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Abandoning an arms treaty with Russia may be Trump's most dangerous idea yet

Abandoning an arms treaty with Russia may be Trump's most dangerous idea yet
President Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, with Gorbachev's translator in the middle, participate in an INF treaty signing ceremony at the White House on Dec. 8, 1987. (Bob Daugherty / AP)

To the editor: The editorial board makes a solid case against President Trump’s threat to abandon the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Force Treaty (or INF). Making good on this threat would be the worst geopolitical mistake in American history.

Yes, it is true that new Russian weapons may flout the INF. The Obama administration pushed Moscow on that, and President Trump is correct to continue doing that.

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The Trump administration has advanced a second reason for withdrawing: China is not a party. Abandoning the stabilizing force of the INF in Europe because it does not include China is a classic non-sequitur. More sensible would be to negotiate with China.

More broadly, pulling out of the INF is part of this administration’s misguided belief that we should abandon our 70-year system of security in Europe to challenge China more forcefully in Asia. Problem is, this is precisely the wrong time to weaken European security. Abandoning the INF and further alienating our European allies is the most dangerous idea yet spawned by this administration.

Larry T. Caldwell, Beaumont

The writer is a professor emeritus of politics at Occidental College, where he taught courses on U.S. national security and Russian foreign policy.

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To the editor: On the surface, Trump’s move to abrogate a nuclear arms control treaty with Russia may appear to be one of his most idiotic impulses, but is in fact totally consonant with his genius.

No one else has thought of combating global warming with a nuclear winter. With over-the-edge thinking like that, who cares if we have to accept a little nepotism and graft?

Greg Cahill, Culver City

Follow the Opinion section on Twitter @latimesopinion and Facebook

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