Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe Admiral James Stavridis told MSNBC on Friday that although the United States' has "unequivocally verified Russia is the guilty party" in violating the decades-old Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement was "unfortunate" and left the world vulnerable to three "terrible potential outcomes".
"There are three terrible potential outcomes here," Stavridis told host Andrea Mitchell. "One of which you've mentioned, which is a strategic propensity to light off a new arms race."
"The second is, it's very difficult -it's impossible- to tell whether these kinds of weapons whether they're nuclear-tipped or not," he continued. "This brings more uncertainty. "
"Thirdly," Stavridis went on, "this could potentially become another wedge issue between the United States and our European allies." However, the retired admiral saw reason for hope.
"We should do everything we can at this point to reignite a negotiation," he said, adding the U.S. should "step away from the agreement" only if truly necessary. "We ought to be working with NATO and working with our European allies to try and broaden the agreement to include not only Russia but China as well."
"This is a new low in Russian relation," Stavridis continued. "It's unfortunate to see the U.S. stepping away from an important treaty."
Watch the video below.