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Expert: U.S. withdrawal from INF Treaty gives rise to concerns about European security

By Keio University Associate Prof. Michito Tsuruoka, a specialist on security

(Interviewed by international news reporter Kenta Nakajo)


Russia has been reckoned to be developing mid-range missiles with nuclear warheads since the time of the Obama administration. The abrogation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty was out of the question for the Obama administration, which advocated a nuclear arms-free world, but this has become an option for the Trump administration.


Trump, who is still suspected of getting Russia’s support in the previous presidential election, probably also wants to appeal to public opinion for the mid-term elections by taking a firm stance toward Russia.


If the INF Treaty is actually abrogated, the NATO allies will be the first to be affected. Deployment of mid-range missiles in Europe is the only way for the U.S.’s missiles to reach the center of Russia. Yet, are there any countries allowing the U.S. to do so at present?


Even if there would be countries willing to accept deployment, the deployment process itself, which will take years, will be costly. Europe will be exposed to the threat of Russian nuclear missiles during this time, so the European countries are apprehensive.


There is an opinion that withdrawal from the INF Treaty is also meant to put pressure on China, which is expanding its nuclear capability, but it is doubtful if this will be effective. It would not be easy to realize the establishment of a multinational framework involving China.


While this action is being taken mainly to demonstrate a “strong America,” it may destroy the international framework for nuclear disarmament.

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