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Thread: Countering missiles with missiles - The #US military after the INF treaty. The #UnitedStates should field new ground units armed with intermediate-range land-based missiles on US & allied territory along the Western Pacific warontherocks.com/2019/07/counte…
Thirty-one years ago, the Senate approved the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, banning American and Soviet land-based missiles with ranges from 500 to 5,500 kilometers. Passed by a 93-5 vote, the INF Treaty promoted restraint after decades of Cold War competition.
With both Russia and the US leaving the treaty, it is effectively a dead letter. Many have discussed why this is the case, but the time is ripe to look closely at what the U.S. armed services can and should do next now that America is unshackled by the treaty’s restrictions.
The treaty’s prohibition on land-based missiles of all kinds placed US & its allies at a disadvantage relative to China by allowing Beijing to field relatively cheap land-based missiles to hold US & allied forces at risk while having to defend themselves against those missiles.
It is time to turn the tables. The United States should field new ground units armed with intermediate-range land-based missiles on U.S. and allied territory along the Western Pacific archipelagos.
Deploying these missiles will help prevent the nightmares that keep Pentagon officials up at night. Such weapons, capable of denying China the use of littoral waters, would be a powerful deterrent to Chinese aggression.
In the event of war, these units will be able to disrupt & delay a Chinese attack long enough for air & naval forces to arrive & stymie the assault. By demonstrating the ability to halt aggression, these forces would deter Chinese leaders from attempting it in the first place.
In 1988, the INF Treaty reflected relaxing Cold War tensions. Today, however, amidst the return of great power competition, the United States is fighting with one arm tied behind its back.
Washington should capitalize on the INF Treaty’s end to field conventionally armed, land-based maritime strike- and land-attack missiles that saddle America’s great power competitors with the same dilemmas they have imposed on the United States for years.
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