Russia's deployment of a land-based cruise missile in violation of its treaty obligations to the United States must be answered by dramatically raising the "costs of defying our country," according to Sen. Tom Cotton.
In an op-ed posted in the Washington Post, the Arkansas Republican argued the government of Russia's President Vladimir Putin "has been subverting the treaty for eight years."
"By some accounts, Russia started testing a new cruise missile that could strike Western Europe as early as 2008, thus violating the treaty," he wrote, adding that repeated warnings by the Obama administration to stop "were treated as so much hot air — just another meaningless 'red line,'" Cotton wrote.
Cotton said Russia's new cruise missile "is an incredibly dangerous threat to the United States and our allies."
"Unless we act now, Russia will only continue its campaign of aggression. Congress should… make Russia pay for its actions. Only by increasing the costs of defying our country will we bring the geopolitical scales back to balance," he said.
The senator said he's introduced legislation to direct the Pentagon to ensure Russia lives up to its obligations by: investing more into U.S. development of a new intermediate-range cruise missile; funding new defense capabilities; facilitating the transfer of cruise missiles among U.S. allies; and curtailing funding for two treaties Russia wants to preserve, the New START Treaty and the Open Skies Treaty.
"Unless we act now, Russia will only continue its campaign of aggression," Cotton warned.
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