Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

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Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty

The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987 (INF) was the first Nuclear Weapons agreement requiring the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) to reduce, rather than merely limit, their arsenals of nuclear weapons. Signed by President ronald reagan, of the United States, and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, of the U.S.S.R., on December 8, 1987, the INF Treaty eliminated all land-based nuclear missiles with ranges of between 300 and 3,400 miles. The U.S. Senate quickly ratified the treaty in 1988 by a vote of 93–5.

The INF Treaty marked an historic shift in superpower relations and was the first super-power arms control treaty since 1979. It required the removal of 1,752 Soviet and 859 U.S. short- and intermediate-range missiles, most of which were located in Europe. It was the second superpower agreement to ban an entire class of weapons, the first being the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention. The INF Treaty also contained unprecedented verification procedures, including mandatory exchanges of relevant missile data, on-site inspections, and satellite surveillance.

Soviet concessions in the INF negotiations grew out of Gorbachev's efforts to limit military competition between the United States and the U.S.S.R. The new Soviet willingness to make arms-control concessions was first evident in the 1986 Stockholm Accord, which established various confidence- and security-building measures between the superpowers and their allied countries, including on-site inspections and advance warning of military movements. In 1988, a year after signing the INF, Gorbachev continued his ambitious program of military cuts by announcing a unilateral reduction of 500,000 troops, including the removal of 50,000 troops and 5,000 tanks from eastern Europe. These developments met with a positive response from the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies, and created an atmosphere that would be conducive to future arms accords, including the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty of 1990 and the strategic arms reduction treaties of 1991 and 1993.

Several successor states to the Soviet Union, including Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine, continue to implement the treaty. Other European nations, including Germany, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, and Slovakia, voluntarily destroyed their medium-range missiles in the 1990s. The United States also persuaded Bulgaria to destroy its missiles in 2002. The right of parties to the treaty to conduct on-site inspections expired on May 31, 2001. However, parties still may conduct satellite surveillance to ensure that member states comply with the treaty. The treaty established the Special Verification Commission to implement the treaty, and the commission continues to meet regularly.

Further readings

Falkenrath, Richard A. 1995. Shaping Europe's Military Order: The Origins and Consequences of the CFE Treaty. Cambridge, Mass.: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.

Sheehan, Michael. 1988. Arms Control: Theory and Practice. Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell.

Wirth, Timothy E. 1988. Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Conventional Balance in Europe. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.


Arms Control and Disarmament; Cold War; Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty.

References in periodicals archive ?
The economy is bleeding further with the fall of the business community's confidence in Putin's way of handling Ukraine and the Moscow-Washington tensions over Obama's charge that Russia had violated the INF treaty, which had helped to eventually end the East-War Cold War.
html (asserting that Russia may be interested in terminating the INF Treaty, and may be in violation of it).
We first requested these talks in July when we announced our determination that Russia was in violation of the INF treaty," State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters on Tuesday.
Russia denied the accusation and clarified that its ground-launched cruise missile last July followed the INF treaty.
Although of "unlimited duration," the INF Treaty, as is the case from all treaties, permits parties to withdraw from it.
The bill retains the provision which allows the Pentagon to take specific measures if Russia violates the INF Treaty.
would consider military options if Russia didn't return to compliance with the INF treaty.
Any US decision to deploy medium range cruise of ballistic missiles in Europe would require a US withdrawal from the INF Treaty.
The INF Treaty contributed to further reductions, importantly including the Soviet SS-4, SS-5, and SS-20 together with US Pershing II ballistic missiles and the US GLCM.
Some people are hinting that Russia has violated the INF Treaty signed between Washington and Kremlin in 1987.
The initial reason for the INF Treaty was that intermediate-range missiles were considered highly destabilizing, as their short flight times meant they could wreak devastation very quickly and made a retaliatory response almost automatic.
Although Schaller lauds Reagan's willingness to negotiate the 1987 INF Treaty eliminating short range nuclear missiles, he criticizes Reagan's fixation with the Strategic Defense Initiative program (better known as "Star Wars").