Trump and Putin agree to restart the nuclear arms race

❝ Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech Thursday in which he praised his country’s military operations on behalf of the government of Syria and made a case for how Russia could become stronger.

“We need to strengthen the military potential of strategic nuclear forces,” he said, according to an Agence France-Presse translation, “especially with missile complexes that can reliably penetrate any existing and prospective missile defense systems.” In other words, Russia needs to ensure that its arsenal of nuclear weapons can avoid interception by the enemy.

The primary enemy that might intercept those missiles is, of course, the United States and its allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

❝ The language echoes old Cold War rhetoric: Our missiles must be able to serve as a deterrent to usage, by existing as a threat to enemies. If NATO and the United States felt confident that Russia’s incoming nuclear weapons could be stopped before reaching their targets, the weapons do not hold the same power for Russia.

You can’t have a new nuclear arms race, of course, without someone to run against. Enter President-elect Donald Trump.

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Not only is the construct a non sequitur – backwards, fiscally and environmentally-destructive comes to mind.

❝ The trend since the late 1980s has been in the opposite direction, winding down the stockpiles of weapons held by the United States and Russia…

As always, it’s fraught to take one Trump tweet as a descriptor of where his presidency might be headed.

The difficulty lies in differentiating between ignorance, stupidity and bald-faced lies contrived to inflate Trump’s hot air balloon-size ego.

RTFA if you care to wander through the garden of infamy continuing to be sown over the manure-heap that is American politics. I refuse to waste time trying to make sense of Trump’s demented blather.

20 thoughts on “Trump and Putin agree to restart the nuclear arms race

  1. CRM says:
  2. Once upon a time... says:

    The United States has formally withdrawn from the Treaty on Open Skies, an agreement that sought to foster trust by allowing the 34 participating nations to observe one another’s militaries through unarmed flyovers.
    On Sunday, a US Department of State spokesman said that six months had passed since the US in May had notified countries party to the agreement that it was withdrawing.
    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/11/22/united-states-formally-withdraws-from-open-skies-treaty
    “Trust, but verify” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trust,_but_verify

  3. Cassandra says:

    In a collaborative New York Times Magazine article “Hypersonic Missiles Are Unstoppable and They’re Starting a New Global Arms Race,” Managing Editor for National Security at the Center For Public Integrity, T. Jeffrey Smith emphasizes that an unprecedented weapon has been unleashed that can strike any target anywhere in minutes, traveling more than fifteen times the speed of sound, long before the sonic boom or “other meaningful warning.” The warning comes not recently but from three years ago, and not concluded by Smith, but from Pentagon’s Under-Secretary, Michael D. Griffin, appointed by Secretary of Defense General James Mattis. According to Griffin and Mattis, “no surefire defenses” exist to the hypersonic missile – they are “effective, precise and unstoppable.” (NYT 6/19/19) https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/magazine/hypersonic-missiles.html

    • p/s says:

      A Raytheon-built hypersonic cruise missile built under the Defense Department’s classified Hypersonic Air-Breathing Weapons Concept (HAWC) program successfully completed its first flight last week, the department revealed today. https://breakingdefense.com/2021/09/darpa-hypersonic-cruise-missile-prototype-flies-at-last/
      Meanwhile, the Air Force is working on another highly classified air-launched hypersonic cruise missile called the Hypersonic Attack Cruise Missile (HACM) and Project Mayhem, its Expendable Hypersonic Air-Breathing Multi-Mission Demonstrator Program.
      Those programs are significantly less mature, however, than the Air Force’s major hypersonic R&D effort, the AGM-183A Air-Launched Rapid Response Weapon (ARRW), a hypersonic glide vehicle designed to be carried by a B-52 bomber (see links).

      • ЯЏSSЇДИ ЯФЏLЄҬҬԐ says:

        Russia test fires submarine-launched hypersonic Tsirkon missile for first time https://www.cnn.com/2021/10/04/europe/russia-tsirkon-missile-test-intl/index.html
        Putin announced an array of new hypersonic weapons in 2018 in one of his most bellicose speeches in years, saying they could hit almost any point in the world and evade a US-built missile shield.
        (Aug 16, 2021): satellite images obtained by CNN show Russia may be preparing another test of its nuclear-powered cruise missile, known as “Skyfall”– a controversial weapon that is designed to defeat US defense systems.
        The CIA declined to comment and the Pentagon and the Russian Ministry of Defense did not immediately respond to CNN’s requests.
        “Using a nuclear reactor would, in principle, give the cruise missile unlimited range to fly under and around US missile defense radars and interceptors,” according to researcher Jeffrey Lewis, a weapons expert at the Middlebury Institute who reviewed the images.
        There are “substantial questions, however, about whether the system can be made to work successfully, to say nothing of the threat that testing this system may pose to the environment and human health,” he added.

  4. Nightmare fuel says:

    “North Korea said Wednesday that it launched a “hypersonic” missile for the first time, in what marks the latest advance in its expanding weapons program and a milestone in a project officials had identified as a top military priority.
    Hypersonic missile systems are some of the latest warfare technology being developed by military powers such as China, Russia and the United States. The weapons fly faster and at lower altitudes than traditional ballistic missiles, allowing them to maneuver more flexibly. They are being developed to eventually carry nuclear warheads.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2021/09/28/north-korea-hypersonic-missile-launch/

    • p/s says:

      China conducted not one, but two tests of new hypersonic weapons in July and August, the Financial Times (FT) newspaper has reported, raising more concerns in the United States about the growing military capabilities of its geopolitical rival https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/10/21/china-hypersonic-weapons-tests
      “In response to the FT’s initial report, China’s Foreign Ministry said that it had only launched a space plane and the test took place on July 16.
      On Monday, US Senator Angus King described the new weapon as a “strategic game-changers with the dangerous potential to fundamentally undermine strategic stability as we know it”.
      “The implications of these weapons under development by China or Russia could be catastrophic,” the senator from Maine was quoted by reports as saying.
      The US is also said to be racing to develop its own hypersonic weapon technology.”

  5. Ante up says:

    US forces have conducted three tests of hypersonic missile component prototypes, the Pentagon said, amid concerns from President Joe Biden about China’s advances in hypersonic weapons.
    Sandia National Laboratories, a US government contractor, said on Thursday that it had conducted three tests successfully in Virginia a day earlier. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/10/22/new-space-race-us-tests-components-for-hypersonic-weapons
    The tests will inform the development of new weapons systems, the Pentagon said in a statement. The US army and navy are set to conduct hypersonic missile test flights in 2022.
    “Our purpose is to generate a rapid testbed tempo at reduced cost to the taxpayer for future hypersonic weapons systems development and upgrades,” Sandia Program Manager Ben English said in a statement. “We are the technological stepping stone between ground-based lab testing and simulations, and a full weapons test.”
    Sandia Labs press release (10/22/21): ” 1 day. 3 rockets. 23 experiments : Sandia Labs conducting hypersonic weapons research at blistering pace” https://newsreleases.sandia.gov/triple_launch/

  6. Ka-Ching says:

    “In the synopsis of the 2018 National Defense Strategy, DOD officials laid out the problems: an ascending China looking for “Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near term and displacement of the United States to achieve global preeminence in the future” and an ambitious Russia seeking “to shatter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and change European and Middle East security and economic structures to its favor”—with both nations using information warfare and modernized conventional and nuclear forces to flex their muscles. This makes for a vastly different adversary than the kind the United States has been fighting for the last 20 years.” https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2021/11/jadc2-and-the-future/

  7. Stranger than Fiction says:

    The International Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation fails to address advanced golf-ball launch technology.
    “It’s a troubling deficiency,” reckons Robert Trent Jones Jr.
    The little-known code, bureaucratised in 2002 with the acronym HCoC, is a voluntary covenant between 143 nations designed to curtail hypersonic boost-glide missiles and other nuclear-armed airborne thingamajigs that can kill the world’s 7.9 billion inhabitants faster than a sneeze of coronavirus through a screen door.
    Golf is a game played by 60 million people. The 82-year-old Jones is a celebrated golf course architect, vocal campaigner for nuclear demobilisation and environmental awareness, and served as a confidential diplomatic troubleshooter for four United States presidents.
    “There’s little difference between launching a golf ball with a prohibited Geek Golf Fail Safe 3 driver and launching any sort of weapon with an unstoppable hypersonic missile,” says Jones, who has built 280 golf courses around the world. “The linkage is evident.”
    There is also ample proof why it would be rash to dismiss Jones’s observations as a far-fetched metaphor, particularly as HCoC signatories China, Russia and Iran at the disarmament group’s July meeting in Vienna murmured about cancelling their subscriptions to the agreement.
    Fact is, when nations in the past were inching towards a brawl, belligerents on both sides frequently asked Jones to help defuse the tension.
    [read on]

  8. CRM 114 says:

    ● Dmitrii Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, has said that Russia is preparing for serial production of the Sarmat nuclear missile.
    On 21 June, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia’s first Sarmat strategic missile system will be on combat duty at the end of 2022. https://news.yahoo.com/director-roskosmos-rogozin-posts-picture-071736570.html
    ● President Joe Biden is poised to sign two directives that would allow the U.S. Department of Defense to invest in its hypersonic weapons industrial base as adversaries demonstrate advanced capabilities. https://www.c4isrnet.com/2022/07/12/biden-to-sign-two-defense-production-act-directives-targeting-hypersonic-industrial-base/
    ● Lockheed hypersonic weapon moves to next phase after US Air Force test success https://www.defensenews.com/2022/07/13/lockheed-hypersonic-weapon-moves-to-next-phase-after-us-air-force-test-success/
    ● Congress Wants to Spend $45 Million on Nukes the Navy Said it Doesn’t Need
    Both the House and the Senate want to bring back nuclear armed cruise missiles https://www.vice.com/en/article/akedz4/congress-wants-to-spend-dollar45-million-on-nukes-the-navy-said-it-doesnt-need

  9. New and improved says:

    “Both the House and Senate Armed Forces committees approved a provision to the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act that allows for additional funds for the Navy’s Sea-Launched Cruise Missile-­Nuclear program, better known as SLCM-N.”
    https://warisboring.com/congress-quietly-debates-expanding-new-sea-based-nuclear-weapons-amid-china-tensions/
    “Congress has been debating the possibility of fielding more nuclear weapons at sea. Both the House and Senate Armed Forces committees approved a provision to the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act that allows for additional funds for the Navy’s Sea-Launched Cruise Missile-­Nuclear program, better known as SLCM-N.
    The SLCM-N is considered a “low yield ” or “tactical ” nuclear cruise missile. It would create a large, powerful blast compared with conventional missiles but generate an explosion considerably smaller than strategic nuclear weapons. It’s also a physically smaller munition than large nuclear ballistic missiles, allowing for easier storage and transportation.
    …The U.S. military does not discuss the locations of nuclear armed weapons as a matter of policy, but the Pentagon considers the Pacific its top-priority theater of operations. Proponents of tactical nukes have cited China’s rapid military buildup and North Korea’s push to enhance its own missile technology as reasons to reconsider their use.
    But both the military value as well as the potential risks of deploying tactical nuclear weapons are hotly debated within national-­security circles.
    The SLCM-N program started under President Donald Trump, who called for more nuclear weapons in the American arsenal. The administration of President Joe Biden has attempted to shut down the project ; it did not appear in the Navy’s 2023 military budget request. But Congress appears primed to pave the way for continued funding in spite of the White House’s objection.”

  10. Update says:

    The United States has accused Russia of violating the New Start treaty, the last major pillar of post-cold war nuclear arms control between the two countries, saying Moscow was refusing to allow inspection activities on its territory.
    The treaty came into force in 2011 and was extended in 2021 for five more years. It caps the number of strategic nuclear warheads that the United States and Russia can deploy, and the deployment of land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers to deliver them.
    The two countries, which during the cold war were constrained by a tangle of arms control agreements, still account together for about 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jan/31/us-russia-new-start-nuclear-arms-treaty
    On Monday, Russia told the United States that the treaty could expire in 2026 without a replacement because it said Washington was trying to inflict “strategic defeat” on Moscow in Ukraine.
    Asked if Moscow could envisage there being no nuclear arms control treaty after 2026, deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov told the RIA state new agency: “This is quite a possible scenario.”

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