Commentary Magazine Blog Quotes FPI's Eric Edelman and Tzvi Kahn on the INF Treaty and the Iran Nuclear Deal

In "The Iran Deal's Evaporating Logic," Noah Rothman of Commentary Magazine writes:

The USSR is long gone, but the INF remains in place. Opponents of the Iran nuclear deal are advised to pay close attention to what that arrangement has become. It is no longer an arms control agreement but a political relic that serves little purpose but to shield from public scrutiny the extent to which Russia has become an irresponsible and revanchist international actor.

Writing in Politico Magazine in April, Foreign Policy Initiative scholars Eric Edelman and Tzvi Kahn outline the scope of the Russian’s efforts to game the INF. In response to Russia’s brazenness, American officials have routinely downplayed Moscow’s cheating. Despite repeatedly warning the United States that it was prepared to violate the INF over the course of the last decade, the Bush administration refused to acknowledge that reality. When Moscow did violate the terms of the INF in this decade, the Obama administration also pretended not to notice. And when this administration finally did address Russia’s violations of the terms of the INF, that acknowledgement was not followed up on with any consequences.

That failure of resolve continues even today. According to the Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz, a Pentagon assessment last month revealing the extent of Russia’s violations of the INF paints a damning picture of the Kremlin’s behavior. Unfortunately for anyone who would like to fully understand how Russia has undermined the INF, the White House is allegedly blocking that report’s release.

“Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, disclosed the existence of the Pentagon assessment last month and said the report is needed for Congress’ efforts to address the problem in legislation,” Gertz reported. “Rogers said the assessment was conducted by chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, and noted that it outlines potential responses to the treaty breach.”

To acknowledge the treaty’s failure would provide additional political legitimacy to an effort by House Republicans that seeks to provide funding for short-range cruise missile defenses in Poland and Romania. That’s a direct repudiation of this White House, which continues to stand by its 2009 rejection of a Bush-era deal that would have provided the Czech Republic and Poland with long-range interceptor and radar technology. In short, politics is dictating American national defense planning and strategy.

“Similarly, for decades, Tehran has violated its nuclear commitments — and the United States has failed to hold it accountable,” Edelman and Kahn observed.

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