State Enforces Cold War Nuclear Arms Pact

Posted February 3, 2015 at 3:18pm

The U.S. State Department’s top official for arms control said diplomatic efforts to persuade Russia to return to compliance with a Cold War-era nuclear arms control pact remain very much in effect, putting off for now implementation of the military and economic countermeasures she had warned in December were being readied.

Last summer, the State Department publicly accused Moscow of a breach of the 1987 Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, which bars both countries from developing, testing, and possessing any missile with a range between 310 and 3,400 miles. Moscow’s reported violation involves the testing of an unspecified ground-launched cruise missile.

“We are in constant diplomatic touch with them about this matter,” said Rose Gottemoeller, undersecretary of State. “The good and positive thing is that the Russians continue to say they are committed to this treaty.”

At a House hearing late last year, the senior U.S. diplomat testified that the government was readying unspecified military and economic retaliatory responses that could be put into effect against Russia if U.S. treaty concerns went unresolved.

Gottemoeller declined in an interview with CQ Roll Call to elaborate on what those military measures might be. “I’m not going to go beyond what we said in the hearing,” she said. “I think that the most important message and most important message for the Russians is that any step they would take to deploy such intermediate-range nuclear missiles, they would not derive any military advantage from.”