Opinion | Why We Should Keep the I.N.F. Treaty

Opinion | Why We Should Keep the I.N.F. Treaty


A professor of international relations lists three reasons.

Mikhail S. Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan signed the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty in Washington in 1987.CreditCreditSovfoto/UIG, via Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “Is I.N.F. Treaty So Important That Its End Could Set Off an Arms Race?” (news article, Oct. 24):

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty establishes a norm against missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers (over 300 miles and less than 3,500), and keeping the treaty would help extend its limits to other countries.

First, North Korea agreed to eliminate missiles with ranges over 500 kilometers during an unfinalized deal with the Clinton administration. The Trump administration could ask Pyongyang to accept the same limits, removing the Korean missile threat to Japan.

Second, missile talks with Iran could seek to limit it to 500-kilometer-range systems; this would take away the Iranian missile threat to Israel.

Third, India, Pakistan and China could agree not to nuclearize missiles with ranges below 500 kilometers. This would keep their short-range conventional missiles distinct from nuclear systems, reducing the destabilizing ambiguity in such missiles.

Dinshaw Mistry
The writer, a professor of international relations at the University of Cincinnati, is the author of “Containing Missile Proliferation.”

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