Survey: Two-Thirds of Americans Want To Keep the INF Treaty

Originally appeared on The American Conservative.

A new survey finds broad public support for staying in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty that Trump is killing:

Two-thirds of survey respondents oppose abandoning the treaty, and instead favor pursuing diplomacy to resolve the dispute over compliance by the Russians, according to the survey, conducted by the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland in conjunction with the University’s Center for International and Security Studies. The Center for Public Integrity provided consulting for the survey.

Even the majority of Trump’s fellow Republicans who were surveyed – 55 percent – said they oppose withdrawal from INF, including more than half (51 percent) of self-described Trump voters polled. Among Democrats, 77 percent of respondents said they favor sticking with the treaty.

The survey’s findings make clear that Trump’s decision to exit the treaty doesn’t have popular support, and it shows once again that there is broad public support for arms control agreements. Even among Republicans and Trump voters, more respondents favored sticking with the treaty despite Russian violations. This is one area where there is overall agreement between the public and most foreign policy professionals. The vast majority of arms control experts don’t support withdrawing from the treaty and argue there is nothing to be gained by doing so.

The INF Treaty is one of the most successful arms control treaties ever negotiated, and scrapping it does nothing to make the U.S. and our allies more secure. Giving up on the treaty is a dangerous and destabilizing move that undermines the foundation of all U.S.-Russian arms control, and it paves the way for allowing New START to expire without any attempt to keep it alive.

Abandoning the INF Treaty has been a long-held ambition of Republican hard-liners that have never seen an arms control agreement they didn’t want to oppose or destroy. National Security Advisor John Bolton is the worst of them. Dan Spinelli notes this in his recent article on the treaty:

It’s Bolton who many observers single out as the brains behind this move, given his historic opposition to arms control treaties of any kind. “John Bolton is a serial arms-control treaty killer,” Joe Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a foundation that advocates against nuclear proliferation, told Mother Jones. “He believes in the brute-force approach to strategic relations.”

Once the INF Treaty is gone, Bolton will have played a significant role in destroying or undermining four important arms control and nonproliferation agreements over the last twenty years, and killing off New START will make five. Each time that Bolton’s hard-line views have prevailed, US and allied interests have suffered and the world has become more dangerous and unstable than it was before.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at The American Conservative, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and is a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Dallas. Follow him on Twitter. This article is reprinted from The American Conservative with permission.

10 thoughts on “Survey: Two-Thirds of Americans Want To Keep the INF Treaty”

  1. Yes and no. The public is not being told that Russia first broke the treaty in 2014 and Obama did and said nothing about it.

    We chose to pretend everything was just fine. The major question of our era is, do intentions mean more results? If Russia has the missiles back in production Eastern Europe needs to defend itself against them, not pretend nothing is wrong.

    Why is America safe? We have natural borders ( mountains, lakes, rivers, Texas LOl), Russia has wide open borders. They have been attacked by everyone from Japan to us. The only way they can be secure is to create a system of rings another nation would have to go through to get to Russia. Sadly, those rings are other nations. Only by guaranteeing Russia’s defense from attack can we begin to break this endless, stupid Cold War.

    1. I can’t imagine why they would feel the need to defend themselves after we have done every thing possible to stoke the fear of an invasion.

      This is classic MIC business. Threaten a sovereign country by ignoring the treaties you sign that secure peace with that nation in order to get the desired response. After you get that response you can move in on their natural resources and install your puppet.

      Natural borders are so 1600’s and have almost nothing to do with modern defense. The entire ME has proven this.

  2. Americans haven’t had a Democracy since the Federalists lost the election; what Americans think doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.

    1. The Federalists won the first three elections. After the first election, we had Washington himself leading an army into western Pennsylvania to put down the hoi polloi for “erecting seditious poles” (liberty poles, the symbol of the Revolution). After the third election, we got the Alien and Sedition Acts in an (unsucessful) attempt to rig the fourth. Doesn’t sound particularly “democratic” to me.

      1. Yes, but more importantly, the election was lost through the use of slander, the same technique that had been used for centuries to initiate Inquisitions in Europe, and workers, being the ignorant low lives that they are, can almost always be counted on to vote the way they are told. That’s why when the Federalists lost, so too was any semblance of a Democracy, just like how we all lost are liberties on 9/11, and rest assured that except for a few within 30 years we’ll all be in bonds again.

          1. And, assuming that the lies/slander was based on some sort of truth, as it is today; then we have to assume that most politicians, at least at the federal level are some sort of socially dysfunctional mass murderer. It doesn’t make much sense for the rich and powerful to worship some weirdo god, when all the evidence suggests that they themselves are the one true living god, and in fact our laws reinforce that fact upon the poor every day.

  3. The Neocons Pence, Bolton, and Pompeo don`t care about survey. Even if 99.99% would want to keep the treaty, the Neocons would abandon the treaty, they are driven by ideology and Russophobia.

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