On August 2, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), one of the most important nuclear disarmament treaties in the world, was declared dead. The treaty was signed by the US and the Soviet Union in 1987. Now the two countries can build intermediate-range nuclear missiles without restriction. NATO and the European Union are worried about the consequences of this move, and the German foreign minister has warned of the beginning of a new arms race.
At the same time, it was predicted that with the coming to power of the Republican, especially Donald Trump himself, the arms race between Russia and the United States could escalate because the Americans have long accused Russia of violating the non-aggression pact signed between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev. Washington, in particular, felt that because the treaty was signed between the former Soviet Union and the United States, it would only cover the missile and nuclear issues of the two countries. Meanwhile, after that treaty China has emerged as a global power with intercontinental ballistic missile tests that the US says should be checked!
The United States believes that the restriction that was imposed after INF was signed by Gorbachev and Reagan is only between Russia and the United States, without taking into account China, which is expanding its military strength. So the Americans were looking for an excuse to revoke the treaty, and if a new pact was to be signed it would include China as well. So, for now, the idea of a new treaty is just in words and we have to see what will happen in the future.
On the other hand, the relations between the US and Russia have not been good for some time, and the conditions are not such that Russia would return to Yeltsin’s era and empower the country economically and industrially. This was evident after what happened to Ukraine and Georgia and after the sanctions were imposed against Russia. At present, it looks like we are witnessing a state of Cold War between America and Russia, of course not like the Cold War that happened before the Soviet collapse.
The fact is that the Americans do not want the Russians to be economically strong due to the friendship and alliance between Beijing and Moscow.
Perhaps the United States is planning to push Russia into an arms race once again so that Russia would devote much of its revenue on arms spending. When Russia spends its income in this domain, it can no longer stand as an economic power like China.
Generally speaking, it was not thought the trend of the policies between Russian and the United States would be favorable. Even after the elections in one and a half years whether Trump is reelected or not, it is unlikely for the Washington-Moscow ties to be better than what they are today.
At present, Trump has some considerations (for Russia) because of his special relationship with the Kremlin over the election issue. However, Democrats and Republicans in the Congress and the Senate do not have these considerations and are putting pressure on the White House on Russia.
But after the election, if Trump is re-elected, he will no longer have the current concerns about Russia, and will probably put more pressure on Moscow.
Thus, it seems that Trump has been under pressure to cancel the arms treaty with Russia because he does not want to provoke Russia much before the US presidential election. Because he knows that the Russians possess documents that if they disclose before the election it would affect the 2020 vote to Trump’s disadvantage.