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Ditching the treaty

Ditching the treaty

The Russian government has said it would retaliate if the United States began developing new missile systems, ratcheting up the rhetoric after US President Donald Trump said he would ditch a Cold War-era nuclear arms treaty. Ditching the treaty would be relatively easy for a man who has been criticised by expert analysts for not only living in a world of half-truths and untruths but for being one who has little or no sense of history. The treaty was signed at the height of the Cold War and applauded the world over even as it heaved a tremendous sigh of relief. The two heroes were Presidents Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan. Now, Trump intends to withdraw the US from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), signed by the Soviet Union and the United States in 1987 during the final years of the Cold War. The agreement has helped eliminate thousands of land-based missiles from the US and Russia and Trump's plans have raised concerns of a renewed arms race between the two nations. Since Trump has blamed Russians for provoking him, Russian President Vladimir Putin shot back that it was the US that "dilutes" the agreement. The Cold War agreement saw thousands of missiles with ranges between 300 and 3,400 miles destroyed and banned the development and testing of such weapons. Suggestions for a new arms race between the US and Russia have been brewing over the past two years since Russia deployed a cruise missile in what US officials said was an INF treaty violation. But both countries may have something to gain by ditching the agreement. Withdrawing from the treaty would allow the US to develop a missile similar to the one that Russia has tested. Conversely, the announcement could also allow Russia to blame the United States for the treaty's demise, while pursuing an arsenal of nuclear missiles more freely. Russia and USA are still two key countries responsible for the world's stability and security. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he had not seen Trump's decision come through official channels. The former leader of the Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev, who signed the treaty in 1987 with then-US President Ronald Reagan, criticised Trump's plan as "unacceptable" and "very irresponsible," RIA Novosti reported. "It was a great victory that we managed to get as far as making decisions enshrined in these...treaties that got rid of nuclear weapons and warheads," Gorbachev said. Gorbachev expressed hope that Moscow and Washington could still reach an agreement to preserve the INF treaty. "I don't know whether they will succeed or not, but I think it's not too late yet," he said.

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