Russia Wants to Build New Missiles to Hit the U.S.

Get this: The General commanding Russia Strategic Rocket Forces, Lieutenant General Sergei Karakayev, said in December that the new Russian Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) are needed — because the existing ones are vulnerable to US missile defenses.

This is apparently the result of all that nice goodwill generated by the Obama administration’s “reset” of relations with Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the ratification of the New Start Arms Control Treaty. It should come as no surprise: nuclear weapons, along with oil and gas exports, are just about the only thing that still qualifies Russia as a “Great Power.”

If Russia’s leaders still resent their loss of superpower status and feel they have a strategic need to challenge the US wherever possible, then spending the money to build a new type of nuclear missile aimed at the US makes sense.

Ever since Ronald Reagan gave his famous “Star Wars” speech in March1983, which lead to the rebirth of American missile defense efforts, opponents of the idea that it is not only possible but desirable to build defensive systems that can shoot down incoming nuclear missiles and their warheads have claimed that the technology cannot be developed. Yet now, a senior Russian officer has publicly admitted that America has built a system that can shoot down the solid propellent missiles that Reagan and his team thought were the most dangerous ones in the Soviet inventory. This is a major development: it proves that Ronald Reagan was right not to overestimate Soviet technological capacities.

Of course, as the US GMD system has fewer than 30 operational interceptors, the ability of Russia’s missile force with its hundreds of ICBMs and SLBMs to overwhelm the US defense system is obvious. However, if the US were to chose to build a much larger number of interceptors, and to build up a “multilayered” national missile defense system, as has been promised by Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Russia would no longer have an unquestioned ability to hit a wide array of US targets with nuclear warheads. The reliability of Russia’s missile strike force would be compromised.

If this is the motivation for Russia’s announced decision to build a new type of nuclear missile, then Russia’s commitment to “reset” its relationship with the US is based on a wildly false premise. After all, if the US does not threaten Russia’s territorial integrity, why should Russia worry about America’s ability to defend itself ? Or do Russia’s leaders still believe that a balance of terror, based on the old doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD), is necessary?

Full article: Russia Wants to Build New Missiles to Hit the U.S. (Stonegate Institute)