But this time there are three players in the mutually assured destruction game, and we’ve been poking our thumb in both of their faces. The article mentions how much relations between Moscow and Beijing have improved.
The entire reason we normalized relations with China was to further box in the USSR, stretching them further than they could sustain.
It seems obvious to me that the tables have turned.
So yes, there is a huge advantage to pursuing intermediate range missiles.
― Henry Kissinger
A paltry market with a tiny sphere of economic influence... and a military. Despite being third world countries, Iraq and Afghanistan have caused $2.4 trillion in economic damages to the US. Unless you are China, your best bet at subtracting value from the US economy is to get the US involved in a war. Further, as the Ukraine almost showed us, the war doesn't even have to be on your own soil.
Moreover, some analysts are suggesting that this move is more directed towards China, then Russia. The treaty makes it difficult for US to deploy missiles targeted at China in that region as these missiles could, in theory, also target Russia.
So maybe some of the criticism is justified, if it is indeed the US that is trying to come up with excuses to wiggle out of this treaty.
Are you sure that's what has been said? That they might be re-purposed for delivering nuclear warheads? That's crazy.
Their use in assisting a US first strike would be to help neutralize Russia's offensive threat, making whatever retaliatory response Russia could muster that much more survivable. From Russia's point of view, that's bad enough.
It's the sort of thing that was always a big roadblock to disarmament in the eighties, when people still cared about disarmament. You need to coordinate bringing up defensive weapons with retiring offensive weapons in a way that preserves some strategic balance, and if one side doesn't have the right sort of defensive weapons, or a good place to put them... It's why notions like the US partnering with the USSR to deploy defensive weapons were publicly floated.
“A President of the United States could offer to give that same defensive weapon to them to prove to them that there was no longer any need for keeping these missiles,” explained Reagan. “Or with that defense, he could then say to them, ‘I am willing to do away with all my missiles. You do away with yours’”
Why do you think so?
The Indian Ballistic Missile Defence system was built by modifying a nuclear capable short range ballistic missile (Prithvi Missile - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prithvi_(missile) ). This modified version was designed in different configurations to intercept missiles in high and low altitude. ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Ballistic_Missile_Def... ).
First, it'd be illegal to do in secret. Second and I suppose more significantly, it would not offer a military advantage over actually having them serve their intended purpose as defensive weapons (which would be useful in any hypothetical nuclear exchange, including a US first strike) and then moving a ballistic missile submarine or two to the Barents sea, or equipping some of the many attack submarines operating in those waters with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, or some combination of both.
There isn't any need for secrecy. An anti-ballistic missile is also a missile. So they can theoretically be designed to be both defensive and offensive. That's what the indians did - converted one of their offensive missile to also be a defensive missile that can shoot down other missiles (I am not claiming that the Indians are using the same missile both as an offensive arsenal and in their missile defence shield, but just that it may be possible in the future for them. Both Russia and the US are well ahead of India in missile R&D, and it may not be far fetched to think that they may have already developed configurable missiles that could be used for both offence and defence.)
The Russian hypothesis we're discussing here is that these are not defensive weapons, they are secretly offensive weapons.
Strictly speaking, there would be a legal need for secrecy until we're fully withdrawn from the INF treaty. You'd also have to develop the nuclear warhead to fly on the interceptors in secret. They'd have to be awfully lightweight, since these interceptors aren't designed to carry a nuclear warhead. (a quick look at wiki indicates the RIM-161 uses a kinetic energy warhead, which is a little hint at how silly it is to even be having this discussion) So that's a weapons program you'd have to fund in secret, as well as the funding needed to adapt all those weapons systems to a completely different purpose and test them.
You'd have to keep the whole thing secret from those among our NATO allies who would never approve such a thing. Great idea.
None of this would give the United States any first strike capabilities it doesn't already have thanks to its navy. I'm trying to be polite but this is all very silly. It's just not what those systems are there for.
> They charge that American missile defense interceptors in Eastern Europe could be easily refashioned into offensive weapons, and that the rise of armed drones, which had not been invented when the treaty was signed, now threaten to provide Washington with similar intermediate-range ability without violating the precise wording of the treaty.
It helps that certain, ahem, outspoken Trump critics like https://twitter.com/krassenstein/status/1091683402741399552 are willing to literally regurgitate Putin's propaganda and claim to be fighting Russia by doing so, and there seem to be a fairly plentiful supply of people willing to eat this up so long as it's anti-Trump.
I find it fascinating that the treaties and the rhetoric around these treaties is a big fat middle finger to other countries. "Russia was strong once so they deserve to be treated like that." All the smaller countries inbetween are rendered unimportant and their defense doesn't matter.
Yeah, that’s what the Russians have said. I’m on my phone and I’m too lazy to search for references, but as a person that would be very negatively affected by a Russian strike on any one of those defense shield thingies (I live in Romania) I follow the subject closely and I can confirm that’s what the Russians think. You can search on YT for an interview with Putin with the German TV (I think) and when the interviewer mentions that the rocket shield installations in Poland and Romania are only for defensive purposes Putin instantly starts laughing. Not to mention that those installations were put in place with Iran in mind according to the official declarations from back then, but now even the Americans don’t use that excuse anymore.
The SM3 missile can be used to attack ground targets but the US doesn’t have any nuclear warheads that can be fitted on it.
That said considering that the Israeli Arrow 3 system has a range of 2400km and it’s partially integrated with the US missile shield in Europe it’s more than just a local problem from Russia’s point of view.
I'm in Germany and used to date a Russian guy. He would occasionally go off about how evil the US is and how they've already stationed missiles in Poland. He skipped the part about then being defensive and just talked as if they were offensive. I had literally no idea what he was talking about, this must have been what he meant. This is the Russian propaganda tactic: they scream and cry that they are the innocent ones, and are only making rational moves to protect themselves against the "evil US" and NATO. Any and all aguments about anything that Russia might have done wrong is met with Whataboutism.
withdrawing from the treaty would allow Putin to deflect responsibility and blame the US for both the treaty's collapse and any ensuing arms race."
If there's no treaty, it's not cheating, and there's nothing to negotiate. If it's cheating, there's a point of negotiating. Putin has a long history of criticizing Gorbechev's legacies, the treaties, perestroika, he laments the end of the USSR and the loss of its various fiefdom republics.
And on the U.S. side, is John Bolton, who doesn't believe in having a U.N., is anti-EU, promoted Brexit, doesn't believe in arms control treaties of any kind, was a central cause of the U.S. unilaterally withdrawing from the Iran JCPA treaty, and also pushed North Korea to withdraw from the NPT, which they did, and it makes their entire nuclear program completely legal, and was a principle architect and chickenhawk of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. And to this day says that was not a mistake, it was good and appropriate.
Russia is a joke of a potential problem next to China, both economically and militarily. As China's technological capabilities mature in the military sphere, the former USSR will be a joke compared to what China will be capable of. The USSR always struggled with true global projection, that's not a problem China is going to have eventually.
Russia can't keep up with either the US or China. The US added $1.1-$1.2 trillion to its economic output in 2018. Russia's entire annual economic output is $1.5 trillion. At a 3% of GDP defense spending rate, the US can add 1/2 of Russia's defense spending every year (even after you adjust for the difference in costs between them, it's an impossible situation for Russia). China was the size of Russia's economy 20 years ago, now it's nearing ten times larger. Russia will never be able to spend the money necessary to keep up with the two superpowers on conventional forces and technology, they'll only be able to keep up on very narrow high value tech (eg hypersonic missiles or the S-300/400/500 missile systems). As Russia's economy goes nowhere for the next decade, they'll continue to try to flex their regional power to divert attention. However, Russia is never going to be more than a regional problem.
If you're the US, you don't want to be in a position of dramatic military weakness to China at any point or in any critical weapons segment over the next 20-30 years at least. While the US can just withdraw from Asia and go home (nicely protected by the enomority of the Pacific), if the US doesn't keep up with China (ideally working in tandem with its allies to offset the burden of cost), it ultimately leaves Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Philippines and every other ally in greater Asia in a very vulnerable position of forced deference as China's military pushes outward.
Something doesn't add up here - why is Russia's economy so backward and heavily dependent on extractive industries in the first place? Yes they have a huge landmass which makes extractive industry comparatively easy and convenient, but so does Canada and nobody would describe the Canadian economy as anything less than highly developed and quite competitive. My guess is that there's no real reason why Russia couldn't start growing on a China-like path to ultimately be as highly-developed as the average Western country, and that the lack of any such growth is to do with short-term political stances, not any inherent or outside factors.
You overestimate China's capabilities, and underestimate Russia's. Russia is better at international politics than China, while China's dominating and new found arrogance makes potential allies uncomfortable. Not to mention that Russia still has a better military, and better weapons.
In both Africa and Asia, nations that welcomed Chinese investment are now very uncomfortable on the demands being placed on them. Increasing comparisons are being made to the way India handles their diplomatic relations with them (less aggressive, more cooperative). For example, both Maldives and Sri Lanka have turned to India after Chinese economic investments soured there.
Second, while India today may be faltering under the current inexperienced, right-wing loonies running it, the previous government with Dr. Manmohan Singh at the helm has already demonstrated that India has the potential to take on the Chinese both economically and militarily.
Ultimately, India as an ally of both the Russians and the West, knows that it will have to bear the brunt of any new future cold war between China and the west and is preparing for it.
So the US doesn’t supply proof. Has a history of tearing treaties. Has been almost surely in violation of the INF for some time. Is poking holes in the last few remaining treaties.
But don’t worry about Armageddon: w/out an arms treaty, launching the thousands of obsolete ICBMs loaded with tungsten carbide bearings into orbit solves any countries’ security concerns vis a vis space ;)
Far more destructive we’re long term structural problems (inability to provide consumer goods, lack of various sorts of personal freedoms). These had been tolerable in extremis (post revolutionary fervor, rapid growth/modernization, a big war) but increasingly destroyed enthusiasm and then support formhe regime. Low oil prices were the trigger.
Pretty soon the US will be adding a new Russia every year in new economic output. Russia is not a competitive threat with the US overall, only on select regional matters and on a few important weapons systems. The dumbest thing the US could do, is worry about bankrupting Russia.
And if the US wanted to do that, there's only one good option: tank the price of oil dramatically by pushing up the value of the dollar. That won't work very well here, because the dollar is already relatively high, the US is now vulnerable on oil as a huge industry (and will be more so in the near future), and inflation adjusted (eg back to 1995 or 2005) oil is almost cheap right now (and it's not tanking Russia, they can roughly hold their ground at current prices). The dollar is how the USSR was bankrupted, as they over-bet their economic security on oil output from 1970-1990. Russia is being far better run with regard to macro economic choices right now than the USSR was, which limits their exposure to bankrupting shocks (again, short of eg sustained $20 oil).
The primary hope on the containment front is probably that Russia's need to raise or at least maintain its social welfare output (against a zero growth economy) is checked by oil prices (held down by US shale output), forcing a choice between military spending and social welfare. That's happening right now and has badly soured Putin's popularity at home. Oil goes to $110 and Putin gets a lot more money to play with while also placating domestic demands.
By numbers provided by Rosstat Russia looks somewhat stable, but in reality internal economic there is going to break if it would be treated the same way as for now. Some of the problems:
The real inflation rate is way higher than salary grow, especially in 60-th percentile and below which means 60% of active workers who already have income lower comparable to China are become poorer each day.
Whooping 11+% rate for loans on housing: with quick calculations a family of two working parents who can't apply to a subsidized loan (less than 2 children or both are older than 35) would have to pay 61% of a single average net salary each month for a 2-room apartment outside of Moscow or St. Petersburg and 10% for housing expenditures, so they both have to live on $729 in current exchange rate, which would be not enough to raise a single child.
There was a historical event on the 3rd of December, 2018: average price for Regular Conventional gas in US went below the correspondent mark of gas in Russia and is still lower. Why? Russian oil companies (there are only 3 of them as of now) haven't heard of work efficiency and ROI, but can make citizen pay to them.
The two biggest expenditures in budget from 2017 are military (with other secret parts) and current pensions, the latter is a 20-year of fkups in pension reforms, currently each worker indirectly (employees pay these to government in addition to wages without any reports to employers) sends 22% of their salary to pay current pensions and that covers 30% of them.
Social welfare spending? Education and science fundings were cut twice last year.
Would provide sources if someone asks, I just don't have enough time to lurk back on them to get the links and most of them would show you texts in russian anyway.
The neocons assume the Russians can’t match the US for “tactical” nuclear capability and will stay put if, say, a small tactical nuke is used against an ally.
But the Ruskies have also been very clear that they are not going to spend insane amounts of money on an arms race. They’re stance is to go for the big fireworks early on in a potential conflict.
Also, don’t underestimate their arms industry. Their GDP is low, but their PPP GDP is not. They can build a twin engine fourth or fifth gen fighter at a fraction of the cost it takes us. A lot of the research for weapons has already been paid for by the USSR. They’re the second largest arms exporter brining in cash.
Also their weapons philosophy is to favor brutal efficiency. Their ABM over Moscow doesn’t try to hit a bullet with a bullet. It just set off a nuke in the skies over Lithuania.
Finally, weren’t the sanctions supposed to have bankrupt the Russians by now? They have very low debt, huge reserves (in Au, not their adversary’s paper).
Never mind balancing the budget; we can’t even pass a budget. The fed is forced to keep interests rates near zero because otherwise interest payments on a > 100% GDP debt become ruinous.
An arms race is something no one needs
Lol. But seriously, I guess it does come down to the politicians running a country that determines a nation's success.
The massive arms race in the 70s & 80s is what arguable took down the Soviet Union by applying too much pressure to a shaky economic system. With major cracks showing in the Chinese economy, is the US beginning to employ this tactic again?
Edit: I added this comment before reading the article based on news stories I heard yesterday. The article is basically positing the same theory.
I believe the US will start countering Belt and Road initiatives with alternative economic packages to African and Asian nations. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if the US backed off of Russian aggression in exchange for anti-China support. I bet there's a white paper somewhere in Washington which lays out a similar strategy.