Americans should be very concerned about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement on Russia’s breakthroughs in weapons technology – not necessarily because they pose a threat, but because it will mean vast fortunes spent in the U.S. on an arms race, Jonathan Marshall argues.
By Jonathan Marshall
Be afraid. Be very afraid of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest boast to his Federal Assembly that Russian scientists have come up “a breakthrough in developing new models of strategic weapons” aimed at the United States.
Don’t be afraid that he has any intention of using them. Don’t even be afraid that most of the weapons he demonstrated through animated simulations are operational.
Be afraid, rather, that armchair Cold Warriors in the United States will shamelessly exploit Putin’s speech to justify billions—no, trillions—of dollars in needless spending on a pointless nuclear arms race.
Achieving their agenda was made easier by media coverage of the speech, which reported that Putin “threatened the West” (New York Times) and “represented an escalated level of martial rhetoric even by his pugnacious standards” (Washington Post).
Putin in fact explicitly and repeatedly emphasized that his claimed new weapons are not offensive, but rather designed to maintain Russia’s nuclear deterrent in the face of growing U.S. anti-missile systems.
Responding to the United States
“Back in 2000, the US announced its withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty,” he explained. “We saw the Soviet-US ABM Treaty signed in 1972 as the cornerstone of the international security system… Together with the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, the ABM Treaty not only created an atmosphere of trust but also prevented either party from recklessly using nuclear weapons.”
“We did our best to dissuade the Americans from withdrawing from the treaty,” he continued. “All in vain. The US pulled out…