Stephen Sestanovich

American academic

Stephen Sestanovich (born 8 June 1950) is the George F. Kennan senior fellow for Russian and Eurasian studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis professor of international diplomacy at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs and the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

Stephen Sestanovich at the 2014 Texas Book Festival, Austin Texas, United States


  • Because Trump always disparages agreements reached by his predecessors, we might expect him to start tweeting that he’s saved America from yet another bad deal. But there’s a problem: the INF treaty may be the most one-sidedly good arms-control agreement any U.S. President has ever signed. And unless you start by recognizing this fact, you won’t make the right call about what to do next.
President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev signing the INF Treaty in the East Room of the White House. 12/8/87
  • What made the INF treaty so good? It represented 100 percent Soviet acceptance of an American offer that almost no one in Washington thought could ever fly. Moscow agreed to scrap every single one of the new missiles, known as the SS-20, that it had been deploying for over a decade to intimidate European allies of the United States—plus all the missiles that the SS-20 was supposed to replace, plus any and all missiles of the same range deployed in Asia too. The Soviets accepted all this even though the U.S. counter-deployments that European allies had accepted on their territory were both less numerous and less powerful than the SS-20. Even more astoundingly, the INF treaty imposed no limits whatever on the main nuclear forces—both air- and sea-launched—on which the U.S. defense of Europe has rested ever since.
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