DefenseTech reported today that “Russia is leaning more and more on its nuclear weapons, as its conventional military falls into the toilet.” Elsewhere at DefenseTech today was a link to ArmsControlWonk, which leads to news that the US isn’t working with the IAEA.
This isn’t good.
The AP, via DefenseTech is reporting
Speaking at a meeting of the Armed Forces’ leadership, Putin reportedly said that Russia is researching and successfully testing new nuclear missile systems.
With this, DefenseTech asks:
Anybody wanna bet how long it’ll take for the White House or the Pentagon to say this proves the need for its missile defense array — even though the system is so lame, it can’t be tested?
That’s a more than fair question, but the real question is “what’s the relationship between missile defense systems — even those that don’t work — and missile development?”
The AP story hints at the capabilities of the new missile by comparing it to the Russian’s current Topol-M ICBM.
[The] next-generation heavy nuclear missile that could carry up to 10 nuclear warheads weighing a total of 4.4 tons, compared with the Topol-M’s 1.32-ton combat payload.
Topol-Ms have been deployed in silos since 1998. The missiles have a range of about 6,000 miles and reportedly can maneuver in ways that are difficult to detect. (emphasis added)
The Russians are developing a new missile that can evade missile defense systems! The US missile shield recently deployed has so far had a less than 50% chance of tracking and hitting targets, despite a pile of cheats that should favor the interceptor — like homing beacons on the target missile.
What’s worse, however, is that now the Iranians are working on ICBMs too. It’s part of their civilian space program, and the missiles are being used as satellite launch vehicles. Add to that the North Korean missile program and activity by the Chinease to increase their missile stockpiles.
Why are missiles suddenly the new black? Missiles were mostly a non-issue for a long time after the end of the cold war. The former USSR has a lot of them (and so do we), and it seemed we all agreed that we’d be better off by getting rid of them. Instead, Bush has been investing billions of dollars in a failed missile defense program. I say failed because it has yet to pass a test, and doubly failed because it seems to be stimulating missile development in contries that had been only mildly threatening before Bush took office. The problem is that even a completely inefective missile shield is a threat to any country that depends on missiles to prevent a US invasion — like North Korea, Iran, even China and the USSR.
These countries are threatened by Bush’s go-it-alone foreign policy and cowboy politics, and depend on their missiles as a last ditch defense if the US tried to invade — like, what we did to Iraq. So if they fear their missiles will be less efective because of a missile defense shield — which doesn’t even work, let me remind you — then their only choice is to build more missiles with more warheads and build them to sneak through any ‘shield’ the US may have. Then they have to launch them, and the US would be facing several dozen missiles, instead of one or two. And even if those missiles don’t get used, it creates a larger number of warheads which could find their way into terrorist’s hands. Because, while it’s fairly hard to launch a missile, it’s fairly easy to use the warhead against US targets in other ways.
You’d think the administration would at least want to support the IAEA during this? Ya know, to at least keep a lid on nuclear proliferation even while it stimulates missil development, right?
There’s more background to this story at Faith-Based Missile Defense.