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Russia's New Missile Violates a Cold War Treaty But We're Sure Trump Will Tell Putin What's What

Vladimir Putin in Moscow on February 10, 2017 (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, pool)
Vladimir Putin in Moscow on February 10, 2017 (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, pool)

According to new reports, Russia has deployed a secret cruise missile system that violates a treaty between the United States and the former Soviet Union. Known as the SSC-X-8, the Obama administration previously warned Russia about developing the land-based system, but the country went ahead and built it anyway. Now that Trump is in office, there’s speculation about what the new administration will do about it.

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The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty went into effect under President Reagan in 1988 and bans cruise missiles with a range between roughly 300 and 3,400 miles. And according to the Federation of American Scientists, it was the first treaty to reduce nuclear arms capabilities rather than merely installing ceilings on new weapons developments.

The revelations that this illegal weapons system is being rolled out couldn’t come at a worse time for the Trump regime. Last night, Michael Flynn was forced out as Trump’s top National Security advisor. Disturbingly, Flynn had been communicating with Russian diplomats about lifting sanctions on the country once the Trump regime took power.

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NATO’s former top commander, General Philip Breedlove warned back in 2014 that Russia’s troops on Ukraine’s border pose a threat, and specifically called out the future development of the SSC-X-8 weapons system.

“A weapon capability that violates the I.N.F., that is introduced into the greater European land mass is absolutely a tool that will have to be dealt with,” Breedlove said at the time.

But it remains to be seen what President Trump would do to retaliate against the weapon. In fact, Trump has called for the development of more nuclear weapons in the world. Faced with the prospect of Russia developing more nukes, Trump said that an arms race would be good.

“Let it be an arms race, we will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all,” Trump said back in December before being installed as president.

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“The United States must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes,” Trump tweeted on December 22, 2016.

It’s not clear what Trump considers to be the world coming to its senses. Part of the problem is that the new missile system looks so similar to other systems that aren’t in violation of the treaty.

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“I would not judge how the alliance will choose to react, but I would say they will have to consider what to do about it,” Breedlove said back in 2014. “It can’t go unanswered.”

If Trump’s previous actions on Russia are any indication, it very well might go unanswered.

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[New York Times]

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

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DISCUSSION

omgponies-at
OMG!PONIES!

Here’s some perspective....

In the past week, North Korea has launched a missile, Kim Jong Il Un (edited) has assassinated his brother, Russia has deployed intermediate-range missiles in violation of the INF Treaty, the National Security Adviser has resigned amid allegations that he violated the Logan Act, the President has mishandled classified information and met with a potential new National Security Adviser who is someone who has been convicted of mishandling classified information, had his Senior Advisor say that “the President’s authority will not be challenged,” and tweeted in support of his daughter’s private business instead of attending intelligence briefings.

Oh yeah...

The head of the Secret Service just resigned too.

That’s just been in the last seven days.