Withdrawing from the INF Treaty Makes the U.S., and the World, Less Safe October 22, 2018

For Immediate Release

For media inquiries, contact:
Olivia Alperstein, (202) 587-5232
Jeff Carter, (202) 587-5240

Washington, D.C. — On October 20, U.S. President Donald Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the 1987 Treaty on Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF). In response, Physicians for Social Responsibility, a national science and health nonprofit organization representing medical and health professionals around the country, issued the following statement:

Withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty would make United States citizens less safe and increase the risk of nuclear war between the United States and Russia.

“Such a withdrawal would turn back the clock to a dangerous era that put the United States and Russia on the brink of nuclear war,” said Jeff Carter, Executive Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “President Trump’s plan would weaken national and international security while potentially fueling a new arms race.”

“Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev negotiated the INF Treaty to reduce the likelihood of a nuclear catastrophe. It is appalling that John Bolton and Donald Trump now plan to increase the likelihood of nuclear war,” said Martin Fleck, Nuclear Weapons Abolition Program Director of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

Almost 2,700 nuclear and conventional weapons have been removed and verifiably destroyed thanks to the INF, and it is critical that both the United States and Russia continue to honor and abide by its terms. These two nations possess the largest nuclear stockpiles in the world, and the INF has played a critical role in the decision of both nations to significantly reduce their stockpiles according to the terms of the agreement. The INF contributed to the end of the Cold War. If the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the INF, it would set a dangerous and woefully irresponsible precedent for all nuclear-armed nations to renege on their critical disarmament responsibilities.

This is not only a matter of security abroad. Withdrawing from the INF would weaken U.S. national security and put Americans’ lives at greater risk.

In a statement responding to the President’s announcement, the European Union declared, “The world doesn’t need a new arms race that would benefit no one and on the contrary would bring even more instability.”

PSR completely concurs. No nation on earth has a mass emergency or health response system that would be adequate in the event of a nuclear exchange, and all nations have an interest in preventing the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of the use of nuclear weapons. PSR recommends that the United States negotiate with all nuclear-armed countries for total elimination of their nuclear arsenals. In the meantime, for the sake of all nations, including the United States and Russia, it is critical that the INF remains in force, with both parties fully and demonstrably adhering to the terms of this vital international agreement.


About Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR)

PSR is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization representing medical and health professionals and concerned citizens, with approximately 40,000 members and supporters and with chapters in major cities and medical schools throughout the United States. PSR has been working for more than 50 years to create a healthy, just and peaceful world for both present and future generations.

More Press Release

EPA’s Decision to Delay Updating Ozone Pollution Standards is a Disappointment and Betrayal to Public Health

CONTACT: Isabella Javidan, ijavidan@psr.org, 612-812-3231 Washington D.C. — Physicians for Social Responsibility is deeply disappointed in the EPA’s decision to delay updating the National Ambient...

Medical Journals Unite in Urgent Call for Nuclear Weapons Elimination

CONTACT: Isabella Javidan, ijavidan@psr.org, 612-812-3231 Washington, D.C. — Physicians for Social Responsibility is excited to celebrate a landmark joint effort led by International Physicians for...

PSR Statement on the Transfer of U.S. Cluster Munitions to Ukraine

CONTACT: Bella Javidan, ijavidan@psr.org, 612-812-3231 On July 7, 2023 the White House confirmed its intention to send cluster munitions to Ukraine to be used in...