European Leadership Network
November 15, 2018
The 1987 INF Treaty was a landmark arms control and disarmament agreement that eliminated from Europe the most dangerous weapons of the era, and significantly decreased nuclear threats between NATO and the Soviet Union. For NATO, Moscow’s deployment of the SS-20 ballistic missiles, which could carry up to three warheads and hold at risk all Western European capitals, was highly destabilizing. In response, NATO decided to deploy the Pershing II ballistic missiles and fast-flying ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs) in Europe. Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev quipped, “it was like holding a gun to our head.” Disarming these weapons was therefore in the interest of both sides, and it created favourable conditions for further arms control measures between Washington and Moscow.