It’s been over 50 years since the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the strain between the United States and Russia is increasing once again. In early Feb, President Donald Trump backed out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, also known as the INF Treaty, which was a safeguard against nuclear war. Backing out of the treaty will make Europe “more dangerous”, according to Pyotr Tolstoy, a speaker within one of Russia’s houses of parliament.
“It is dangerous,” junior Megan Gilligan said. “Since both countries withdrew from the INF treaty, it sounds like either country can do whatever they want in terms of [declaring] nuclear war.”
Both countries have approximately five months to renew the treaty, but both President Trump and Vladimir Putin have plans to make upgrades to their nuclear arsenals.
Putin and Trump have talked a few times throughout the last month, and recently their talks have escalated to the point where there have been threats of the involvement of nuclear weapons. Russian state television has released a list of US targets on Feb 24, with three of the five targets being in Maryland.
Both Russia and the U.S. have hundreds of missiles in their arsenal that are ready to be unleashed at each other in a moments notice. This is a similar situation to the Cold War from 1947-1991, where both countries are ready for war and making threats, but neither side is actually taking a step towards the action.
“We don’t want confrontation, particularly with such a global power as the U.S. But Russia will always respond,” said Putin, according to the Los Angeles Times.
LA Times stated that On Monday March 4, Putin formally suspended Russia’s observance of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The New York Times said that according to Putin, Russia had been building weapons previously banned under the treaty, but said they wouldn’t use them unless America did so first. On the same day, Russia’s ambassador, Anatoly Antonov, speaks about the US-Russian relations.
“We are in crisis,” Antonov said. “I’m scared that some politicians and generals in Washington, and maybe in other capitals, they start thinking about the possibility to be a winner in a nuclear war. I would like to use this opportunity to send a message that is impossible to win a nuclear war.”
According to The Guardian, the US and Russia account for more than 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads. If both countries continue to back out of arms control treaties, it will raise the risk of global nuclear proliferation.
Additionally, the Washington Post reported two months ago that Trump hid details of a meeting with the Russian president. When word got out, the news angered the House Democrats, sparking them to demand documents of their conversation.
“It’s government transparency,” said junior Andrea Sicoli. “We have a right to know what he’s talking about, and that’s why I think the Democrats should know what he’s talking about.”
Russia and the United States may be on the brink of nuclear war, as leaders on both sides seem to be throwing threats at each other. Both countries are equipped with hundreds of nuclear weapons, and neither are seeming to be slowing down on upgrading their nuclear arsenal.