Archbishop cautions against US withdrawal from missile treaty
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Archbishop Timothy Broglio, chairman of the U.S. bishops' conference international justice and peace committee, has expressed his unease at the United State's decision to withdraw from a Reagan-era nuclear arms treaty.
Washington D.C., (CNA) - In a statement released by the USCCB on February 5, Broglio, who is Archbishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services of the United States, highlighted the important function the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty has played in regulating the spread of nuclear arms in recent decades.
"I regret to learn of the U.S. government's intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty that has served for over thirty years to reduce nuclear arsenals between the U.S. and Russia significantly," Broglio said in the statement.
"Coupled with the news of the Russian reaction to this decision I am concerned for the potential of a new arms race created by these decisions," he continued, and asked that Catholics and others around the world "join in prayer for renewed, earnest dialogue" between world leaders.
"May efforts on the part of all of us foster hope and encourage the aspiration of all peoples to live in peace and security," said Broglio.
The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 between the Soviet Union and the United States. It banned land-based missiles that had a range between 310 and 3,400 miles, and resulted in thousands of missiles being destroyed.
President Donald Trump announced on Friday that the United States would be pulling out of the treaty. The administration has argued that the geopolitical landscape has changed dramatically since the treaty was signed, and that Russia had long since ceased to abide by the treaty's terms.
"We cannot be the only country in the world unilaterally bound by this treaty, or any other," Trump said in a statement announcing the change.
The U.S. formally suspended the INF Treaty on Sunday, and will officially leave in six months.
Trump said that the United States would "move forward with developing our own military response options," and would work alongside NATO and other countries to "deny Russia any military advantage from its unlawful conduct."
According to the U.S. government, Russia has been in violation of this treaty since at least 2014, including working to build an intermediate-range missile. This violation was identified five years ago.
With Russian's non-compliance, the administration argues, the U.S. is the only country in the world prevented from developing these missile systems.
China, which is not part of the INF Treaty, possesses intermediate-range missiles that would be able to strike U.S. territories and military bases in the Pacific Ocean, seen by military strategists as a significant tactical advantage.
Fr. Thomas Petri, O.P., vice president and academic dean at the Dominican House of Studies, told CNA that the teachings of the Church recognize the "duties of governments to protect their citizens from unjust aggressors," which means that war can
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