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Scrapping the INF treaty is risky — and a lost opportunity

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As of Friday, the treaty banning the US and Russia from developing and deploying land-based intermediate-range ballistic and cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads is history. This represents a huge blow to Europe's security architecture — after all, the treaty was agreed 32 years ago to keep this very continent safe.

After a previous arms race, the US and the Soviet Union had agreed to scrap an entire class of weapons. Both superpowers thus abolished an unnecessary and highly expensive threat, which, of course, benefited their respective European allies as well. This major step made a war on European soil much less likely. The concept of nuclear deterrence — the one who shoots first, dies second — nevertheless persists to this day. But the number of nuclear weapons owned by both superpowers has dropped considerably. While the US and Soviet Union each possessed about 12,000 nuclear warheads in the late 1980s, today the US and Russia each have approximately 1,600.

Read more: Landmark INF nuclear arms treaty is history: What now?

Lack of trust

The demise of the INF treaty........

© Deutsche Welle