Saturday, November 15, 2014

Rewiring That "Reset" Button

Russia says that they have a nuclear surprise for us. How reset-y.

That's nice:

The Russian Pravda has published an article titled "Russia Prepares Nuclear Surprise For NATO," citing a September 1, 2014 US State Department report that signaled US and Russia have reached parity in terms of deployed strategic nuclear weapons.

The backgrounder is here.

I assume that any surprise is ultimately going to be in theater nuclear weapons that threaten all of Europe (and are strategic to them) but which are outside of the weapons included in the New START treaty--something I complained about.

And note one reason given to pass the nuclear agreement was to maintain Russian cooperation on other issues. Hah!

Yes, at first I wasn't too worried. But my premises that France, Britain, and China would balance Russia's shorter-ranged nukes and that Russia couldn't afford to bolster their theater nukes may not hold true. And I hoped that the details of the early reports wouldn't be as bad as some painted them. I was willing to wait.

Also note that the article is from Business Insider--not Strategy Insider. They misread the backgrounder as saying we have over 700 bombers to Russia's 500+. That category clearly identifies deployed land-based strategic missiles, sub-based missiles, and long range bombers.

Someone familiar even in broad terms with our arsenals would know that neither side has anywhere near that many strategic bombers.

I'd rather live in a non-nuclear world. But we can hardly trust other countries not to cheat in any zero option.

We surely can't trust Putin.