RIP INF Treaty

Today is it, the time is up, and the INF treaty has collapsed. The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that began the wind-down of the Cold War. For the first time the US and Soviet Union agreed to reduce their arsenals and commit to extensive on-site inspection. The INF was a Treaty, negotiated at the height of cold war tensions, that build trust and set the stage for massive arms reductions.

Now we have a new nuclear arms race instead.

We need to ask who benefits from this decision to make the world so much less safe? Look no further from the companies — many of whom donate to Donald Trump — who will cash in on the nuclear weapons windfall from a new arms race. Last year already saw an increase of $81bn invested in nuclear weapons alone — this will be a drop in the ocean now.

Since the official announcement of withdrawal from the treaty, in February, the US government has put out over a billion dollars in missile related contracts.

The companies that stand to benefit include Raytheon, already complicit in contributing to the US nuclear weapons arsenal.  Since the official withdrawal took place on 2 February, Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Textron (among others) have also locked in new contracts with the US government for missile related activities.

It is no surprise that these companies, with direct ties to the Trump Administration are profiting from this new nuclear arms race. With individuals like Nikki Haley, former US Ambassador that orchestrated the US  boycott to the negotiations of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear weapons on the board at Boeing now, one can expect no less. This new nuclear arms race is not about security, it’s about lining the pockets of Trumps buddies and donors.

Ultimately while bilateral agreements like the INF can be a stop-gap measure, reducing tensions and building confidence, they fail to address the root cause of nuclear proliferation. They continue to regard nuclear weapons as legitimate, as something that cannot be dealt with swiftly but only through decades. Keeping nuclear weapons as symbols of power and might instead of focusing on them as big, dumb, obsolete weapons prevents progress.

The end of the INF reinforces the urgency and importance of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to become the instrument we all rally behind. The TPNW rejects any nuclear weapons by any possessor. It reminds that nuclear weapons use would cause humanitarian catastrophe that could not be mitigated or even responded to. The TPNW is the only realistic approach to inject a bit of sanity into the risk-fuelled dictator driven disaster that nuclear politics are enacting on the world stage.

700 million Europeans woke up this morning in a world that is more dangerous, because their leaders have (mostly) failed to reject the worst weapon ever developed. Europe, and the world deserve better than this. They deserve profound declarations by their own leadership not to allow the stationing of new missiles across Europe. They deserve a rejection of weapons designed to decimate the cities in which they live. They deserve better than what Trump and Putin are offering- they deserve the ban.