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Republican Lawmakers Urge Obama To Punish Russia For Violating Nuclear Weapons Treaty

October 21, 2016

Two Congressmen wrote a letter this week urging the White House to investigate and act on Russia’s breaches on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty. Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas, and Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Republican Devin Nunes from California, joined together in pushing the Obama Administration to take the breaches of the INF treaty seriously, implement promised sanctions, and develop military capabilities to prepare for new Russian weapons.

In the letter, the Chairmen declare that Russia “is now in material breach” of the INF treaty, the treaty which is regarded as the only one to have ever successfully eliminated a class of nuclear weapons.

President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev shake hands after signing the INF Treaty in 1988.

President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev shake hands after signing the INF Treaty in 1988.

“It’s provisions are simple:” the Congressmen wrote, “a flight test or the production or possession of a ground-launched ballistic missile or cruise missile of the defined-ranges is illegal and defeats the Treaty’s object and purpose.”

The reps. criticize the Obama Administration saying they were well aware of Russia’s breaches of the INF treat in 2014 and neither the State Department or the Defense Department imposed consequences.

“It has become apparent to us that the situation regarding Russia’s violation has worsened and Russia is now in material breach of the Treaty,” they stated.

“We stand ready to support you in taking steps to respond to the military impacts of Russia’s breakout of the INF Treaty,” the letter concludes.

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Mac Thornberry

Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Mac Thornberry

“This Administration is quick to react when the Russians release information relating to the election, but when it comes to violating nuclear treaties, the President only seems willing to drag his feet,” Chairman Thornberry said in regard to the letter.” To be clear, any Russian involvement in our political process is unacceptable.  But this Administration’s failure to confront the Russians for cheating on the INF Treaty encourages more Russian misbehavior and leads to a more dangerous world.”


Chairman Nunes also commented on the letter stating that the Obama Administration’s ” lack of response to Russia’s flagrant violations of the INF treaty is yet another misstep contributing to the spreading perception of American weakness and indecisiveness. The ‘strategic patience’ touted by this Administration is a ridiculous euphemism for passivity and paralysis that invites further aggressive actions by Russia and other international pariahs. ‘Strategic patience’ is a misleading description of this administration’s policy – it is more accurate to call it ‘strategic incoherence.'”