The U.S. Will Develop Newly Unbanned Weapons as a Key Missile Treaty Ends

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A JASSM missile undergoing launch tests from a F-16 fighter over the Gulf of Mexico, 2018. Image: SMgst Michael Jackson (Air Force)

 

The United States is planning to quickly develop two new missiles previously banned by a 30-year-old arms control treaty. America’s withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, sparked by allegations of Russian cheating, is paving the way for Washington to match Russian weapons with new missiles of its own. The U.S. will test the missiles as soon as this August, within days of the end of the treaty.

The two missile types, a ground-launched cruise missile and an intermediate-range ballistic missile, were previously banned by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The INF Treaty, signed in 1987, banned land-based missiles with ranges from 310 to 3,420 miles.

Although the treaty itself didn’t ban actual nuclear weapons, it removed key nuclear delivery systems from the inventories of both the U.S. and U.S.S.R., dramatically lowering the number of nuclear weapons deployed in Europe. Continue reading

Russia Speaks of Nuclear War as U.S. Opens Missile Defense System

MOSCOW — As American and allied officials celebrated the opening of a long-awaited missile defense system in Europe with a ribbon cutting and a band, the reaction in Moscow on Thursday was darker: a public discussion of how nuclear war might play out in Europe and the prospect that Romania, the host nation for the United States-built system, might be reduced to “smoking ruins.”

“We have been saying right from when this story started that our experts are convinced that the deployment of the ABM system poses a certain threat to the Russian Federation,” the Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told reporters in a conference call. Continue reading