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26 Сентября 2021
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"American roller coaster" strategic stability

What rests on the discussion of strategic stability.

According to the correspondent of The Moscow Post, less than a week remains before the consultations of Russian and American experts on strategic stability. An agreement to resume the dialogue was reached by Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden during the summit in Geneva.

And on July 19, a test launch of the Zircon hypersonic missile was announced. They will become a deterrent for those who want to arrange provocations near the territorial waters of Russia.

Press Secretary of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Peskov hastened to say that Russian developments in the field of hypersonic weapons cannot violate parity in the field of strategic stability. Almost simultaneously with this statement, the Russian Embassy in the United States warned Washington against deploying hypersonic missiles in Europe.

Earlier, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, commenting on the test of the Zircon hypersonic missile, said that "Russia's new hypersonic missiles have destabilizing potential and pose a significant danger, since they are ready to carry nuclear warheads".

Where Does It Come From

There is no logic in Kirby's words, but the truth about the "destabilizing potential" is hidden. The fact is that American missiles in Romania and Poland have this most destabilizing potential and already pose a threat to Russia's strategic security, threatening its nuclear-missile deterrence systems. These American missile defense systems on the territory of European NATO countries undermine the so-called strategic stability.

Romania in 2016 deployed on its territory the stationary missile defense system "Aegis Ashore" with interceptors of missiles of the type "RIM-161 Standart Missile 3" (SM-3). In total, 3 batteries of 8 such missiles have been deployed at the Deveselu military base since 2015. In 2020, it was planned to complete the American missile defense base in Poland (Redzikovo). These two NATO countries allow control of northwestern Russia and the Black Sea region. Another stationary missile defense complex "Aegis Ashore" can be located in Norway, closer to the bases of the Northern Fleet of the Russian Federation.

The Aegis Ashore systems are aimed at intercepting intercontinental ballistic missiles and warheads at atmospheric altitudes and at long ranges, almost "at all stages of flight." In addition to ground-based systems, the same missile defense systems are also located on ships. In Romania and Poland there are ground versions similar to those on destroyers of the Arly Burke type. All this is close to the bases of the strategic nuclear forces of the Russian Federation, command posts, control systems.

The task of American missile defense systems is to "zero" Russia's strategic nuclear potential, put Moscow in a vulnerable position, provide maximum security for the US territory, for themselves. Even before the United States withdrew from the INF Treaty in 2020, the Mk 41 launchers (a unified vertical launch ship for guided missiles) allowed the deployment of Tomahawk-type cruise missiles near Russia. The Aegis Ashore missile defense systems served as a cover for cruise missiles, and the Tomahawks in nuclear equipment would have a reduced time of approach to targets.

"Zero" zeroing threat

Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said that over the past decades, Russia has watched the phased breakdown of the documentary strategic security system based on treaties with the United States. Moscow faced steps by the United States and NATO that damaged the current parity in the field of strategic offensive weapons.

Dmitry Peskov explained that the creation of missile defense bases and installations for anti-missiles in Romania and other countries near Russian borders is also complicated by the fact that these installations can be used for attack missiles of the Tomahawk type.

In this regard, Washington has already destabilized the situation by withdrawing from the ABM treaty in 2002, raising the risks of an attack for Russia, the risks of an "unintended conflict" for everyone. And John Kirby should know all this well.

"All this was scrapping existing parity. This required the adoption of measures that were able to protect Russia against the background of these actions and that would guarantee the continuation of the existing parity, which was done, "the press secretary of the President of Russia added. The Zircon complex is designed, among other things, to "nullify" American naval and ground-based missile defense systems, and advanced-based means aimed at "nullifying" the Russian nuclear deterrent potential. This means that the arms race has moved to another level of ability to threaten Russia, as well as the ability of the Russian Armed Forces to counteract these threats. In the new conditions, the concept of "stability" is also changing.

Slipping "strategic stability"

Such a step as the deployment of American hypersonic missiles (when the United States has them) in Europe, according to Russia, would increase the likelihood of an accidental, unintended conflict. This is due to the fact that the United States may be tempted to deliver the first disarming strike using hypersonic weapons on the control system of Russian nuclear forces. These suspicions are in vain or justified, it is difficult to say. All previous actions of Washington were frankly aimed at gaining strategic advantages, in particular by withdrawing from the ABM treaties (2002) and the INF Treaty (2020).

In any case, Moscow would have critically little time to decide on retaliatory actions if the United States uses European platforms to place and launch its hypersonic missiles towards Russia.

Only one thing can be said: the task of diplomats and military experts will now be to return the concept of "strategic stability" to the previous, understandable and agreed upon by the parties. Prior to the US withdrawal from the ABM treaty, the concept of "strategic stability" was based on the assumption that there could be no winners in a nuclear war, that such a war was impossible, since it would lead to guaranteed mutual destruction.

21st Century Risks

The very concept of "strategic stability" was formed during the dialogue between the USSR and the USA on the problems of limiting nuclear weapons, multiple issues of ensuring military-strategic balance. The term "strategic stability" was enshrined in the 1987 Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles and the 1991 Treaty of SNV-1. In June 1990, a Joint Statement was signed on future negotiations on nuclear and space weapons and strengthening strategic stability.

Since then, new nuclear countries have appeared, a "nuclear multipolarity" has arisen, including not only the UK, France and China, but also India, Pakistan, the DPRK, and other players. Technologies have appeared that increase the power and accuracy of conventional weapons. The geography of the deployment of US conventional weapons on the territory of their allies in Europe and Asia allows reducing the flight time of a high-precision non-nuclear warhead to strategic targets in Russia. Some NATO conventional weapons have acquired characteristics of strategic means of attack.

Although the permanent members of the UN Security Council (leading nuclear powers) do not see war as a way to realize their political or military goals, the atmosphere of confrontation, the attitude of some politicians in a number of Western countries, including new NATO members and Japan, the destruction and weakening of arms limitation regimes and related confidence measures, increase the risks of unintentional war, the risks of its transition to nuclear.

Stability is harmed by regional conflicts...

"New weapons make escalation much more likely than weapons that existed during the cold war," the HSE report "New Understanding and Ways to Strengthen Multilateral Strategic Stability" noted. It is necessary to add the "new configuration of the relations of safety in Europe" which developed after 1992, change in position of Post-Soviet Russia in Europe to it in the Caucasus and in Central Asia and also as a result of expansion of infrastructure of NATO.

Washington takes these changes for granted, trying to use the new conditions for its geopolitical purposes to weaken Russia's position. But Moscow cannot agree with this approach. Miscalculations and errors in the interpretation of Russian doctrines can become very dangerous in this regard.

The main danger to the "great strategic stability" began to be the risks of military conflict between nuclear powers. Including the risks of drawing them into an unintended non-nuclear conflict, provoked by minor NATO members, Ukraine or Georgia. The unreasonable activity of the United States and its allies in the territories of these and other "problematic" states can cause conflict, as happened in 2008 in South Ossetia and Georgia. The last known example of Western provocations is the NATO Sea Breeze exercises near the Crimean peninsula. The problems of real, imaginary or provoked cyber attacks on critical infrastructure, surges in internal political instability deserve special attention.

... as well as internal strife

"In the new military-strategic environment, strategic stability should characterize the ability of nuclear powers to manage relations and prevent any direct military clashes, including non-nuclear and unintentional ones. In this regard, strengthening strategic stability requires measures and solutions not only and not so much military as political and international political, including reducing the intensity of confrontation between nuclear powers and restoring confidence that has almost completely disappeared to date, "the aforementioned report, based on the views of prominent Russian experts, notes.

Accordingly, mistakes and miscalculations in understanding the situation on the part of the United States itself, including the "hot" political goals, are possible. Russian and US officials are expected to meet on July 28 to hold a first dialogue on strategic stability issues. Meanwhile, Republican Senator Ted Cruz (Texas) is trying to delay Senate approval of Bonnie Jenkins (her and other Biden appointees) for the post of US Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. A stubborn Republican wants to force the Democratic government to impose sanctions on Nord Stream 2.

So we arrived: the prospects for resuming dialogue on strategic stability rests on disagreements between Democrats and Republicans in the American Congress. Donald Trump's accusations of "sympathy" for Russia, which rained on the part of his opponents from the Democratic camp, come to memory. A world divided by multiple contradictions between two or three "houses" cannot be stable. Even worse, if one of these "houses" is also split.

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