Gorbachev pushes for Trump-Putin summit to save INF treaty
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned Thursday that a landmark nuclear weapons treaty between Russia and the United States is in danger.
In an op-ed in a Russian newspaper, the last leader of the Soviet Union wrote that U.S.-Russia relations were in the midst of a “severe crisis.”
“If the system of curbing nuclear arms crumbles, and that is exactly what the collapse of the INF treaty can lead to, the consequences will be catastrophic,” Gorbachev wrote Thursday.
Gorbachev, alongside President Reagan, signed the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in 1987. The pact bans both countries from obtaining short- and intermediate-range land-based nuclear and conventional missiles.
The former Russian leader said Thursday that the INF is the “most vulnerable” link in the fight to ban dangerous nuclear weapons around the globe, and he urged both nations to act to save the treaty.
“It has turned out to be the most vulnerable link in the system of limiting and reducing weapons of mass destruction,” Gorbachev said. “If the INF treaty could be saved, it would be a powerful signal for the whole world that the biggest nuclear powers understand their responsibility and take their obligations seriously.”
Gorbachev called on President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold a U.S.-Russia summit in the near future, arguing that the breakdown of U.S.-Russia relations and the two leaders’ lack of communication was contributing to problems around the world.
“It’s totally abnormal for the presidents of nuclear powers to meet somewhere ‘on the sidelines’ and that they have only met once,” Gorbachev wrote, referring to Trump’s meeting with Putin at the G-20 summit.
Gorbachev’s call for closer relations comes just a day after Trump missed a deadline to implement sanctions against Russia, prompting bipartisan criticism.
“The delay calls into question the Trump administration’s commitment to the sanctions bill which was signed into law more than two months ago, following months of public debate and negotiations in Congress. They’ve had plenty of time to get their act together,” Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) said in a joint statement on Wednesday.