Peace Action (formerly SANE/Freeze), the United States’ largest peace and disarmament organization, with over 100,000 paid members and nearly 100 chapters in 36 states, works to abolish nuclear weapons, promote government spending priorities that support human needs, encourage real security through international cooperation and human rights and support nonmilitary solutions to international conflicts. The public may learn more and take action at www.PeaceAction.org.

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  • Tony

    I think that by giving Russia an ultimatum, Pompeo has indicated that the Trump administration is not really interested in resolving concerns about Russian compliance. It just wants to wreck the treaty. John Bolton was arguing for withdrawal several years before the question of compliance arose and probably never supported the treaty in the first place.

    The important constitutional question arises as to under what authority the president can withdraw from a treaty given that the treaty was ratified by the required two-thirds majority of the senate.

    Concerned citizens need to urge their senators to ensure that any such withdrawal must be preceded by a two-thirds vote in the senate before the president can act. The United States has a president it does not have a king!

    The American Conservative magazine has produced a fine article which shows what needs to be done in this crucial regard:


  • Tony

    What a good article!

    I hope everyone will contact their senators and urge them to save this important treaty that John Bolton wants to wreck for reasons of pure ideology. He was urging withdrawal long before the question of Russian compliance ever arose. It is doubtful that he ever supported it in the first place.

    How to contact your senators:


    Thank you.

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