On Aug. 2, 2019, Trump’s withdrawal from the INF treaty went into effect.

On October 20, 2018, Trump announced that he was unilaterally pulling the U.S. out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, effective on August 2, 2019. That is today.

See this information from the Quaker-based lobby Friends Committee on National Legislation (www.fcnl.org):

Our local Olympia Coalition to Abolish Nuclear weapons is part of the statewide coalition, Washington Against Nuclear Weapons (www.wanwcoalition.org), which was created by Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility (www.wpsr.org.

See their e-mail from August 2, most of which I have copied here:

Withdrawing from the INF Treaty is Bad for Our Health

Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility opposes the Trump Administration’s withdrawal of the U.S. from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, effective today, August 2.

WPSR Physicians were active in the disarmament movement when negotiations took place between Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev and U.S. President Ronald Reagan on December 8, 1987. The passage of this treaty played a major role in stopping the nuclear arms race, ultimately reducing the total number of nuclear weapons from 70,000 at the beginning of the Cold War to around 15,000 today.

President Trump announced on October 20, 2018 that he was unilaterally withdrawing the U.S. from the treaty, accusing Russia of non-compliance. The U.S. formally suspended the treaty on Feb. 1, 2019 and Russia did so on the following day, in response to the U.S. withdrawal.

This decision was criticized by WA Representative Adam Smith, who said on Feb. 1 “President Trump withdrawing from this treaty reopens a field of competition with yet another class of nuclear weapons and, perhaps ironically, reverses one of President Reagan’s most important historical achievements in a way that benefits Moscow. We must not allow Russia to receive a free pass for violating the INF Treaty, which is exactly what the Trump administration is handing President Putin.”

We need to assess our political reality in the face of the treaty’s collapse, which includes the real potential for a Cold War-redux intermediate-range missile race, a hobbled global arms control structure, and the political ramifications of the INF collapse.

Nuclear weapons and the possibility of nuclear war are one of the greatest existing threats to human health. As physicians and as health professionals, we admonish the decision of President Trump to remove the U.S. from this treaty.

In times of rising political tensions, we need to implement evidence-based strategies like treaties and multilateral diplomacy that work to reduce the risk of nuclear war.

There is no treatment for the health impacts of a nuclear war, prevention is the only cure!