If it is still in space, I'm not sure that Russia really has much ground to stand in, with regards to complaining.
Similarly, if Russia shot an ICBM over US territory at any altitude, the US would freak out and be justified in sanctioning the crap out of Russia. Unfortunately, the US is not in the way of any of Russia's targets (unless the target is the US), so it's mostly a one-way consideration.
I am not an expert in these matters but, if I understand correctly, they can tell velocity and direction to see that it's not going to hit then. I'm not sure that it enters their airspace, however.
Are there any treaties or international laws regarding this? Again, Google is not being helpful.
It seems obvious that we shouldn't be too worried about things in space passing high, high above us - but the key difference is that ICBMs aren't designed to orbit. They are designed to fall out space, from a great height, and go bang. So while orbital whatever "just passing through" is relatively benign, a nuke doing the same thing is an active threat.
(Even more-so for American systems, which I believe can make course corrections at their apogee; so the current trajectory is not a guarantee)
In the NK missile tests, Japan (rightfully) was pretty pissy but the end result has been largely nothing. My guess, and it is only a guess, is that it'd be much the same if, for some reason, we sent a missile through space and over Russian territory.
Though, I guess, Russia really wouldn't have much ability to sanction the US or enforce said sanctions. We don't really require anything from Russia and they are not close allies with anyone we do depend on.
Although it’s limited to only showing half of a sphere at a time, so it doesn’t solve the problem of illustrating a southern around-the-world route. An azimuthal equidistant projection centered at the launch site or target would work for that.
Better would be some kind of azimuthal projection centered on North Korea (azimuthal equidistant perhaps), with other segments (those not including NK as an endpoint) drawn as the appropriate great circle arcs.
In essence, does Russia become a similar defensive blanket for the US?
Making North Korea easier to hit by US nukes won't make them step down. North Korea is scared senseless and backed into a corner (they've been at war with the US for the better part of a century and preparing for an invasion by an enemy that is several times their size), trying to scare them further won't prevent them from doing anything stupid.
Maybe I'm missing something but this sounds like it's only concerned with maintaining American military dominance rather than guaranteeing peaceful coexistence or at least the continued existence of the human race. Nuclear weapons are neither necessary nor sufficient to win a war against North Korea. If the conflict were to ever go nuclear, nuking North Korea won't make the country back down -- it will only alienate China, South Korea (or what's left of it) and Japan. Not to mention the entire International Community.
I took the point of this article to be that the ICBM portion of the US triad does not work on NK since a missile must overfly China or Russia.
I personally don't think there is much risk of war with NK. NK has everything to lose and nothing to gain by starting any sort of war.
Letting Japan have nuclear weapons is many decades in the future. The US monitors/controls the development of the JSDF very closely. They were only recently  allowed to have an "aircraft carrier." (edit 2: This presupposes that Japan even wants nuclear weapons. They, of all countries, would think twice about something that has destroyed two of their cities- also the "peaceful" application of nuclear power has devastated the area around Fukushima. New Zealand has a strong anti-nuke sentiment and they were only used as a test site.)
South Korea is so close to China that their defensive reaction time is effectively zero. The same goes for China's reaction time from a South Korean missile. China would be extremely upset (to the point of sabotaging missile installations) if we were to allow South Korea to develop nuclear weapons. Imagine if China allied with Mexico and started helping them with a nuclear program. The US would go apeshit. (edit: Rather than make up a hypothetical, just look at the Cuban Missile Crisis to figure out how crazy it could be. Why did I not just use that example in the first place?)
The US wants to control its own nuclear weapons and would rather lease bases from allies than to let the allies have their own weapons. This increases the perceived security of the weapons (from being stolen), as most military commanders believe that their own base is a much more secure place to keep nukes than someone else's base. Whether or not this is true is up for debate. Manning your own defenses instead of an ally also increases your perceived defensive readiness. Most commanders also believe that their own troops are better prepared than someone else's troops. Whether or not this is true is also up for debate.
But the scenario we are living... an unhinged and/or ignorant POTUS undermines the effectiveness of the strategy. In Europe, you had an independent deterrent of sorts with the UK and France, but no such balance in the Pacific and Mideast.
I don’t think the RAND corporation in the 60s thought up of a scenario where a President taunted a foreign nuclear power and professional sports figures in his spare time. Eventually the novelty of the mercurial nature of the guy will wane, and scary shit can result.
Actually, that's literally what Henry Kissinger and Nixon collaborated closely on. Kissinger diplomatically told his Soviet counterparts that Nixon's rhetoric wasn't simply posturing, but that Nixon was making him nervous and was quite possibly unhinged and might casually order the use of nuclear weapons upon provocation.
In short, it worked. While it wasn't entirely a feign, Nixon wanted Kissinger to convey the sentiment that if the USSR were to grandstand or make possibly threatening overtures, that it may very realistically escalate the situation and that they indeed be may be facing a madman hellbent on finding an excuse to unleash the US nuclear arsenal on the USSR.
It’s possible, although highly unlikely that the RoK could go nuclear in a manner similar to Israel, and in essence, China wouldn’t have a say. Never say never, just based on the strength of opposition.
South Korea, on the other hand, cannot hope to enjoy that kind of support (can you name one prominent Korean-American politician?), and China is its biggest trade partner.
That is, South Korea has little to gain and a lot to lose by developing nukes.
As for South Korea, it can bulldoze over North Korea with conventional weapons. It doesn't need nukes to defend against North Korea. On the other hand, China has so much firepower that having a few nukes won't tip the balance much, so nukes are not much useful against China either.
Now consider that South Korea is practically an island country, heavily dependent on trade. Almost all its neighbors will vehemently protest a nuclear program, and its economy will suffer greatly. AND it will increase tension in East Asia. And probably provoke Japan into its own nuclear program. Just what we need.
Frankly, as a South Korean, I cannot think of a single desirable outcome that can follow a nuclear program. If we're serious about national defense, what we really need now is not nukes but a powerful navy that can secure our trade routes.
Sure, but they’d have turned Seoul into a series of shallow craters however, and you should assume that China would use the DPRK as a proxy in another shooting war. Meanwhile having the credible ability to destroy a few major Chinese metropolitan centers probably has more of a deterrent effect than you are admitting.
That's not saying South Korea is invincible, or there aren't any ways China can apply military pressure.
A much more realistic scenario is like this: some Chinese patrol ships suddenly find a need to "protect" Chinese fishing boats from being "harassed" by South Korean coast guards patrolling its EEZ. In such a case, nukes won't help, because what are you going to do with them, bomb Beijing? Can you imagine what would happen to KOSPI index if a South Korean politician so much as made a joke about using nukes?
I still fail to see the utility of nukes. Any national leader has to be batshit insane to consider invading South Korea, and if they are already that insane, I don't see how having a few nukes will suddenly cause them to back down. (Don't be fooled by North Korea: they're carefully cultivating the image of a batshit insane trigger-happy country because it benefits them.)
Israel established itself as a nuclear capable state way before it had any US support.
Until 1967 the US was almost openly hostile towards Israel with very chilly relations, and even then it really changed until the mid 70's.
Israel established its nuclear capabilities despite and against the wishes of the US through their cooperation with France and the U.K.
People forget that in 1956 Israel and the U.K. nearly went directly against US peace keepers in their joint Sinai campaign after Nasser nationalized the cannal.
If Israel was developing their nuclear capabilities today the US would've stopped them in a heartbeat, if they bordered China then they wouldn't even be allowed to mention it in a conversation.
Things are changing though: As nationalism is embraced and fanned by leaders, not just in the U.S. but in Japan, South Korea, and China; and as democracy is de-emphasized as a fundamental right and superior form of government and is treated more like just one alternative among many; the idea that peace and human rights are paramount is being pushed aside in favor of national power. We've seen that movie before, many times, and we know how it ends.
Also, the U.S.'s foreign policy capability and credibility has suffered great blows around the world and in East Asia, under Bush and now under Trump. Can Japan and SK trust the U.S. to protect them - if not, their instability greatly increases. They must trust that the U.S. both decides to fulfill its promises (as the U.S. threatens to or does fail to meet its promises under other treaties and promises, from NATO to Paris to Iran to Syria to NAFTA to multilateral institutions), and to capably, effectively execute a major war (Congress' sequester has badly reduced military capability, Congress is unable to act, the Commander-in-Chief doesn't inspire confidence in an essential role, and the military's failures in low-end wars in Iraq and Afghanistan makes it look limited)? Also, the role of the U.S. is to provide stability and to support democracy and liberty, but those don't appear to be priorities for Bush and especially for Trump.
I haven't heard or read anything more recently, but I haven't dug into it either.
I'm certain Japan (the people and even the government) would be against this and you'd wonder if China would start thinking preemptively if they were to start.
1. The Pacific nuclear deterrence is currently based in WA. This means that deployments that cross the pacific would be much longer and much farther from base. Even subs that go out for months on end need to be resupplied. The proposed solution to this would be moving those subs to Hawaii.
2. The majority of the US sub deterrence is based in the Atlantic, because that's closer to Moscow. If you have a limited amount of subs, you would need to move some from there to cover the Pacific, which means you have less deterrence in the US-Russia standoff even if it gives you more options for US-NK or US-China.
That's probably an unrealistic range with a useful payload, but there's certainly no need to cross the Pacific.
2. "As of 2016, nine Trident-armed submarines are deployed in the Pacific and five in the Atlantic."
2. You may be right, I'm not an expert on deployment locations, of course a source would still be nice.
Basing the sub in Hawaii might shave a couple days off of that.
Doesn't seem like it would make much of a difference in a 90 day SSBN deployment.