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USA non proliferation experts, both Democrat and Republican Urge Trump to save nuclear treaty with Russia

In Bipartisan Pleas, Experts Urge Trump to Save Nuclear Treaty With Russia, NYT, By Rick Gladstone, Nov. 8, 2018 Alarmed at what they see as disintegrating curbs on nuclear weapons, a bipartisan array of American nonproliferation experts has urged President Trump to salvage a Cold War-era treaty with Russia that he has vowed to scrap.

In letters sent to the White House this week that were seen by The New York Times, the experts said the pact, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, had reduced the risk of nuclear war.

Despite the treaty’s flaws, they said, the United States should work to fix the accord, not walk away from it.

“The INF Treaty has prevented the unchecked deployment of nuclear missiles in Europe,” stated one of the letters, sent Wednesday to the White House. It was signed by more than a dozen prominent figures in arms control, including former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and former Senators Richard Lugar and Sam Nunn.

Another letter, dated Tuesday and sent by the American College of National Security Leaders, a group of former high-level military officers, said: “The INF Treaty is a bedrock to our current arms control regime and serves rather than hampers American interests.”

There was no immediate comment from the Trump administration on the letters.

The treaty’s fate may come up this weekend if Mr. Trump sees President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia during a memorial event in France celebrating the centennial of the end of World War I. But there have been conflicting accounts from the White House and the Kremlin on whether the two will even meet.

……….In the letter signed by Mr. Shultz and others, the arms control experts recognized what they called Russia’s noncompliance with the treaty. But rather than move to terminate it, they called on Mr. Trump “to direct your team to redouble efforts to negotiate technical solutions to U.S. (and Russian) INF compliance concerns.”

Both letters also urged Mr. Trump to engage in negotiations with the Russians on prolonging the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, which will expire in February 2021 unless both sides agree to an extension. That pact limits the number of long-range missiles, bombers and warheads in the American and Russian arsenals.

Should the treaty expire, the former military commanders said in their letter, it would be the first time since 1972 that the United States and Russia “have not been bound by a binding arms control agreement.”

November 10, 2018 - Posted by | politics international, USA

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