President Donald Trump on Saturday indicated the United States will withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty INF ) due to persistent Russian violations.
As far back as 2011, Bolton warned strategic threats such as China, Iran, and North Korea were not covered by the INF so it dangerously limited America’s options for dealing with them, for the sake of containing an enemy that no longer exists in the form that menaced the world in 1987.
In October 2016, House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) wrote to then-President Barack Obama stating the “situation regarding Russia’s violations has worsened” and Russia was now “in material breach” of the INF.
“While your administration finally stated in 2014 (as a result of pressure from our committees) what had been well-understood before then – that Russia was illegally flight testing intermediate-range ground-launched cruise missiles – neither the State Department nor the Defense Department imposed consequences on Russia,” Thornberry and Nunes wrote to Obama.
Trump mentioned China as well as Russia when elaborating on his statement, nodding to concerns the INF hinders America from developing medium-range weapons while leaving China free to litter the contested waters of the South and East China Seas with missile launchers.