3 April 2019   Leave a comment

Both the US and Russia have pulled out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty which banned all missiles with a range of between about 300 to 3,500 miles. They are still both bound by the Strategic Arms Treaty (START) which limited both sides to both missiles ans warheads. According to the Congressional Research Service:

“It limits each side to no more than 800 deployed and nondeployed land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) launchers and deployed and nondeployed heavy bombers equipped to carry nuclear armaments. Within that total, each side can retain no more than 700 deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs, and deployed heavy bombers equipped to carry nuclear armaments. The treaty also limits each side to no more than 1,550 deployed warheads; those are the actual number of warheads on deployed ICBMs and SLBMs, and one warhead for each deployed heavy bomber.”

That Treaty expires on 5 February 2020 and there is no evidence that either side is interested in extending it. It also seems to be the case that both sides are quite interested in developing more missiles and weapons. The Russians are developing weapons specifically designed to evade the anti-missile systems being developed by the US. Those new Russian weapons are described by Matthew Gault:

“Last year Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled six new weapons during a governmental address. The most impressive, according to nuclear experts, were the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, the nuclear-powered cruise missile Skyfall and the RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). These three are the crown jewels in Russia’s aggressive new nuclear policy, capable—according to Putin—of circumventing U.S. missile defense systems. Currently, American defenses are designed to knock an incoming nuke out of the air before it can hit its target—but this was already a complicated and difficult task before the development of hypersonics.”

It is highly likely that we will soon witness a new nuclear arms race that will be very expensive and highly destabilizing.

Hypersonic Missiles

The Pew Research Center has conducted a poll among American citizens about their views on the status of the US in 2050. The future is a mixed bag for most Americans, but most believe that the power of the US will decline substantially in the future. According to the report:

“Majorities predict that the economy will be weaker, health care will be less affordable, the condition of the environment will be worse and older Americans will have a harder time making ends meet than they do now. Also predicted: a terrorist attack as bad as or worse than 9/11 sometime over the next 30 years.

These grim predictions mirror, in part, the public’s sour mood about the current stateof the country. The share of Americans who are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country – seven-in-ten in January of 2019 – is higher now than at any time in the past year.

The report is filled with interesting and important information, but the most distressing part of the report for me was the sense that Americans have about the effectiveness of the Federal government. Most Americans believe that the government is not capable of addressing the future problems of the country. Under those circumstances, it is difficult to imagine that the people will have much trust in the government and that they will try to find alternative ways of managing their lives.

Posted April 3, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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