Tags: Barack Obama | Homeland Security | Russia | Jim Inhofe | Vladimir Putin | nuclear | treaty

Sen. Inhofe: Putin 'Flexing His Muscles' While Obama Sits Still

By    |   Monday, 08 Sep 2014 09:56 PM

Russia's suspected cruise-missile testing in violation of a 1987 nuclear missile treaty is one more example of Vladimir Putin's "flexing his muscles with no serious response" from President Barack Obama, says Sen. Jim Inhofe.

Not only did Russia allegedly violate the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee writes for Foreign Policy magazine, "it did so while negotiating . . . a 2010 arms reduction treaty."

"What's harder to explain is why we let them get away with it," he writes.

What Russia's move illustrates is the "fundamental difference in the way the U.S. and Russia view nuclear strategy, the role of nuclear weapons, and arms control," asserts Inhofe, of Oklahoma.

"Russia used the arms control process to reduce the threat posed by U.S. strategic nuclear forces while simultaneously pursuing alternative nuclear capabilities – such as cruise missiles – in support of its military strategy and national security," he writes.

"The United States under President Obama, on the other hand, has tried to set a disarmament and nuclear nonproliferation example by reducing the role and numbers of nuclear weapons . . . in the hope that the rest of the world would follow.

"It hasn't."

Inhofe notes that the State Department reported the Ground Launched Cruise Missile testing by Russia in July, though Putin was apparently aware of it in 2007 and the U.S. government suspected a potential violation shortly thereafter.

Yet, Inhofe writes, the United States still negotiated a new arms control treaty with Russia before resolving its alleged INF treaty violation.

More important, he writes, "What did the Kremlin hope to gain militarily or strategically? We need to answer these questions to determine how to respond."

Ihofe writes that a new Ground Launched Cruise Missile with a range between 500 and 5,000 kilometers, which is what the Russians allegedly tested, "enables Russia to threaten U.S. allies in Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia. It also puts important targets in China, India, Pakistan, and other countries within range of Moscow's nuclear force."

Putin's move into Ukraine and his approval of placing nuclear-capable missiles and heavy bombers in Crimea "adds additional foreboding to Russia's ominous development of a new nuclear" Ground Launched Cruise Missile, Inhofe writes.

"[H]e reinforced his unambiguous message of continued aggression when he reportedly told the president of the European Commission, 'If I wanted to, I could take Kiev in two weeks'," Inhofe writes.

"The Russian deception of negotiating a nuclear arms reduction while building up nuclear arms poses a direct threat to the United States," he writes, even though its new cruise missile can't reach the United States.

"It would free up Russia's air- and submarine-launched cruise missiles from a European scenario to target U.S. nuclear retaliatory capabilities, command and control nodes, and even U.S. cities," he writes.

"It is too late to negotiate the Russians back into compliance," he writes.

So, to "mitigate this new threat," Inhofe urges expansion of U.S. homeland missile defense capabilities; the reinstatement of funding to modernize U.S. nuclear weapons; and consultation "with NATO and other allies about increasing regional missile defenses" to contend with the new Russian Ground Launched Cruise Missile.

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Russia's suspected cruise-missile testing in violation of a 1987 nuclear missile treaty is one more example of Vladimir Putin's "flexing his muscles with no serious response" from President Barack Obama, says Sen. Jim Inhofe.
Jim Inhofe, Vladimir Putin, nuclear, treaty
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2014-56-08
Monday, 08 Sep 2014 09:56 PM
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