Opinion | Stephen Kinzer: We’re edging closer to nuclear war - The Boston Globe
Once while waiting for a flight at an airport in Ecuador, I stared at a giant map of the country that was painted on the terminal wall. It looked odd. Ecuador seemed much larger than I remembered. Finally I realized that on this map, its borders had been drawn to include territory in the Amazon that Ecuador lost to Peru in the 19th century and still claims. A banner over the map proclaimed: “Ecuador Was, Is and Will Always Be an Amazon Nation.” The dispute over this territory has set off several wars between Peru and Ecuador. The last one, in 1995, led to several hundred casualties. In a world where nuclear weapons are widely spread, political passion could turn an obscure dispute like this into global catastrophe.
That world is emerging. The Trump administration has been moving systematically to undermine accords that have kept nuclear proliferation within possibly manageable limits over the last half century. Most recently it announced that the United States will withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russia, which regulates several classes of nuclear missiles. Steps like this produce little if any military gain and damage the United States in the court of world opinion.