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ELN on the INF Treaty

The United States withdrew from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty on 02 August 2019; from the first accusations of Russian violation of the treaty in 2014, the ELN has followed the debate both for and against this decision.

The United States withdrew from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty on Friday 02 August. The loss of INF, which for more than 30 years served as a core element of European security, throws the precarious state of nuclear arms control into sharp relief.

There will be significant international attention paid to the demise of this landmark treaty, signed between the Soviet Union and United States, and what the collapse of the INF means for contemporary West-Russia relations, and the future of international arms control writ large.

From the first accusations of Russian violation of the Treaty in 2014, the European Leadership Network (ELN) has monitored the development of US-Russia relations and the debate both for and against withdrawal.

The ELN has released several policy briefs on the unfolding crisis in the INF Treaty, including:

  • The demise of the INF Treaty: What are the consequences for NATO? Drawing on their experience of working at NATO, Senior Associate Fellows Nicholas Williams and Simon Lunn explore parallels between the 1979 Dual Track decision and the current INF debate and fall-out. (Feb 2019)
  • Nuclear Signalling between NATO and Russia
    The risks of miscalculation or unwanted escalation connected with nuclear signalling failure are higher than they have been for decades and are rising. Rear Admiral John Gower, former UK Assistant Chief of Defence Staff, urges a proactive effort to reverse this trend. (Oct 2018)
  • The INF Treaty: The Way Forward
    ELN Policy Fellow, Dr Katarzyna Kubiak examines the evolution of the INF crisis and identifies recommendations and actions that may have overcome the treaty’s collapse. (May 2018)

“We should all be aware that if the INF treaty collapses and the US and Russia allow the current political tension to undermine the possibility of extending new START—which must be agreed before February 2021— the US and Russia will return to an unregulated nuclear arms competition that has not been seen since the early days of the Cold War” – Former UK Defence Minister and ELN Chairman, Lord Browne of Ladyton

Alongside in-depth policy briefs, the ELN has published commentaries on developments as they have emerged, particularly surrounding the US announcement of intention to withdraw in November 2018:

Some 81 members of the ELN’s senior network signed a joint statement calling for Presidents Trump and Putin to exercise restraint and not take unilateral action putting the INF treaty, and European security, at risk. Signatories included 14 former Ministers of Defence; 13 Foreign Ministers and 5 Chiefs of Defence Staff form across the wider European space.

38 members of the Younger Generation Leaders Network also published an open letter urging President’s Trump and Putin to preserve the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, resolve compliance issues, and work to protect nuclear arms control; noting their political legacies and futures are at stake.

Our in-house INF expert, Dr Katarzyna Kubiak has briefed politicians and senior decision-makers across Europe on the background and future implications of withdrawal, including the House of Commons Defence Committee, the Security and Defense Policy Working Group of the German Social Democratic Party, and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Dr Kubiak is available for media requests.

Through its research, publications, events, practical policy advocacy, media reach and high-level networks, the European Leadership Network (ELN) works to provide real-world solutions to political and security challenges. Our senior network is comprised of nearly 200 former Prime Ministers, Foreign and Defence Ministers, Political Advisors and Chiefs of Staff from across the wider-European space: Security policy is our area of expertise.

Additional ELN work and resources on the INF Treaty