Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty
Can the President withdraw from a treaty? Surprisingly, he can. While treaties must be confirmed by Congress, there is little precedent for Congressional approval for withdrawing, particularly when the treaty provides for this.
This seems inconsistent, but perhaps it is not:
- Confirmation is needed for the Presidential Cabinet, but the President can fire these officials without approval of Congress.
The “Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty” was negotiated by President Reagan in response to the danger of missile attacks on Europe with no warning and no defense. Nothing has changed since then; the danger remains. As a TV pundit noted, the Russians can violate the existing treaty, but they have been reluctant to do so and would bear responsibility if they did, but with no treaty they can do what they like. The onus is then on us.
This administration seems to take the (childish) position that an imperfect organization or treaty cannot be improved, only dumped. And that no agreement is better than a compromise agreement. It is exactly this type of attitude that was one of the reasons for plunging the world into 2 world wars. There is a degree of petulance and arrogance in this approach to international relations.
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The treaty provides both for withdrawal and amendment. Amendment, if necessary, would seem by far the wiser alternative.
1. This Treaty shall be of unlimited duration.
2. Each Party shall, in exercising its national sovereignty, have the right to withdraw from this Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests. It shall give notice of its decision to withdraw to the other Party six months prior to withdrawal from this Treaty. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events the notifying Party regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.
Each Party may propose amendments to this Treaty. Agreed amendments shall enter into force in accordance with the procedures set forth in Article XVII governing the entry into force of this Treaty.
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