Gorbachev: Trump's Move 'Not the Work of a Great Mind'

He's alarmed by plan to pull out of nuke treaty
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2018 3:30 AM CDT
Gorbachev Calls Trump's Treaty Pullout 'Very Strange'
Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev speaks to the Associated Press during a 2016 interview at his foundation's headquarters in Moscow, Russia.   (AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev, File)

(Newser) – Mikhail Gorbachev is puzzled and alarmed by President Trump's plan to pull the US out of a treaty that is part of his—and Ronald Reagan's—legacy. The 87-year-old former Soviet leader told Russia's Interfax news agency Sunday that Trump's move to scrap the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty was "very strange" and "not the work of a great mind," the New York Times reports. "Do they really not understand in Washington what this can lead to?" wondered Gorbachev, who signed the nuclear pact with Reagan in 1987. "All agreements aimed at nuclear disarmament and limiting nuclear weapons must be preserved, for the sake of preserving life on earth," he said.

Congressional Republicans were split on the decision to withdraw from the pact, which bans the US and Russia from possessing or testing ground-launched cruise missiles with a range of 300 miles to 3,400 miles, the AP reports. Sen. Rand Paul said it would be "a big, big mistake to flippantly get out of this historic agreement," while Sen. Bob Corker, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told CNN that the move could be "something that's just a precursor to trying to get Russia to come into compliance" and he hopes "we're going to be able to figure out a way to stay within the treaty." Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox that the "Russians have been cheating," so he believes pullout is "absolutely the right move." (The Kremlin says the move is a "very dangerous step.")

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