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A U.S.-Russia nuclear treaty is dead. Now what?

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on August 2, 2019 - Duration: 01:58s

A U.S.-Russia nuclear treaty is dead. Now what?

After months of diplomatic threats, the U.S. has formally withdrawn from the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

But although the Cold War-era deal is dead, what's next for the U.S. arsenal isn't clear.

Matthew Larotonda reports.

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A U.S.-Russia nuclear treaty is dead. Now what?

Planes.

Long-range missiles.

Submarines.

Some of the assets of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

And, now that the Trump administration has officially withdrawn the country from a Cold War-era treaty with Russia on Friday (August 2), they may be getting a new addition: medium-range ground-based missiles, including mobile platforms. Missiles the White House claims would be the American equivalent of this Russian weapon system.

The Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty was supposed to ban missiles with a range between 310 and 3,400 miles, to deter both powers from a nuclear buildup in Europe.

The U.S. says this system violates the treaty and ultimately led to its pullout.

Russia has always denied it and says the missile, which NATO dubs the SSC-8, was fully compliant.

The U.S. suspended the INF six months ago and now that it's truly dead the Pentagon is free to develop similar weapons.

A few lingering issues for Washington though: First, is that funding is limited.

The Obama White House and later President Trump were already involved in an ambitious modernization of the nuclear arsenal, like these missile silos in Alaska.

And an administration official has told us that Democrats in Congress don't approve of the additional $96 million Trump wants to develop the new medium-range systems. Without their backing it's not clear what will happen once the existing funding runs out.

There's also the question of China.

Trump has long said it should be included in any new INF treaty.

Reuters has previously reported how Chinese missile systems have advanced rapidly in recent years, unhindered by any arms treaties, and in some ways have surpassed the American arsenal.

Russia has said it's open to including China in new three-way deal, but Beijing has given no indication that it's interested.

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