May 18, 2017
BY REPS. TED POE (R-TEXAS) AND MIKE ROGERS (R-ALA.), OPINION CONTRIBUTORS - 05/18/17 10:05 AM EDT
Russian President Vladimir Putin has been allowed for too long to get away with lawless behavior without serious pushback from the U.S. and its allies. He has spent well over a decade doing everything in his power to undermine the security system put in place at the end of the Cold War, threatening international security and stability.
First he invaded Georgia in 2008. Then Moscow illegally seized and annexed Crimea in 2014 and invaded portions of eastern Ukraine. Putin’s troops are still illegally occupying territory in these sovereign countries.
But the kleptocrat of the Kremlin did not stop there: Under his watch, Russia has been systematically cheating on important arms control agreements, first and foremost the 1987 Intermediate-Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty; this violation directly threatens the security of the American people and calls into question Russian adherence to other treaties like the 2011 New Strategic Arms Reduction (START) Treaty.
In 1987, the United States and the Soviet Union signed the INF Treaty, which prohibited the flight, production or possession of all ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. The signing of the treaty was a monumental and unique accomplishment in arms control: It was the first, and is still the only, treaty to not simply reduce or limit the number of a class of weapon but to actually prohibit a category of weapons outright. It marked a crucial step toward ensuring European stability and securing U.S. interests in the region. And it marked the beginning of the end of the Cold War on terms dictated by the United States and the West.