Scottish anti-nuclear campaigners have reacted with anger and alarm at UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson’s unequivocal backing for the US intention to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).
The INF is a bi-lateral treaty between the US and Russia and bans the deployment of nuclear weapons with a range of between 300 and 3400 miles. The INF was agreed by Reagan and Gorbachev in 1987 in mutual recognition that weapon systems like the US Pershing and the Soviet SS 20 dangerously reduced the threshold for all-out nuclear war. Intermediate-range nuclear weapon systems were the main focus of disarmament movements in the 80’s, such as Greenham Common.
Bill Kidd MSP, Chair of the Scottish parliament’s Cross Party group on Nuclear Disarmament, said:
“If the US President wants to make a long term impact he should be looking to be seen as a World leader and taking the opportunity to make ‘deals’ which build peace as with the Gorbachev/Reagan accord in 1987.”
Chair of Scottish CND Arthur West said:
“The US administration under the dangerous and erratic Donald Trump, urged on by the maverick John Bolton, is inflaming nuclear confrontation by this unilateral move. What is even more sickening is the way the UK comes immediately to heel behind its transatlantic master. How can Gavin Williamson even pretend to speak for Scotland when there is clear evidence that the majority of politicians and the public reject nuclear weapons?
This is why there now seems to be growing support for Scotland to disentangle itself from a state that does not seem to have any aspirations to create a more peaceful world .”
Janet Fenton, ICAN’s liaison in Scotland, said:
“This move also underlines just how dishonest the UK and US are when they talk about multilateral disarmament. They don’t believe in it. They will not sign up to the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. They block progress on the NPT. Instead of sitting down with Russia for honest face-to-face talks about the INF they indulge in aggressive posturing instead. “