The new Cold War appears to be ramping up. Building on the narrative that Russia faces an “existential threat”, senior diplomats are warning that the impeding US withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty will cause an upset in world stability. According to Fox News,

Ryabkov warned that if the U.S. stations the currently banned missiles in Europe, Russia will have to mount an “efficient response,” adding that “no one will benefit from those developments.”

U2 overlay of Cuban missile sites in 1962.

That “efficient response” is an official display of those very weapons that violated the conditions of the treaty, the Novator 9m729, in several strategic locations but most notably in Cuba. Just seven days ago the intent was telegraphed in an interview with a retired Russian General.  As that previous post noted, Russia has substantially more support in the region than they had in the previous Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, not to mention a number of potential domestic social flashpoints to be exploited. The buildup of the military base outside Havana over the past decade, of which the Lourdes Russian Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) Station is located, is concerning and indicates at least to me that something bigger is planned. Both Russia and China would not have sunk the level of investment in the region were they not looking to eliminate US interests.

According to Radio Free Europe,

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said he did not believe there would be new deployments of U.S. missiles in Europe, while U.S. national-security adviser John Bolton said Washington was a long way from taking decisions about deploying such missiles.

If the US withdraws from the treaty, and it has every justification since 2014 to do so, then those sites will indeed go active. There’s not much Stoltenberg or any other bureaucrat will say about it.

Ryabkov said the United States would be able to deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe “within years,” something he said would fuel a dangerous arms race.

“In the event of such a deployment the Americans would gain significant extra capabilities, allowing them to strike at targets deep inside Russia,” he added.

All signs are pointing to a continued escalation. With mounting pressures and domestic discord at home coupled with the long term maneuvering of both Russia and China against the United States, the time to be preparing has never been more imperative than now. You need good equipment, you need a good community, and most of all, you need good training.

 

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