Former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev the last Soviet leader, is urging Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump to meet face to face to resolve their differences as each side accuses the other of violating a Cold War-era arms-control treaty that Gorbachev believes is essential to maintaining peace between the two world powers.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a landmark arms control treaty signed in 1987 by Gorbachev and former US President Ronald Reagan, helped end the Cold War by requiring both countries to eliminate all nuclear ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers.
But recently, both sides have called for the treaty to be scrapped as perceived encroachment by NATO “missile-defense” systems in South Korea and Europe has unnerved Putin, while Russia’s efforts to influence the US presidential election with a “sophisticated” propaganda campaign
In an essay that was published in a local newspaper, and re-published by the Washington Post, Gorbachev explains why preserving the treaty – which he sees as the most vulnerable link in the system of limiting and reducing weapons of mass destruction – is imperative to maintaining the Russia-US relationship.
In the essay, Gorbachev argues that the US-Russia relationship is “in a severe crisis” and only a dialogue based on “mutual respect” can help repair it – if only the two leaders could scrounge up the political will to make it happen.
So what is happening, what is the problem, and what needs to be done?
Both sides have raised issues of compliance, accusing the other of violating or circumventing the treaty’s key provisions. From the sidelines, lacking fuller information, it is difficult to evaluate those accusations. But one thing is clear:
The problem has a political as well as a technical aspect. It is up to the political leaders …read more