The tensions between the United States and Russia are about to get even higher.
On Saturday, President Donald Trump confirmed that he plans to pull out of a Reagan-era nuclear weapons deal with Russia.
The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) was signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and then-General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev.
The agreement was effective June 1, 1988.
Both sides agreed to eliminate all conventional and nuclear missiles (including launchers) with ranges from 500-1,000 km and 1,000 to 5,500 km.
In essence, this was all short- and medium-range missiles traveling up to 3,420 miles.
Not included in this treaty, however, were sea-based missiles.
Trump believes the Russians have been violating this treaty.
In fact, he believes the treaty has been disregarded by the Russians for quite some time.
That being said, he plans on withdrawing from the treaty as soon as possible.
“We’re the ones who have stated in the agreement and we’ve honored the agreement, but Russia has not unfortunately honored the agreement, so we’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” Trump stated.
The president even challenged Barack Obama, wondering why the deal was not negotiated or withdrawn while he was in office.
If Trump is able to pull out of the agreement, and that is actually in question, it will serve to put the fire to tensions that are already at a high level with Russia.
Trump has been putting pressure on Russia for North Korea, oil production, and in finding a resolution to the war in Syria.
All of this is happening ahead of an expected summit between Trump and Putin.
There are two dates on the calendar where that may happen, although neither of them has been finalized as of yet.
Both presidents will be in Paris on Nov 11, as well as a Group of 20 meeting at the end of November.
It will be very interesting to see how Democrats react to this, as they have been very critical of Trump’s “friendliness” with Putin in the past.
Now that he is dropping the hammer on the Russians, it would not be surprising to see the Democrats pivot and accuse the President of trying to incite a war.