The INF treaty was a sham

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The INF treaty was a sham

The SSC-​8, an INF-​Treaty Violator

On Fri­day the United States announced sus­pen­sion of the Inter­me­di­ate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. A sim­ple Google search would make you believe the sky is falling and soon to be lit­tered with nuclear weapons. I couldn’t find a sin­gle pos­i­tive arti­cle about the with­drawal. But all is not lost. Let’s get some basic facts.

The INF Treaty is old

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987. It elim­i­nated inter­me­di­ate range (3003,400 mile) ground based weapons that could carry nuclear weapons. At the time, the inten­tion was to elim­i­nate a class of weapons that were hard to tar­get and could cause an arms race. The treaty was suc­cess­ful in elim­i­nat­ing over 2,000 weapons, over 2/​3rds on the Russ­ian side. But things have changed since then.

The INF Treaty is out of date

The INF Treaty mat­ters very lit­tle now because it has essen­tially been over­come by tech­nol­ogy. Most impor­tantly, the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment has devel­oped hyper sonic glide vehi­cles (HGVs) that are likely capa­ble of car­ry­ing nuclear weapons. HGVs don’t have a bal­lis­tic tra­jec­tory and are maneu­ver­able, aspects that make them not sub­ject to the INF treaty.

A sec­ond prob­lem with the INF treaty is coun­tries out­side Rus­sia. Rus­sia and India devel­oped the Brah­Mos mis­sile sys­tem. Joint devel­op­ment of a sys­tem isn’t cap­tured by the INF treaty. Addi­tion­ally, non-​signatories like China can develop what­ever capa­bil­i­ties they want with no restrictions.

Add to this that Rus­sia has been cheat­ing on the treaty, likely since 2007, and the INF Treaty appears to be all neg­a­tive for the United States, and help­ful to Rus­sia, who con­tin­ues to vio­late it.

What hap­pens next?

Rus­sia will get 6 months to com­ply with the treaty. At that point, the treaty is null and void. This means that the United States would be free to develop inter­me­di­ate range ground weapons. For exam­ple, the U.S. could place the Tom­a­hawk mis­sile sys­tem in a ground launcher.

What should Pres­i­dent Trump do?

Rus­sia has been sig­nif­i­cantly hurt by sanc­tions and embar­goes. NATO mem­bers, mean­while, need some reas­sur­ance about their safety. If the United States began sell­ing ground-​based nuclear-​capable launch­ers to NATO coun­tries, it would be a dis­as­ter for Rus­sia. The Russ­ian econ­omy would strug­gle against a con­certed, Euro­pean response.

If I was Pres­i­dent Trump, I’d go for the jugu­lar. Sell ground based launch­ers to NATO nations. Make Rus­sia have to raise the bar, which it can’t do, against NATO. Let Rus­sia suf­fer and fail. Russia’s econ­omy is suf­fer­ing, so now is the time to apply eco­nomic pres­sure and get what­ever your end state is.

With­draw­ing from the INF treaty is not gloom and doom. Instead, it rep­re­sents a change, from accept­ing Rus­sia inter­fer­ence to tak­ing a more active role con­cern­ing Russia’s future.

This post rep­re­sents the views of the author and not those of the Depart­ment of Defense, Depart­ment of the Navy, or any other gov­ern­ment agency.

Please donate to Da Tech Guy!!

The SSC-8, an INF-Treaty Violator

On Friday the United States announced suspension of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. A simple Google search would make you believe the sky is falling and soon to be littered with nuclear weapons. I couldn’t find a single positive article about the withdrawal. But all is not lost. Let’s get some basic facts.

The INF Treaty is old

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987. It eliminated intermediate range (300-3,400 mile) ground based weapons that could carry nuclear weapons. At the time, the intention was to eliminate a class of weapons that were hard to target and could cause an arms race. The treaty was successful in eliminating over 2,000 weapons, over 2/3rds on the Russian side. But things have changed since then.

The INF Treaty is out of date

The INF Treaty matters very little now because it has essentially been overcome by technology. Most importantly, the Russian government has developed hyper sonic glide vehicles (HGVs) that are likely capable of carrying nuclear weapons. HGVs don’t have a ballistic trajectory and are maneuverable, aspects that make them not subject to the INF treaty.

A second problem with the INF treaty is countries outside Russia. Russia and India developed the BrahMos missile system. Joint development of a system isn’t captured by the INF treaty. Additionally, non-signatories like China can develop whatever capabilities they want with no restrictions.

Add to this that Russia has been cheating on the treaty, likely since 2007, and the INF Treaty appears to be all negative for the United States, and helpful to Russia, who continues to violate it.

What happens next?

Russia will get 6 months to comply with the treaty. At that point, the treaty is null and void. This means that the United States would be free to develop intermediate range ground weapons. For example, the U.S. could place the Tomahawk missile system in a ground launcher.

What should President Trump do?

Russia has been significantly hurt by sanctions and embargoes. NATO members, meanwhile, need some reassurance about their safety. If the United States began selling ground-based nuclear-capable launchers to NATO countries, it would be a disaster for Russia. The Russian economy would struggle against a concerted, European response.

If I was President Trump, I’d go for the jugular. Sell ground based launchers to NATO nations. Make Russia have to raise the bar, which it can’t do, against NATO. Let Russia suffer and fail. Russia’s economy is suffering, so now is the time to apply economic pressure and get whatever your end state is.

Withdrawing from the INF treaty is not gloom and doom. Instead, it represents a change, from accepting Russia interference to taking a more active role concerning Russia’s future.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Please donate to Da Tech Guy!!