November 29, 2018
Legislation Follows Trump Decision to Withdraw from INF Treaty
Warren, Merkley, Gillibrand, Markey Introduce Bill to Prevent Nuclear Arms Race
Legislation Follows Trump Decision to Withdraw from INF Treaty
Washington, DC - United States Senators Elizabeth Warren
(D-Mass.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Edward
J. Markey (D-Mass.) today announced the introduction of the Prevention of
Arms Race Act of 2018, new legislation that would stop the United States
from entering into a 21st Century nuclear arms race. Senators
Warren and Gillibrand serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and
Senators Merkley and Markey are members of the Senate Foreign Relations
"Instead of scrapping a nuclear arms control treaty negotiated by
President Reagan that makes America safer, the Trump Administration should
listen to our European allies and stick to this agreement while working to get
Russia back into compliance," said Senator Warren.
"Withdrawing from the INF Treaty is yet another example of the Trump
Administration's dangerous and costly embrace of nuclear weapons, and the
Prevention of Arms Race Act would help reverse this misguided
policy." "President Trump's reckless decision to pull the U.S. out of the
Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty alienates us from our allies and risks
returning us to the Cold War postures of yesterday," said Senator
Merkley. "A new nuclear arms race would be costly to our treasury
and dangerous for the world. Today, we are coming together to send a message:
Congress must not fund new ground-launched or ballistic missiles that will fuel
a dangerous arms race across the globe. Instead, President Trump should convene
U.S. allies at the G-20 Summit later this week to develop a unified approach to
resolve Russia's violation of the Treaty."
"An arms race would endanger the entire world and threaten every single
person in our country, and Congress has a responsibility to ensure that
President Trump does not start one. Now that President Trump has announced his
intent to unilaterally withdraw from a bipartisan weapons treaty with Russia,
without consulting Congress or our allies, the Prevention of Arms Race Act is
more important than ever," said Senator Gillibrand.
"If the President proceeds with withdrawal, it would further damage our
relationships with our allies, and Russia would not be legally constrained from
deploying larger numbers of their previously illegal missiles. I urge my
colleagues to support this bill to prevent a new arms race, and I will continue
to do everything I can to keep New Yorkers and all Americans safe."
"Pulling out of the INF Treaty plays squarely into Russia's hands while
undermining America's security and betraying our NATO allies," said
Senator Markey. "Without question, Russia is violating the INF
Treaty. But threatening American withdrawal will not increase our negotiating
leverage; it only falls hook, line, and sinker for Putin's predictable attempts
to goad the United States into justifying Russian noncompliance. The Trump
administration needs to work more closely with our NATO allies to force Russia
back into compliance. And as the chance of a confrontation between American and
Chinese forces rises the Indo-Pacific, it makes little sense to add further
ambiguity over whether U.S. missiles stationed around the region are
nuclear-armed. This legislation will help ensure that we don't match two major
adversaries missile-for-missile, trigger a new nuclear arms race, and incur unacceptable
amounts of risk in an already tenuous security environment."
On October 20, 2018, President Trump announced his intention to unilaterally
withdraw the United States from the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces
Treaty (INF) with Russia. The INF was originally signed by President Reagan and
Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987.
The United States first declared Russia to be in violation of the Treaty in
2014; experts agree it is critical the United States continue to work to bring
Russia back into compliance and hold it accountable for its violation. However,
the Trump Administration's move puts the possibility of bringing Russia back
into compliance with the treaty further out of reach. The unilateral U.S.
withdrawal of the INF Treaty also fails to achieve both the stated objectives
for withdrawal: It will not eliminate Russia's violating missile, but it will
free Russia to deploy greater quantities of nuclear weapons to both America's
and Europe's detriment. And withdrawal will not eliminate or limit China's
sizable arsenal of intermediate-range missiles, but it will end any hopes of
expanding the Treaty to China and other countries.
The INF Treaty permanently led to the elimination of entire classes of U.S.
and Russian nuclear and conventional ground-launched ballistic and cruise
missiles - 2,692 in total - supported by on-site inspections that allowed both
sides to "trust but verify" compliance with the Treaty. President
Trump made the decision to pull out without proper consultation with Congress -
a co-equal branch of government - and over the objections of U.S. NATO allies
who had, just months earlier, declared that the INF Treaty "has been
crucial to Euro-Atlantic security."
The Prevention of Arms Race Act of 2018 prohibits funding for a U.S.
ground-launched or ballistic missile - with a range of between 500 and 5,500
kilometers - until the Trump Administration provides a report that meets five
specific conditions. That report would be required to:
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week passed a bipartisan
resolution, S.Res. 562, introduced by Senator Merkley and cosponsored by
Senator Warren, "Expressing the sense of the Senate that
the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) continues to make
an invaluable contribution to United States and international security."
S.Res. 562, which now goes to the Senate floor, calls upon the Trump administration
to avert a potential arms race with Russia by working to extend the New
Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) until 2021 and urges diplomatic
means to resolve Russia's violation of the INF Treaty.
- Identify a U.S. ally formally
willing to host such a system;
- Detail recent diplomatic
efforts to bring Russia back into compliance with the Treaty;
- Assess the risk to U.S.
national security and that of our allies stemming from Russia being able
to deploy greater numbers of intermediate range missiles;
- Identify what programs the
United States would need to pursue to offset additional Russian
capabilities and at what cost;
- Detail the costs to the
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the ability to maintain consensus
within the NATO Alliance should the INF Treaty collapse.
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