Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Short reminder about US and Russian nuclear weapons

A recent article in the LA Times caught my eye yesterday.  It's title was "$40-billion missile defense system proves unreliable".  I urge you to read the full article but the bottom line here is simple: the Ground-based Midcourse Defense system, or GMD, is a catastrophic failure.  Basically, the system is useless and would not even work against a (totally hypothetical) Iranian or North Korean strike with primitive missiles.  And it's not like there are just a few technological kinks which need fixing here or there - the entire system was mis-designed from day 1, just like the latest tri-service "flying brick" the F-35.  Billions of dollars wasted for nothing except making the folks in the US military-industrial complex rich, very rich.  I hope to write up one day a full analysis of why a country which in the past has produced absolutely world class military hardware and weapons systems (like the WWII Jeep or the F-16) is now systematically producing hugely expensive crap, but that is not my purpose today.  Today I want to remind you all of a few basic facts:

1) The entire US nuclear arsenal is hopelessly outdated, especially it's land-based component which is over 30 years old and whose B-1 and B-2 bombers which cannot deliver cruise missiles and whose "stealth" capabilities are no match for Russian air defense systems.  The only part of the US nuclear triad which is more or less in good shape are the US Navy boomers.
2) The US GMD cannot even intercept primitive ballistic missiles.
3) Russia has recently deployed brand new mobile land-based (SS-27, SS-29) and sea based ballistic missiles (R-29RMU2, RSM-56) which are designed to be able to evade future ABM systems.

Please keep that in mind when you hear all this talk about a US first strike on Russia.  What is happening now is a typical self-feeding rumor which somebody started (dunno who) and who get's picked up by more and more people who then end up quoting each other as a proof of the thesis.  So my advice to you is this: the next time you come across an article suggesting that the US is about to nuke Russia (or some variation thereof), see if the author offers a plausible scenario of how this could be done.  This scenario should not just mention some vague "Star Wars" like "secret" technologies (like nukes in space) but mention existing, tested and deployed systems.

There are enough real reasons to be discouraged, disgusted, worried and outright despondent about the world we live in and there really is no need to add a completely artificial nuclear scare to this.

My 2cts.

The Saker