Russia is emerging as a new strategic nuclear threat to the United States, a senior member of the House Committee on Armed Services revealed on Wednesday.
“On the nuclear deterrence front, we likely have more cause for concern today than at any point since the Soviet Union collapsed — with a swift kick from the policies of Ronald Reagan,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, Alabama Republican and chairman of the subcommittee on strategic forces.
Unlike Germany and Japan, which were converted from enemies to friends after World War II, Russia has not followed a similar model.
“Instead, it gave us [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and his Soviet-style regime,” Mr. Rogers said in a speech to an Air Force Association breakfast.
The result, according to the subcommittee chairman, has been a series of threatening Russian actions, including:
• Overt and direct nuclear threats to neighbors and NATO states.
• Illegal seizure and annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea and continued aggression in eastern Ukraine.
• Violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty and eight other arms control treaties and agreement breaches.
• Open discussion in Moscow of a new military doctrine that views NATO as a military threat and the use nuclear weapons early in any conflict involving NATO or the United States.
Mr. Rogers said the emergence of a threatening Russia took place despite, or perhaps as a result of, the Obama administration’s conciliatory “reset” policy.
“Some of us have been saying the reset was flawed from the beginning because it failed to recognize the reality of Putin’s Russia,” he said. “Now, this blindness has become dangerous.”
The failed reset is a main legacy of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will likely face criticism for it during her Democratic campaign for the presidency.
The Russia threat has led to a more united NATO, which is reviewing defense postures and policies to deal with Moscow, including bolstering nuclear deterrence in the region.
Mr. Rogers said the administration so far has not responded to Russia’s violation of the INF treaty, identified as a new cruise missile. The chairman revealed, however, that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has conducted an assessment of potential U.S. military responses to the INF violation.
He did not elaborate on what those responses include, and said they seem “to be tied up in the White House.”
U.S. nuclear capabilities have been kept at 1990s levels and need to be modernized, Mr. Rogers said.
“As other nations — Russia, China, Pakistan, North Korea — continue to research and deploy new nuclear capabilities, I ask, will our 1990 nuclear deterrent still be credible in 2040?” Mr. Rogers said.
Mr. Rogers also called for extending U.S. missile defenses to space, something opposed by the administration as a “weaponization” of space.
“So, while we sat back and tried to show leadership on this issue, Russia and China weaponized it for us,” he said. “For less than our current systems, we could deploy a missile defense system in space that’s more capable than what we have in today’s [Ground-based Missile Defense] system.”
SOURCE: Bill Gertz
The Washington Times