Russia and the world arms race (part 2)

Author : Oleksiy Arbatov

10:01, 29 April 2016

Russia and the world arms race (part 2)

Author : Oleksiy Arbatov

Russia aims to catch up the US on military systems as soon as possible

10:01, 29 April 2016

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Without waiting for 2020, a second channel of the arms race is opened: the Russian offensive nuclear weapons against the US missile defense system. It did not happen during the Cold War, because before 1972, no one had such defensive systems, and since 1972 they have been severely limited by the treaty, from which the US withdrew in 2002. The latest Russian offensive nuclear weapons and dual-use systems (including tactical) are established not only to upgrade the capacity of the shock. They bear an additional burden in terms of means and methods to overcome the US missile defense systems and their allies.

Related: Russia and the world arms race (part 1)

The most innovative third channel of the arms race is a high-precision long-range offensive system in the usual equipment, including existing subsonic (cruise missiles) and future hypersonic missile systems. Apparently, President Putin in his keynote paper in 2012meant such a system. "Together with nuclear weapons, it will help to obtain a qualitatively new instruments for achieving political and strategic goals, - he wrote. - Such weapons systems will be comparable to the results of the use of nuclear weapons, but more "acceptable" in the political and military terms. Thus, the role of the strategic balance of nuclear forces to deter aggression and chaos will gradually decline."

Related: G7 foreign ministers sign anti-nuclear declaration in Hiroshima

Russia aims to catch up the US on such systems as soon as possible. This arms race channel can be very costly, as the latest strike means require the creation of improved management of information systems, including space-based. Such a system, in turn, will create an incentive for the development of countermeasures: anti-satellite, radio-electronic, and cybernetic.

Finally, the fourth channel is a Russian aerospace defense against American air and space attacks. In June of 2013, visiting the plant of anti-aircraft missiles, Putin said: "Efficient military complex is a guarantee of the stability of our strategic deterrent forces, covering the country from aerospace means of attack." However, it remains unclear what specific weapons systems fall into this category, but it can be concluded that it is primarily for high-precision systems, conventional warheads, both subsonic and hypersonic. And, as often happened in the past, the defense bears much greater costs than strategic attack.

Such multi-race strategic offensive and defensive, nuclear and non-nuclear weapons has not existed during the Cold War. Now the situation is exacerbated by the economic inequality of the parties, especially in the financial and economic crisis in Russia. In addition, unlike the US, Russia could not count on any substantial help of the allies and partners.

Related: Poroshenko: Ukraine and Japan continue to cooperate on nuclear security

Another important difference from the past is that a new arms race is not only multi-channel, but also multilateral. China, Pakistan, India, North Korea are increasing offensive nuclear weapons, United Kingdom, France, Israel maintain and improve their systems. At the same time, China is also developing hypersonic high-precision non-nuclear systems; it is even ahead of the Russian Federation and the United States. The arms race will take place in at least two trilateral platforms: Russia-US-China and China-India-Pakistan. The earlier missile defense systems were the monopoly of the USSR and the United States, and now they would be developed individually or collectively, by the NATO countries, China, India, Israel, Japan, and South Korea.

Related: Petro Poroshenko meets Barack Obama during Nuclear Summit in Washington

Related: Ukraine, Australia sign agreement on cooperation in nuclear sector

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