My daughter Nika was born just a few years after Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan signed the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, one of the world’s most important nuclear arms accords. With the stroke of two pens, the agreement banned an entire class of nuclear weapons, led to the destruction of nearly 2,700 warheads and diminished the threat of nuclear war in Europe. At the time, Gorbachev said, “We can be proud to plant this sapling, which someday may grow to be a full tree of peace.” Thirty-one years later, President Trump is taking an ax to that tree. This month, he announced that the United States will withdraw from the INF, all but inviting a new arms race: “We have more money than anybody else by far,” Trump said. “We’ll build it up until [China and Russia] come to their senses.”
The following article by Katrina vanden Heuvel , chief editor of The Nation magazine, was originally published 25 September 2018 by the Washington Post. We are grateful to the author’s permission to reprint. Her article begins with an appeal in particular to the the Progressives among the U.S. Democrats: “A clear message is needed: Enough with endless wars and the global oligarchy.” ... Now, we need a forceful articulation of a progressive foreign policy.
To date, the progressive left’s national security policy has been mostly missing in action. Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-Vt.) presidential campaign did much to frame the domestic agenda, but paid less attention to foreign policy. Democrats in Congress have too often criticized President Trump from the right — for not being tough enough on Russia, for questioning the United States’ allies, for preemptive diplomacy with North Korea. There are a few exceptions — such as Sen. Chris Murphy (Conn.)’s emphasis on diplomacy as well as challenges to U.S. misadventures in Afghanistan from Sen. Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Rep. Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (Calif.). And the Congressional Progressive Caucus has called for a more sensible military budget. Yet none have gained much traction.
The strength is not in nuclear bombs and missiles. The trust of the world community is a real defence,” said the Kazakh President at the Security Council stressing that only nuclear disarmament and confidence-building measures through the complete elimination of nuclear arsenals constitute the only and absolute guarantee against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons. “It is the largest nuclear powers that should be in the lead of the struggle for a nuclear weapons-free world and set an example by reducing WMD. This does not mean that the rest of the countries should stand by and that their actions are irrelevant”, said Nazarbayev.
INF was the start of the process of radically cutting back nuclear arsenals, which was continued with the 1991 and 2010 strategic arms reduction treaties and the agreements reducing tactical nuclear weapons. The scale of the process launched in 1987 is evidenced by the fact that, as Russia and the United States reported to the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in 2015, 80 percent of the nuclear weapons accumulated during the Cold War have been decommissioned and destroyed. ... The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, however, is now in jeopardy. I call upon Russia and the United States to prepare and hold a full-scale summit on the entire range of issues. It is far from normal that the presidents of major nuclear powers meet merely “on the margins” of international gatherings. I hope that the process of preparing a proper summit is in the works even now…
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