• Trump's threat to withdraw from nuclear missile treaty alarms activists

    By: Graham Johnson

    Updated:

    Nuclear missiles launched from land are the weapons targeted by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces, or INF, Treaty.

    President Donald Trump points to violations from Russia as a reason to scrap the deal.

    "Russia has not, unfortunately, honored the agreement so we're going to terminate the agreement. We're going to pull out," Trump said over the weekend.

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    Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, who signed the INF Treaty with President Ronald Reagan in 1987, said Trump's withdrawal threat is "not the work of a great mind."

     

    "It was a victory to get the INF Treaty back in 1987 and we celebrated it," said veteran antinuclear activist Mary Hanson, with Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action.

    She pointed to recent bus ads reminding people in Seattle what's at stake.

    "Twenty miles west of Seattle is the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the United States," the ad reads.

    "It makes us a target," Hanson said.

    The weapons are at Naval Base Kitsap's facility in Bangor, the sole base for an estimated six active U.S. nuclear submarines operating in the Pacific.

    Antinuclear activists met the first arriving Trident sub in 1982, and for years protested trains bringing supplies.

    "People just don't get it, that having more and more destructive weapons makes you less safe," Hanson said.

    Hans Kristensen, of the Federation of American Scientists, described the weaponry at Bangor in an interview with KIRO 7.

    "You have an enormous military base that has over a thousand nuclear warheads in storage and on submarines," Kristensen said.

    The sub missiles are long-range and are covered by a different treaty than the one Trump wants to ditch.

    "If Trump pulls the United States out of the INF Treaty, does this result in the collapse of the other treaty, the New START Treaty?" Kristensen asked.

    There's debate among experts about whether Russia's INF Treaty violations are serious enough to justify a withdrawal.

    If the president sends Russia an INF Treaty withdrawal letter, it would take effect six months later.
     

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