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Trump’s Nuclear-Treaty Withdrawal Sends a Message to North Korea

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By Marc A. Thiessen · at the Patriot Post/https://patriotpost.us/opinion/59108

In announcing his decision to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, President Trump cited Russia’s repeated violations and the fact that the treaty does not bind China, which is engaged in the world’s most ambitious ballistic missile development program. But Trump’s withdrawal may also be designed for another purpose. It sends a subtle but unmistakable message to North Korea: If you refuse to denuclearize, we can now surround your country with short- and medium-range missiles that will allow us to strike your regime without warning.

At the moment, the Trump administration appears to be making little progress in nuclear talks with Pyongyang. The threat of deployment of intermediate-range missiles in Asia could change the dynamics of those negotiations. Recall that in 1983, President Ronald Reagan announced plans to deploy hundreds of U.S. intermediate-range Pershing II missiles in Western Europe in response to the Soviet Union’s deployment of SS-20 nuclear missiles. The U.S. deployment sparked mass protests throughout Europe, but it also put enormous pressure on Moscow — and in so doing laid the groundwork for a series of arms control breakthroughs, including the INF Treaty.

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