In the series finale of the television show Breaking Bad, chemistry teacher-turned meth kingpin Walter White breaks into the home of an ex-business partner, who out of fear arms himself with a butter knife. “If we’re gonna go that way,” White says dryly, “you’ll need a bigger knife.” The man knows he cannot compete, and drops it.
Russia is now actively violating the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which prohibits ground-launched missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. What neither Russia nor many Americans may appreciate, however, is the potential to negate the advantages Russia thinks it may get from scuttling this landmark agreement.
Speaking in Prague in 2009, President Obama declared that “Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something.” Despite acknowledging violations, however, the Obama administration did virtually nothing to punish them. Now they’ve grown too blatant to ignore.