The United States is withdrawing from a 1987 Cold War era nuclear arms treaty with Russia that bans ground-launched cruise missiles with a range from 500km-5,000km. These missiles take minutes to launch and leave little time for leaders to plan a defense strategy.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has stated that the U.S. is withdrawing from the treaty because Russia has continuously violated the treaty “without remorse” while the U.S. does not violate the agreed upon treaty terms. U.S. officials also have expressed concerns over China’s nuclear arsenal, which includes weapons that do not fall within the limits of the treaty. However, since they are not a member of the treaty, they do not have to abide by it.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov expressed that Russia is saddened by the decision but that Russia has not violated the treaty. Peskov claims that the U.S. is unwilling to negotiate to keep the treaty before withdrawal in six months.

Executive Director at the Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, Laura Rockwood, believes the U.S. should not pull out of the treaty, and argues that the treaty has been extremely successful. She states that rather than completely eliminate the treaty, the treaty should be extended to include China.

Women have been at the forefront of the anti-nuclear weapon movement for decades; women’s organizations such as Code Pink and Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF) fight to eradicate nuclear weapons from the world and advocate for more diplomatic solutions that include women. WILPF’s subsection, PeaceWomen, which exclusively advocates for the eradication of nuclear weapons, believes war is a feminist issue as it disproportionately impacts women. WILPF states that militarism “relies on gendered and racial understandings to value things associated with the military and devalue things associated with non-violence.”

 

Media Resources: Washington Post 2/1/19; Al Jazeera 2/1/19; Code Pink; Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom; PeaceWomen

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