Russia Again Flight Tests Illegal INF Cruise Missile

Russia has and always will cheat on weapons treaties. It’s to the Soviet’s strategic advantage to continue to make deals with America.

Russia knows that America will always take the “moral high road” and abide by the treaty, whereas Russia uses the treaty as a strategic step to make advances and get the upper hand. Throughout the last few decades, America has become completely disillusioned into believing that total disarmament is a demonstration of moral strength. In contrast, a nation can actually remain on the moral high road and simultaneously serve as the world’s hammer with a vast nuclear arsenal, without firing off one nuke. That is how America once was, today it is different and bent on its own demise. Today, and likewise because of this, Russia smells blood and is heading towards nuclear first-strike capability, full-steam ahead.

The Pentagon sees the threat and the White House continues to whitewash it, make concessions and put out happy news in the media. It makes you wonder what side the current administration is working for as suicidally disarming an entire nation is not a mistake. There are checks and balances in America for preventing such mistakes, that is, if you obey the rule of law.

At this pace, if strategic thinking does not change within the American political leadership, it’s only a matter of time before Vladimir Putin (or the next President) can claim checkmate and force America into either capitulation or, or worse, decimation.

Treaties are like pie crusts, they are made to be broken.”

– Vladimir Lenin

 

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A test of Russia’s SSN-30A Kalibr missile, of which the SS-X-8 might be a variant (screenshot)

 

Obama administration still weighing response—years after violation detected

Russia flight-tested a new ground-launched cruise missile this month that U.S. intelligence agencies say further violates the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, according to Obama administration defense and security officials.

The missile launch Sept. 2 was the latest flight test for what the Pentagon is calling the SSC-X-8 cruise missile. The cruise missile did not fly beyond the 300-mile range limit for an INF-banned missile, said officials familiar with reports of the test.

However, intelligence analysts reported that the missile’s assessed range is between 300 miles and 3,400 miles—the distance covered under the landmark INF treaty that banned an entire class of intermediate-range missiles.

The SSC-X-8 test also involved what officials called a “nuclear profile,” meaning that the weapon is part of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces.

An earlier flight test of the missile prompted the administration, backed by U.S. intelligence agencies, to declare the system a breach of the INF treaty.

Disclosure of the SSC-X-8—the first unofficial identification of the suspect missile—comes as President Obama is set to meet in New York with Vladimir Putin.

Talks between the two presidents on Monday are expected to focus on increasing Russian military operations in Syria and Ukraine.

White House officials would not say whether the president would raise the SSC-X-8 flight test and other INF noncompliance issues with Putin on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly meeting.

The cruise missile test is the latest sign from Moscow that it has no plans to return to compliance with the INF treaty despite U.S. efforts in talks held since May 2013.

“The Russians have repeatedly violated this agreement,” Pompeo said. “These violations have been met with mild responses from the Obama administration. The President has agreed to meet with Putin after the sacking of Crimea, the invasion of Syria, violations of agreements related to missile testing. The weak response is dangerous for America.”

Michaela Dodge, a defense policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation, said that as Moscow is continuing to violate almost all arms control obligations, the most recent INF treaty violation is unsurprising.

“Despite congressional pressure, the administration is way overdue with a meaningful response to previous Russian violations of the INF Treaty—and Russia is quick to take advantage,” she said.

“The treaty has outlived its strategic utility,” Dodge added. “As long as the treaty remains in force, the United States and its European allies will not devote meaningful resources into thinking through implications of Russia’s violations for the military balance in Europe, which is why the United States should withdraw from the treaty.”

Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic nuclear forces policymaker, warned that the new missile is part of a large-scale buildup of Russian forces that is dangerous.

“The number of strategic and intermediate-range nuclear armed and nuclear capable missile systems announced by the Russian Defense Ministry and reported in the Russian and Western press is staggering,” said Schneider with the National Institute for Public Policy.

“Yet if one reads the congressional testimony of senior administration officials almost nothing specific is being said about this.”

U.S. nuclear modernization efforts are over a decade from completion and pale in comparison to Russian strategic modernization, which includes new missiles, submarines, and bombers.

“We are now making unilateral reductions in our nuclear capability to comply with the seriously flawed New START Treaty and pretending the even more seriously flawed Iran deal is going to prevent Iran from enhancing its nuclear weapons capability,” Schneider said. “This is dangerous.”

The White House has been holding up a report produced by the Pentagon assessing the risk to U.S. security posed by the new Russian cruise missile.

The Free Beacon reported in August that Russia is close to deploying a new supersonic naval cruise missile that is not covered by the treaty. Defense officials have said that a ground-launched version of the naval missile, the SSN-30ANew START Treaty, may be the illegal INF missile.

It could not be learned whether the SSC-X-8 is a ground-launched variant of the SSN-30A, dubbed “Kalibr” by the Pentagon.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a Senate hearing last month that Russia was “the greatest threat to our national security.”

Full article: Russia Again Flight Tests Illegal INF Cruise Missile (Washington Free Beacon)

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