US President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, on October 22, 2018. AFP / SAUL LOEB / ALTERNATIVE CROP
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It may be the highest-stakes move for Donald Trump in his entire presidency unilaterally removing the United States from yet another international treaty, this time with immediate and potentially existential consequences.Trump's Oct. 20 announcement that Washington would withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia, a landmark 1987 agreement signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev to remove nuclear weapons from Europe, eliminates whatever curbs may be left on the development and deployment of a whole new generation of lethal and more readily deployable nuclear arms. Trump's ill-conceived and poorly thought-out action plays directly into Putin's hands.Reagan declined, but agreed to the more limited INF pact.Inspections under this treaty were guaranteed for 10 years and ended officially in 2001 .None of these are solved by Trump's threatened unilateral withdrawal from the INF treaty.
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