For Decades, the United States and Russia Stepped Back From the Brink. Until Now.

Will there be a dangerous new era of unchecked nuclear weapons development?

Comments: 171

  1. The NYT editorial staff lives in a fantasy world. Putin and his cronies have one mission in mind; Surpass the United States in nuclear weapons development and delivery systems. Also, be able to strategically challenge the U.S. on the battle field with superior conventional weapons or at least non-nuclear advanced hypersonic weapons and other technology. China seeks the same advantage and may already be able to check our carrier battle groups. Iran and North Korea also seek the ability to win or counter American forces with nuclear or advanced non-nuclear weapons. Mr. Trump is not the threat. Nor is his threat to leave the treaty a misguided strategy. It may well be a warning shot across the bow to Putin. And the rest of the world terrorist nations as well. Russia will not stand down through words alone. If unchallenged without real backup there are no words of reason that will convince Putin that the U.S. is serious about maintaining real deterrence. Does anyone seriously believe that words will compel any action by Russia? Economic sanctions will not work either. The communist party of Russia.will demand and receive the sacrifice of the people who believe the U.S. is unfairly imposing economic hardship. No one in their right mind wants an arms race. No one in America seriously wants America under the threat of Russian or Chinese military supremacy and perhaps even collaborating to nullify American power. Pax Americana is the only real security against nuclear war.

  2. @Jay -- "Putin and his cronies have one mission in mind" Their tiny economy can't do it. They can't do it even if we don't spend trillions on this preposterous expansion of our own. Russia baiting of the Cold War has merged with Russia baiting of the excuse for Hillary variety. Both were and are nonsense, to avoid admitting truths closer to home.

  3. @Mark Thomason - from Wikipedia: Global Military Spending = $1,739 Billion US Military Spending = $712 Billion Russian Military Spending = $66.3 Billion Our direct MIC spending is 11 times more than Russia, representing 41% of total global spending. We spend as much as the next 13 nations combined and 11 of those are our military pals (however, Spanky's not yet done insulting them, so who knows?). We spend $25 Billion/yr maintaining our nukes - nearly 40% of Russia's total military budget. Of course, our $712 Billion is just direct costs. Including indirect costs, US military spending is in the $1.3 Trillion/yr range - about 1/3 of our total budget.

  4. Humans seem to have a built-in suicide gene. Whether it is the environment or nuclear weapons, we are determined to make our planet unlivable for humans. I am glad I will have no descendants to suffer through the coming time when life becomes impossible for us.

  5. Yes there are big winners in the new arms race. They are all the huge military corporations; the thousands of ancillary companies that support them, the share holders and the workers. How about a couple of new aircraft carriers, new missles, submarines, next generational aircraft, electronics, surface ships, tanks, and on and on. Sadly, our and the other countries which are the de facto "enemies" are really our biggest economic partners. We cooperate to make Cold Wars happen to keep our hyped up technological, steroid-like nonsense going at the great expense of and to Humanity.

  6. "If Mr. Trump continues to push for an expanded nuclear arsenal sand abandons the strategic arms accord, Congress should freeze the nuclear modernization budget and block funding for new weapons." And if Russia moves ahead with development and deployment of its own advanced weapons systems while American weapons, delivery systems as well as anti-missile development is halted then what? How much risk and exposure should the 311 million Americans be subjected to? Should America stand strong or defenseless against powers that would, if the opportunity arose, actually use their weapons? Remember how Franklin Roosevelt had to prepare American industry for World War II as the great majority of Americans, fed up with war in Europe, believed that disarmament and pacifism was a rational choice? America and its allies suffered heavy losses as our Industry and our technology took 2 years to achieve industrial supremacy. Our ships didn't even have radar. American tanks were inferior to everything on the battlefield. Men drilled with wooden rifles because there wasn't enough production. If the Russians, Chinese or North Koreans and Iran achieve any strategic advantage how much lead time will we have to nullify or defeat it? How many millions will die in America as we regret failing to build and maintain our nuclear and other strategic deterrents? If there must be an arms race then America must be the winner. Unchecked nuclear development by our opponents is American suicide.

  7. @Jay Reality check Jay. Our nuclear weapons and their delivery systems can wipe out the planet ten times over. So relax, take a deep breath and get a hold of yourself. Russia's military budget is $69 billion per year. China $228 billion. Ours? Try $700 billion. You are falling for the oldest trick in the book by the military-industrial complex: Scare the living bejeezus out of them and they will listen to anything.

  8. Dear Editors, Thank you for this thoughtful piece about a new "nuclear arms race". No matter what Mr. Trump might do, Congress should not only freeze the nuclear modernization budget and block funding for new weapons, it should seek to reduce the overall tax burden that supports our outsized military/"defense" presence around the world. In a country which can't afford to adequately fund public schools, can't help its neediest citizens, where we have the worst income inequality of any "wealthy" nation, where our infrastructure is crumbling, we continue down this path at our peril.

  9. @Ellen - No hope for sanity from Congress. Congress Critters - (D) or (R) - never met MIC spending they didn't like and MIC budgets are overwhelmingly approved. Congress is officially and blatantly a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Bigs, including the Big MIC, thanks to John (R)oberts anti-democratic Citizens United ruling.

  10. @Miss Anne Thrope Eight Democratic senators voted against last year's military/"defense" budget increase, including Senators Sanders, Warren, Markey, and Merkley. And fewer than forty Congressmen/women.

  11. The era of arms race between only Russia and the USA is over. Don't lose sight of China and North Korea. Until the Korean peninsula is denuclearized, a 4 way arms race is real and while the 3 major nuclear powers have enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world 10 times over the country that can defend itself against a nuclear attack has an advantage because it makes their nuclear weapons obsolete. ?Yes there is no winner in an unforeseen and foolish nuclear attack but the current equilibrium that has been established for almost 75 years since the only nuclear attack on our planet by the USA on Hiroshima and Nagasaki cities of Japan exists because of the nuclear arms race. The USA is not the only major nuclear power anymore and if any country tries a dangerous attempt to nuke another country then it will be self destructive as it should be. There is therefore no choice unless there is a trust worthy verifiable peace treaty among all the nuclear nation that they will never ever be the first to use a nuclear weapon no matter what. Peaceful nuclear non proliferation has its price and being complacent is not it. There is US leader post world war II who has developed result orientated working relations with other nuclear countries than the Trump administration and one can only hope that he can ensure peaceful use of nuclear/atomic energy in the world forever.

  12. @Girish Kotwal -- The China race is dominated by the India Pakistani race, and the Pakistani behavior driven by India is also a part of a wider pattern involving Israel vs the Islamic bomb that in reality is owned as much by the Saudis who paid for it as by Pakistan that did it. It is all interconnected. China-India complicates India's position in India-Pakistan, while Pakistan's fear of India is further complicated by the Israel-Islamic bomb position and funding. If China fears North Korea, it also fears Japan sitting on the edge of nuclear capability, and it certainly fears Russia with which fought on China's current border repeatedly in 1932-39 many times (two very big ones) and 1969 (twice in 7 months).

  13. Since the US has totally mischaracterized the illegal right wing nationalist Ukrainian coup in 2014 the danger of nuclear war has been raised. Ukrainian nationalists after the coup bragged that the Russians in Ukraine were going to be treated like 2nd class citizens. Putin annexed Crimea, an area of great national security importance to Russia that is largely populated by Russians. Now the neo cons have what they think as a provocation to escalate the Ukrainian v. Russian violence. The nuclear tensions are directly related to the break down by the US of any meaningful contact with Russia. Pelosi and Schumer have already called it treason to meet with Russians. Rachel Maddow has charged that the Russians could turn off the electricity in the US during the polar vortex. The anti Russia hysteria in this country could have dire consequences.

  14. @c harris -- "Since the US has totally mischaracterized" almost all of the revolutions and counter-revolutions we've seen. It is all seen through the kaleidoscope lenses of US security hawks. That applies to most of the color revolutions, the Arab Spring, the autocratic backlashes, and the overthrow of autocracy that we'd help impose in so many places as part of keeping them away from the Soviets at any cost.

  15. @Mark Thomason - Agree completely, however let's call them what they are - "war" hawks, not "security" hawks. While we're at it, let's change the name of the DOD back to Department of War.

  16. The Trump plan is to synchronize taking the country to war at the same time the Mueller indictments are breaking so as to distract everyone from all his violations of federal laws. This is just part of the setup.

  17. @Kip Leitner It could also be that Putin calculates that a new nuclear arms race will bankrupt the USA, just as it did the Soviet Union. The one strategy doesn't preclude the other.

  18. I was happy that neither my child nor my grandchild grew up in a world where they were taught the flimsy defense of hiding under one's school desk to survive nuclear war as my generation was.The president's attempts to turn back the social clock to his childhood apparently extends to this issue as well.

  19. @runaway My cohorts hid under the desks as well. We knew the futility and took it as a side lesson in absurdity. We knew about M.A.D. We also learned about the space programs , Mercury, Gemini, and finally Apollo, which took us to the moon. It was only a public grammar school education, yet a good one. Quality education can be of critical importance in a time of existential risk.

  20. American leadership in the past 74 years has been successful in preventing nuclear war. When at high risk with the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy ensured his aides read that year's Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Guns of August" as a history lesson to avoid stumbling into a widespread armed conflict, which happened with World War I. Recent production of "low-yield nuclear weapons" could unleash wider use causing unimaginable loss of life and devastation to our planet. The 2 countries that possess 90% of nuclear weapons should talk, just as the same Americans and Russians did in 1962.

  21. @Jeffrey Freedman If Trump had been president during the Cuban Missile Crisis, none of us would be here today. But Trump IS president how. I hope we survive the next 23 months.

  22. Either Mr. Trump doesn’t understand the bleak outcome of a nuclear exchange or he does and thinks it gives him winning leverage. This move is the type of diversion he has used all along. Since he can’t raise the stakes from here he is threatening the end of humanity to avoid possible prosecution. He is not mentally fit to continue and must be removed from office, now I believe the Constitution demands it.

  23. The INF Treaty, the ABM Treaty, and the original START (1991) were all conceived within a strategic conventional environment that exhibited a definite semblance of balance. With the expansion of NATO into the territories of the old Warsaw Pact, the appearance of this balance was lost. Hence, Russia has had to rely on an increasing theater-nuclear posture to override its weakened position. This situation was exacerbated by Western manipulation of events in Georgia (2008) and the Ukraine (2014). Only a new security architecture for all of Europe -- from the Irish Sea to the Urals -- can ameliorate the very dangerous situation of conventional-nuclear miscalculation, increasing and modernized strategic warheads, and defensive weapon systems, which are inherently destabilizing. There is also the very real possibility that because of this new nuclear arms scenario, more and more countries outside of Europe will choose the nuclear option. This is especially true when there is a superpower strategic vacuum and the regional balance of forces appears to shift in an alternative direction. The Middle East is a prime example. The Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) is already in deep trouble. The debacle of the INF has only made its shaky existence worse.

  24. @Chaim Shalom Another tiring retread of poor Russia’s abuse at the hands of the ugly Americans. I’m no hawk but the Russia panderers play a one note samba, and play from the same playbook, very much like our Republican friends here do.

  25. The 'winner' in a new arms race is Trumjp. He scores big campaign donations from the super-wealthy arms manufacturing lobby. Which is also the reason there won't be enough Congressional votes to ban spending on new arms. It's long past time to connect the dots and take lobby money completely out of government. If we wait on this we may end up having to learn our lesson from an actual nuclear war.

  26. George Bush began withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in December 2001 and from there the United States has continually increased military pressures with Russia expressly in focus. I consider the actions of Bush to have been self-defeatingly foolish and we are being so now, but just as Bush was being pushed by the likes of Cheney so too Trump is being pushed by the wild advisers about him. Yes, this is a worrisome matter indeed.

  27. @Nancy -- Yes. But the aggressive targeting of Russia started before that. It also characterized the Clinton Admin, and not because Bill was a hawk so much as because he was unable or unwilling to control the hawks who ran things since WW2.

  28. @Mark Thomason "But the aggressive targeting of Russia started before that. It also characterized the Clinton Admin..." An important comment indeed. I am grateful

  29. @Nancy https://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/13/opinion/tearing-up-the-abm-treaty.html December 13, 2001 Tearing Up the ABM Treaty With his decision to junk the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty, President Bush is rolling the diplomatic dice. If he is lucky, the Russians will live with the decision and relations with Moscow will continue to improve while Washington freely experiments with new missile defense systems. If he is not, Mr. Bush may alienate the Kremlin and give rise to a dangerous new arms race with Russia and possibly China as well....

  30. Don’t be naive. Of course there are winners in an arms race, and they’re on both sides. The conservatives who push belligerence over diplomacy win. Militaries on both sides win. Arms makers and their employees and dealers win. Politicians who receive large donations and support from conservatives, employees, arms makers, dealers and militaries win. For all of them it’s a Win/Win. Just not for the rest of us.

  31. One time in school, after the alarm bell of a nuclear drill, we got under our little desks. The teacher had a look on his face as if this was a ridiculous joke. Years later, I learned that this wouldn't have protected us from nuclear radiation. It might be in the interest of almost all people to avoid nuclear war, or any type of war, but it can be in the interests of the rulers to engage in wars, and as Hiroshima and Nagasaki suggest, even nuclear war. To fight nuclear wars, the rulers have had bunkers built for them. Shouldn't we all have the same chance to get in these bunkers? While the D of I might have us believe that everyone is equal, I agree with George Carlin's take on this. The cost of wars' destruction, including nuclear wars, and the war weapons and programs, and the danger we are constantly living under, are costs the rulers impose on humanity.

  32. "If Mr. Trump continues to push for an expanded nuclear arsenal and abandons the strategic arms accord, Congress should freeze the nuclear modernization budget and block funding for new weapons." That may well be the correct and logical decision. It will also be a great 2020 Republican campaign ploy: looks who's now supporting the Russians? No danger that the Russians will freeze whatever budget they have or plan to have for this.

  33. Trump won't pass up any opportunity to line the pockets of his big business defence contractors. We don't need any increase in our nuclear arsenal. In fact, the kinds of weapons that Trump wants us to build are already obsolete. The article briefly mentions hypersonic weapons. These are the future and other nations are well underway in developing them. These missiles fly so fast and with such maneuverability, that they are essentially indefensible. There are also hypersonic projectile weapons in the works. These would make our aircraft carriers sitting ducks. The world is changing and the types of weapons that we used to have a monopoly in are becoming more commonplace. As technology spreads around the globe, many nations will have the ability to develop these new weapons. Aircraft carrier vulnerability is a serious threat as these platforms are our primary method of projecting force. The solutions is for nations to get along. We can no longer be the one big dog in the yard, especially, if hypersonic weapons can punch holes in our carriers at will. Instead, we should we should be pursuing trade and cultural exchange. We should be trying to knit the world together instead of building walls and dividing up the globe into little bilateral pieces. Unfortunately, international cooperation doesn't poll well these days. America first is America alone and isolated. That is never a good defence strategy.

  34. @Bruce Rozenblit-Thank you. A third rail of weaponry is cybersecurity penetration and manipulation--as seen in our voting system vulnerabilities. This is a cheaper way to mitigate threats and one that the Chinese are pursuing. Yet as diplomacy and cooperation show much yet untapped potential to reduce the arms race and associated threats--makes more sense to invest money and resources there. Especially as all countries face a common enemy: environmental degradation and climate change.

  35. @Bruce Rozenblit - It's not just Spanky. Congress Critters always overwhelmingly vote to approve our War Budgets.

  36. As some of us fear, the unraveling of the I.N.F. has open the door to the undoing of the other nuclear treaties. This is one of the most ominous developments in world affairs as if we did not have enough with global warming, environmental degradation, overpopulation, and others. The problem is more serious now because there other players in the game, in particular, China which should be part of any future agreements. We need to build a worldwide grass root movement to stop nuclear developments now.

  37. By the end of the year, Washington may be ready to field a low-yield nuclear weapon that could make it easier to use nuclear weapons without courting Armageddon.... [ This is a chillingly absurd passage. Be assured that use of nuclear weapons whether high- or low-yield would be answered in ways too terrifying for a rational person to consider. The point is never ever to use nuclear weapons and work every single day for reducing the stores of such weapons. ]

  38. @Nancy -- Anyway, we've already got nuclear weapons whose yield can be dialed down quite low. The first ones were nuclear depth charges, back at the beginning, when it was discovered that dropping them on an enemy submarine could have some nasty practical problems. For entirely low yield weapons, we had our backpack nukes and the Davy Crockett nuclear recoilless rifle with a yield of 10-20 tons, not kilotons but just tons. That too was in the 1950's and was deployed but then withdrawn. None of this is new, or even hard to do. It is just a really bad idea, which is why we stopped doing it.

  39. Until we have a president that is not working for the interests of the Kremlin, we will continue making strategic errors, in Putin’s favor. The longer Trump remains in office the more irreversible these “ mistakes” become. As in real estate law, time is of the essence.

  40. "If Mr. Trump continues to push for an expanded nuclear arsenal and abandons the strategic arms accord, Congress should freeze the nuclear modernization budget and block funding for new weapons." Amen to that. As if the world didn't have enough problems, it now has two reckless, aggressive, and impatient post-WWII enemies hell bent on destroying treaties and threatening a new arms race Both men are huge risk takers because they really don't care about their people. Both are also financially corrupt, never missing a chance to line their pockets when it comes to their friends and cronies, including defense manufacturers. It's shocking to read of dollar amounts of $494 billion to be spent on "modernizing" our nukes, a number that's probably a bare-bones estimate given how fast defense contracts can skyrocket. As old leaders die, new ones seem eager to repeat the same stupidities. Trump and Putin--belligerent and trigger-happy-- what could go wrong?

  41. I would like to recommend a book on the subject of nuclear treaties. My Journey At The Nuclear Brink by William Perry should be required reading for anyone in government or outside who wishes to be informed about the history of ou arms treaties. The proliferation of these weapons is the greatest threat to our species,

  42. @Slow fuse Another highly recommended book, which gives a detailed history of the nuclear arms race from Hiroshima through Star Wars, from a number of perspectives, is "By the Bomb's Early Light" by eminent historian Paul Boyer. In the Foreward, he eloquently describes how he felt as a college student during the Cuban Missile Crisis, watching the classroom clock creep towards the 'zero hour', and wondering if there would be any hours after that . . . His book is affordably available through used book services. Those of us who were young at that time have memories that we should be sharing with the wider world, does anybody have a good idea for a hashtag ?

  43. A new arms race would be very expensive. Large expenditures of funds will be transferred from taxpayer to government workers. The opportunity for mischief is endless. It's not a straightforward nuclear arms race I worry about. It's the grifting, two sets of books, arms race that can make two soulless men richer then one of them is. The graft, the bribes, the vigs. The sheer boldness of this scheme means Trump's done. Putin's in charge. He runs the show. He walks into the room and Trump melts. The oligarchs win and, unfortunately for us, Trump is one of those oligarchs.

  44. My cohorts hid under the desks at school. We knew the futility and took it as a side lesson in absurdity. We knew about M.A.D. We also learned about the space programs , Mercury, Gemini, and finally Apollo, which took us to the moon. It was only a public grammar school education, yet a good one. A quality education can be of critical importance in a time of pressing existential risk.

  45. If keeping nuclear weapons enough to destroy other countries a few times is not a crazy strategy I have an alternative proposal to the US and Russia, which is much cheaper and harmless (to to other countries) and which was proven to work in the history of Japan. Hostage exchanges! Spouses, children, and even parents of the presidents, aides, cabinet members, and congressional leaders are mutually required to reside in the capital of the enemy country, half of the year. Usually those hostages were treated very well, maybe even spoiled.

  46. @Aki -- That has been tried in our more distant past. It didn't work. The sort of monsters who lead nations into wars killing vast numbers of people will also risk the lives few hostages.

  47. During the Cuban missile crisis the US and the Soviet Union came to the brink of a nuclear war. In its aftermath both sides decided to develop a series of protocols to prevent misconceptions about each other's intentions from escalating into a nuclear exchange. In this new era of tension between Russia and the US none of those safeguards are in place. The United States is in a vastly superior military position with respect to Russian than we were with the Soviet Union. But this superiority has led to arrogance. We moved the NATO alliance to Russia's doorstep. The US also unilaterally abrogated the ABM treaty and the agreement that limited medium range misses. Russia has pushed back by annexing the Crimea and supporting rebels in the Don Boss region of the Ukraine. If this escalation continues we may easily face a military exchange or an accident on either side that could lead to a catastrophe. We have been in such a dominant position for so long that we act as if Russia's interests simply don't count. On the other hand Russia is no longer a world power, but neither are they a minor nation that can be ignored and some of these actions are simply a reminder of that. This combination of US dominance and Russian weakness is a dangerous situation for both countries. The only way forward for both nations is through diplomacy. Let's hope that hope that happens very soon before we step back into a very dangerous past.

  48. “We moved NATO to Russia’s doorstep”. Did it ever occur to you that the countries who entered NATO actually desperately wanted to be in ? Or you think that only what Russia and the US want matters ? How did Russia suffer when NATO moved to its doorstep ? Did they have to be worried that the perfidious Baltic States planning to use American back-up to invade Russia ?

  49. @Gimme A. Break -- Did it ever occur to you that this is not about what those little countries wanted? It is about what is good for keeping the peace, for us. It is avoiding nuclear brinkmanship like the Cuban Missile Crisis. Remember that Cuba wanted those Russian missiles, and that was not reason enough to do it.

  50. Agreed

  51. It’s very tempting to blame Trump, as the unfit president that he is, for the break-down of arm treaties and likely arms race to follow. Just remember that arms-reduction treaties like the INF are agreed upon, signed and if need be, renegotiated by countries who genuinely want to reduce rivalries and nuclear risks; that was the case of the USSR and USA in the late ‘80s. Putin’s Russia is exactly the opposite - a regime that organically needs enemies and confrontation to stay afloat. Let’s be realistic and keep internal ideological quarrels out of US international politics. Stop viewing Russia and international treaties whichever way it’s convenient to score political points.

  52. @Gimme A. Break -- "a regime that organically needs enemies and confrontation to stay afloat" That is too near a description of our own military security state, and DC's ideas of our world position.

  53. It is just dangerous for the world that nuclear powers compete for the development of modern nuclear weapons and missiles. It is the duty for the US, Russia, China and the other nuclear powers to reduce the number of nuclear weapons. Other countries, which mange to go without nuclear weapons, have always felt pressure of nuclear powers. If nuclear powers think they can dominate neighboring countries, it will lead to the spread of nuclear weapons to other contries. Hurry and abolish nuclear weapons before they destroy the earth.

  54. There is a winner in the arms race. The defense industry continues to absorb the largest share of the budget to our peril. Our short sighted military planning denies American children educational opportunities and denies the entire population necessary medical care. This short sighted spending for war material is the downfall of our modern American militaristic planning!

  55. We are rapidly moving towards a democratic nuclear world. A world in which every country will have easy access to nuclear weapons. It's the only logical outcome. And it's the only guarantee that a country wouldn't be overrun by a nuclear power in the near future.

  56. That certainly worked with guns! Same result with nukes only faster destruction.

  57. No actually there is a supreme winner: Planet Earth. The sooner we eradicate ourselves, the better. Sure, it'll cause some temporary environmental destruction, but the planet has millions of years to recover from this blight. All traces of the cancer that is the human species will be virtually eradicated within a hundred years, at most. No-one and nothing will miss it, anywhere in the universe. So, bring on the nukes! Faster! More, more, more! We need to make sure we really do the job right, for once.

  58. @Steven No doubt Steven, reference Robinson Jeffers,my favorite poets works.

  59. @Steven How emo and dramatic. But the earth is just a ball of mostly iron, oxygeon, magnesium, and silicon. It doesn’t win or lose or care.

  60. This is nonsense that will accomplish little except line the pockets of defense contractors. First, attacks from foreign powers are likely to take the form of cyber-attacks, or disinformation campaigns as we’ve seen with Russia’s election interference. These sorts of attacks are cheap, hard to attribute, and have minimal risk of escalation. They are ideal of damaging a open society like the United States. Second, If there is a nuclear confrontation between superpowers, some technological differences is unlikely going to change the near-guaranteed outcome of mutual assured destruction. With a few thousand warheads flying, being off-target by an extra 5 miles is not going to matter. Plus, the weapons will be long-ranged ICBMs and sumarine-launched SLBMs, not the IRBMs of the treaty. If you are a major shareholder at Raytheon or some similar company. Congratulations, your portfolio will probably do quite well in years to come. If you are an average American taxpayer, too bad. You’re about to waste a bunch of money making rich people even richer.

  61. The real villain here is John Bolton. There is not one arms control treaty that he doesn't want to tear up. In a crisis situation he will be the first to call for a first strike. As long as he has Trump's ear the world is in great peril. I urge the Times and other journalists to expose the dangerous extremism of National Security Advisor John Bolton.

  62. For several thousand years, people deliberately fought wars. Why not break away from that pattern and strive for a peaceful permanent solution? We gave War a chance – for several thousand years – and it continues to fail us. Why not give Peace a chance – for the next several thousand years? If we say we care for our future, then let's act like we really do. We must stop supporting killings that are as old as history itself. In the name of defense and national security, military is really about killing. To kill for our own survival. Ultimately as a person of conscience, what good is a life of unbearable guilt – of tolerating killings? Can you truly and honestly persuade your loved ones that it’s fine for the innocent people to cry in pain and die - in exchange for our own survival - as long as they don’t happen right in front of our own eyes? Especially when our country praises our soldiers as a hero, but isn't serious at all about taking care of them after their services are done. Actions speak louder than the words. True heroes are those who use nonviolence to change the world - like MLK. Until the military takes the vow of nonviolence, resist the flattery of a hero talk.

  63. @BLOG joekimgroup.com Offensive violence will not stop until it is met with defensive violence.

  64. EXACTLY!!!! Thanks for this intelligent, reasonable review and reminder! PEACE is Vital!

  65. Both the US and Russia are dominated by oligarchs whose power and wealth lie in the development and production of military weapons and oil. Therein lies the problem that seemingly defies solution.

  66. Only yesterday, Kay Bailey Hutchison, our ambassador to NATO, blamed the Russians for the potential demise of the INF treaty, while acknowledging that in the past the Russians have advocated for a global INF treaty. A universal INF treaty, if not a total pipe dream, would appear to be a most worthy goal. It would protect Russia from nearby enemies and potential enemies, its public explanation for conduct regarded as having violated the treaty. It would protect the entire Middle East, including Israel, from nuclear attack. It would put an end to the threat of nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan. And it would do what its main purpose was at the outset: protect our NATO allies from nuclear blackmail by Russia. Which raises a question: since the INF treaty in its present form applies only to land based weapons, and doesn't apply to weapons deployed on surface ships or nuclear armed submarines, is the U.S. playing into Russian hands by terminating the treaty, thus making our NATO allies dependent on a U.S. nuclear umbrella at a time when Trump's rhetoric and policies have made the U.S. appear much less reliable as an ally, possibly, if not probably, much less inclined to risk an intercontinental nuclear war in defense of our allies threatened by intermediate range missiles?

  67. Wait a minute. We know that global warming will turn the planet into an unliveable environment. We KNOW that there will be mass migration and wars as a side effect. People will starve by the millions, coastal cities will be flooded. This is fact and is the direct result too many people living carbon emitting lives. Now we also can expect that the climate change driven wars will involve nuclear weapons. We also know that a thermonuclear war will produce massive fires and so-called nuclear winter. No global warming. So come on folks, embrace the lesser horror for the good of ecosystem. Sarcasm aside, one way or another megadeath is coming. You cannot run from it, you cannot hide from it.

  68. We will need a nuclear deterrent for the foreseeable future. We can't trust Putin not to obliterate us if he could do so with impunity. Nor should the Russians trust the likes of John Bolton in a crisis if they don't have a counterstrike capability. Putin is playing a long game. He has little to fear if the US has more nuclear weapons. We can already obliterate Russia with ease. And we'd only go nuclear in response to a WMD attack or if we faced a major battlefield loss at their hands. But I seriously doubt Russia would provoke us into a standup fight with conventional weapons. Having elected and tolerated Trump already makes us an unreliable ally, even after he leaves. Short range and low yield nukes may lower the threshold for first use. They also increase the chances for use in response to a mistaken attack when mere minutes count. A nuclear arms race, particularly one that threatens collateral damage to US allies, will further destabilize our alliances. Rather than have a dangerous partner, countries may prefer leaving the US nuclear umbrella under entities such as NATO. They might choose to develop their own arsenals or come to a new accommodation with Russia. Russia can bring other tactics to bear. They can prop up right wing parties in response to expanded military budgets, threats of military conflict, and US 'provocations' and 'militarism.' Putin also gains at home by standing up to a dangerous foe who's out of control. No good will come from an arms race.

  69. The United States Government does not have enough money to provide for adequate education or socialized medicine or infrastructure repairs and all of a sudden it has enough money to destroy the world with more nuclear weapons. What has America become?

  70. @Robert Dole - What has America become? It has become more equal to other nations as they too have achieved the ability to do that which used to belong to the US alone, the use of nuclear weapons for blackmail. In this, the US has not changed at all. I strongly recommend you read Daniel Ellsberg’s most recent book if you want the facts.

  71. @Robert Dole belligerent?

  72. Over the past decades, the US has fought virtually all their wars abroad and which has posed no direct threat to the homeland. We have seen thousands of US bombs and missiles landing in cities across the globe, killing men, women and children. On the other hand, no enemy bomb or missile has landed in US cities to remind the elites that war isn't the best option. This pattern of fighting abroad has encouraged the doctrine which has metamorphosed into the US having well over 800 military bases across the world. Preserving treaties or even making new ones would mean nothing to the elites unless one country is smart enough to realize that they have to establish a military base close to the US and point their missiles towards the US as a reminder that the US homeland can also feel those bombs and missiles that have made children orphans all over the world, desicrated holy places, murdered men and women and stole away the natural resources of other nations who couldn't defend themselves. It is a hard ball to swallow but it is the only way to treat their megalomania and bring the US back to theae treaties and prevent or at least postpone the Armageddon that will someday come upon this planet.

  73. No. The US and Russia are not entering a dangerous new era against each other. Putin and Trump agreed on ending the INF not because Russia broke it, but Russia’s fear of China. The first country China will attack will not be the US, but Russia.

  74. The “Doomsday Clock” has now moved to two minutes to midnight i.e. the symbolic annihilation point for the planet and the closest it has been since since 1953, at the height of the Cold War. Due to the Trump administration’s denial of climate change and withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords and Trump’s tweets e.g. “fire and fury,” seemingly entertaining the idea that we could actually use nuclear weapons to resolve a conflict, the Atomic Scientists’ Security Board, which includes 14 Nobel Laureates, has advanced the clock twice since January 2117. Trump’s occult financial dealings with the Russians and his dependency on fossil fuel donors mean that he is unlikely to either contain Putin or acknowledge the accelerating peril of global warming and the warnings of distinguished scientists will never move him. We may not be able to remove Putin, only the Russian people can do that, but at least we can remove our own dangerous and mentally unstable tyrant. Go to- #RewindtheDoomsdayClock

  75. Next to Trump, US military leaders look like vegan pacifists but the reality is they're voracious carnivores -- whether Russian or American. Half of all unencumbered tax dollars and trillions in US debt sit in the petty cash box of "Defense". Defense dollars support the military and its mission but also a massive sector of the economy: weapons makers, suppliers, mercenaries, civilian personnel, logistics, energy. War or the threat of war keeps this sector striving, with $100 million contracts for air conditioning in Iraq and Afghanistan, black box projects with $1 billion accounts, tons of pharmaceuticals, veteran and military health, etc. Military spending is the exemplar of a socialist command and control economy. A sub-component of military spending is nuclear weapons production, maintenance, infrastructure delegated to the Department of Energy (yes, Rick Perry, the dullest awl in Trump's toolbox). With nuclear power stalled, only nuclear weapons generate demand for fissile material and only new weapons keeps them in business. Putin, like all dictators, needs to be on war footing to keep his grip on a long suffering population. Trump wants out and Putin wants out. So both US and Russian war machines can crank up for another round of producing stuff that kills more and kills precisely. Remember deterrence turns on a stand-off -- mutual assured destruction. The side with less has to launch first. Imbalance is doomsday. Stand-off is war industry bonanza.

  76. Of course there is a winner in any arms race: US Military Contractors, and, by extension, the Congressmen they own (give campaign contributions to) to make sure their contracts are ever increasing. C'mon. That's why there IS a new arms race.

  77. @Michael Yes, and this is why the U.S. can't afford national health insurance, something that every relatively civilized country has had for a long time.

  78. @Michael Yup, the 'Military Industrial Complex' that Ike warned us about - back in 1961.

  79. Trump equates leadership with toughness. Real leadership, on the other hand, is more complex and involves a commitment to integrity of important ideas and communication that will not give in, even when the other side appears to withdraw. Right now, we need real leadership and not the kind that Trump and Bolton exude.

  80. I remember some 40 plus years ago, when the increasing environmental destruction, and the spiraling nuclear arms race, made serious students of our future question how long the human race would last. The consensus conclusion among many was that though it was uncertain if it was too late to halt our own self created destruction, when we realize that's it's too late, it will have been too late for a long time. With unconscious extremely narcissistic world leaders like Trump and Putin at the pinnacle of controls of nuclear arms, it's hard not to be haunted by that forewarning from decades ago.

  81. Before we go wild with intermediate offensive weapons race we should try deploying our defensive weapon systems. Theatre High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) or even Upgraded Early Warning Radars (UEWR). Because these radars and related defensive missiles should mitigate a short range missile attach on Europe it may make Russia think twice about deploying missiles that could attack Europe. These radars will look well into Russia, they will complain about the fact that we are spying on them and we would be. This may help drive a treaty forward.

  82. To the question in the heading of your article, the answer is YES. And Mr. Trump, our own commander in chief, the same man who created a non existent "bone spur" to get out of service in the war against Vietnam, has now torn up our Nuclear Arms agreement with Russia in order to do WHAT? This man, who has never been to war except with his wives, has now possibly put the rest of the world in danger of a war which no rational person wants, but Donald seems to be less rational with every passing day. I'm an old man, almost 80, but I still have things I want to do. Watch my two daughters enjoy life, as I have been lucky enough to do. Be a grandpa for the first time (hopefully less than two months from now). And take my wonderful wife to Niagara Falls, which she has never seen. But Russia has more than 8000 Atomic bombs, and we have more than 7000. God Help our World.

  83. Of course there are winners--the military industrial complex, the lobbyists, and the politicians who take their blood money.

  84. Unfortunately, for Mr. Trump, the size of the nuclear arsenal, the power of weapons, and the range and speed of missiles are all marks of his own power, importance, and might. This is a man who bragged about the size of his body parts during the presidential campaign. In his mind, anytime that he has that is bigger than someone else's "Trump wins." That is his ultimate goal in life. Weapons and the military are for him merely tools for his self-aggrandizement. The question is whether anyone can or will restrain him.

  85. With a new craze for grater power projection on the part of the new crop of populist leaders there's nothing that stops them from triggering the race to mutiually assured destruction by breaking lose from the old arms control regime. Again, this provides a better chance to divert attention from the failures of governance as also to sustain the military-industrial compexes of their respective countries.

  86. This article surprisingly misses a key point. A primary problem with the current medium-range nuclear weapons treaty is that China is not a signatory. The U.S. is withdrawing not only to counter new Russian missiles in Europe, but more importantly, Chinese missiles in Asia.

  87. Not true. The US has no current need for intermediate range missies in Asia, because there is a) no foreseeable scenario in which they’d be used and b) no country that would accept them.

  88. @Yeah “b) no country that would accept them.” Correct, for now, but irrelevant. Intermediate range missiles deployed in Guam can reach nearly all of China’s population. No other basing is required, though it could be possible in the future. “a) no foreseeable scenario in which they’d be used” Perhaps. But this same argument can be made for virtually all nuclear weapons, and yet nobody is suggesting scrapping them. Moreover, these missiles can also be used with conventional warheads. I don’t know how plausible this is, but China has certainly mentioned this possibility with their new intermediate range missile. The administration has cited China as one part of its justification for exiting the treaty. This alone warrants a discussion of the issue, pro and con, in the article.

  89. @John. The US currently has the Tomahawk cruise missle in sea and air launched versions. Little or no conversion is needed to field a land based Tomahawk.

  90. Wasn't one of the reasons for the fall of the Soviet Union was their attempt to stay with the United States in an arms race at a cost they could not afford? They now threaten an ego driven US president with questionable, futuristic weapons he not only has to match them but surpass them with a greatly increased defense budget at a time when our budget issues are growing at unsustainable levels.

  91. Trump abrogates and withdraws from international treaties as his preferred way of confronting the world. A statesman on the other hand would seek a new INF treaty adopted by Russia, China and North Korea. But that requires careful and prudent negotiation: something apparently not in Trump's modus operandi. We need to restore negotiation and diplomacy and stop this unilateral confrontation which is making the world a very unsafe place for us all.

  92. @Harold r Berk What would stop the Russians from cheating on the new treaty? Maybe the same thing that stopped them from cheating on this one, nothing. Heck even the Obama admin said they were cheating, they just didn't do anything about it.

  93. Say what you want about Trump, but he sure is revealing serious gaping holes in the U.S. Constitution. The Democrats need to obtain supermajorities in congress to amend the constitution to make the dissolving of treaties a congressional concern - as opposed to leaving to the whims of an unstable leader.

  94. A nuclear arms race puts civilization and human life at risk. In an arms race time is not on our side, Nuclear weapons were used 74 years ago at Hiroshima and Nagasaki and have not been used since. With the passage of every year there are fewer and fewer human beings living who were alive 1945 and still fewer who lived through 1945 as adults. The human memory of the horror of nuclear weapons is distant and soon will be erased. Then world leaders, Trumps and Putins, will become fascinated with the destructive power of nuclear weapons and able to rationalize the horror of nuclear war.

  95. " . . . American and Soviet leaders stepped back from the brink and began a process of arms control diplomacy, accelerated by the fall of the Soviet Union, that shrank those arsenals by nearly 90 percent. For decades, that process and that diplomacy continued … until now." What?? I would never have voted for "Saint" Ronald Reagan in a million years, and have no regrets about that, but for The Times to glide over WHY the Soviet Union collapsed is disappointing. While there were a variety of factors that caused the collapse, one key factor was that the Soviet Union couldn't keep up, financially, with the Reagan "Star Wars" arms race. Putin is currently being kept from doing more damage around the world than might otherwise be the case because the price of oil is low around the world, and Russia's economy is dependent on oil revenues to keep itself afloat. Russia doesn't have the rubles to go tit-for-tat with the U.S. in the long run if the U.S. decides to dump big money into developing new nuclear weapons. Given all the nations that now have nuclear weapons capabilities besides the U.S. and Russia, the statement that the INRF treaty is "managing the threat" of nuclear war is simplistic or naive. That threat is contained only by the countervailing threat of Mutually Assured Destruction. No matter the treaty, the U.S. and Russia can annihilate the world 10 times over. Sadly, under Trump, our country has bigger worries than arms race with Russia.

  96. Regardless of no winner, this has to happen. We need to be further ahead of our enemies than where we are. The Obama era let China and Russia catch up much too much.

  97. Trump knows that Russia will bankrupt itself in an arms race. Russia simply cannot match the economy of western countries. Putin rules by fear. One day he will no longer rule.

  98. The destruction from a nuclear bomb explosion is far reaching and long lasting. Some of us remember the aftermath of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Now our killing missiles are much stronger and more virulent. If used, that would be the last war and one less planet in the universe.

  99. Of course there are winners: the Military-Congressional-Industrial complex. The GOP’s favorite constituency.

  100. @Rich Why single out the GOP? The Democratic Party is at least as enthusiastic about militarism. The new Cold War is pretty much their project.

  101. @Rich. We already have the Tomahawk cruise missle, which is a sea and air launched missile in this category, No great (or any) development needed to make these weapons into a land launched version.

  102. @Rich And also some of the favorite paymasters of the corporate Democratic party.

  103. Just look at the editorials in today's NYT. "Your Grandchildren Are Already In Debt". "No Winner in a New Arms Race". If only there were one about climate change, the despair-triad would be complete. Who can even want grandchildren considering the world that is greeting them?! My recent forays into local politics and activism have brought home the notion that good leadership is everything. We have poor leadership at every level and pretty much across the globe. Our leaders are self-serving narcissists who have sold us out to whatever local currency they (dys)function in. And we are just sheep being led to slaughter. But in the end, I blame us the people for our predicament. We do not take the time to educate ourselves, to organize, to demand sanity. The most capable among us stay out of politics, leaving a vacuum for the crazies to fill. And then we nurse our nightmares with substance abuse, little screens and other "needful" junk we buy on Amazon.

  104. While this is not directly on point, it is useful to remember how many times Trump told us what a great leader Putin is. Putin leads a society with a socialist economy, where the state owns or directs ownership of the means of production. Now Trump has a new campaign theme. The US will never become a socialist country. Well, how can Putin be such a great leader then? Trump's opponent must quickly knock him down with his praise for the great socialist leader.

  105. Dear James, The Russians went from a socialist economy to a capitalist economy in 1993 during President Yeltsin's tenure. In fact, under American guidance or insistence, depending on who you ask, Yeltsin completely destroyed the old soviet economy. The ruble value dropped to near zero, millions were thrown out of work and life expectancy dropped a full five years, a figure unheard of in modern industrial states. The result was the savaging of many state industries by what we now call the oligarchs. Under their new capitalist economy Russia has the third highest number of billionaires in the world, but a working class that lives at or near the poverty line. One can say many things about Putin, but make no mistake, he is definitely not a socialist.

  106. @Drspock I beg to differ. Putin is no Yeltsin. The oligarchs work for Putin. If they don't do what he wants he has them disappear or throws them in jail.

  107. All an arms race does is spend us and Russia into bankruptcy while increasing the potential for conflict. It's a "lose-lose" situation that both Putin and Trump ignore. What is needed is a broader I.N.F. treaty that includes other nuclear powers, especially China, India and Pakistan. We need nuclear peace not nuclear proliferation, and we need Congress to speak up.

  108. The discussion about who began with the new race is open. The Russians point to the US with its missile shield as the starting point. The article also fails to mention that the US is already upgrading its nuclear arms in Europe - replacing them with a more version with more accurate targeting.

  109. Sorry, I think some indirection is happening in Russia. The US and NATO are not enemies of Russia, but important to its security. Lavrov expressed concern about possible instability. Russia's great vulnerability is its vast riches in Siberia. So it develops weapons that point in that direction and pretends they point somewhere else. Why would that be surprising? "Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer."

  110. In Daniel Ellsberg's latest book he states that no matter which country, the U.S. or Russia, made the decision to launch first, the only hope for survival of any life on earth would be no retaliatory response and even then the probability of life surviving would be extremely low. Since WW II, the U.S. military plan for nuclear war was to initiate first strike and unleash our entire arsenal with nothing left in reserve from all sources (aircraft, submarines, land-based, ICBM’s from the U.S.). Moscow would be hit thirty times from all directions. Virtually all targets were cities having dense populations including China even if China played no part in the threat that led the U.S. military to launch. Nearly all of the eastern bloc countries would be hit by nuclear bombs dropped by our jets to clear a path for following jets to drop their nuclear ordinance on Russia. 300mm people would be killed in the first two hours and another 400mm would die within two weeks provided prevailing winds did not carry radiation over Western Europe. In that event, close to one billion people would be killed in total. Ten years later when climatology became more exact with modeling, the blasts would send so much smoke and debris from fires into the stratosphere, that it would circulate the earth for 10 years blocking all sunlight (nuclear winter) and destroying the entire food chain which would doom all remaining life to death by starvation.

  111. I wonder why we are discussing who is to blame in exiting out of INF treaty. Trump Administration has routinely dropped out of many agreements, promises, and the normal world order policies which our predecessors thought better and had joined them. President Trump has not made the world safer be it the US or the Mid-East, Africa, or the Southern Hemisphere. DT was bad enough but the addition of people like Bolton and Pompeo didn't help. Our unbridled support of countries like Saudi Arabia, Israel, and Egypt didn't help either. Once we are able to do our in-house cleaning of DT et al, we can concentrate on reducing our conventional Military Materiel, which certainly is not needed in the quantum we possess. The funds so saved could easily be used in more productive ways to retrain our work force which would be idled by the advent of AI. We will need many millions of new jobs in the next decade and for sure we do not need the nuclear weapons both the old and the new. There are no winners in any arms race as humanity gets the short end of the stick and the MIC sticks it to us. 2020 elections provides us an opportunity to either live in fear or get rid of the war hawks from the Congress and the White House and lead the world towards peaceful co-existence.

  112. Living in a Berlin surrounded by Soviet tanks and missiles during the height of the Cold War with the U.S., it was a given that everyday we might either be invaded or incinerated if it ever came down to a nuclear conflict between these two nations -- that's why it came as a great relief when the initial INF Treaty was signed, and a few years later the Wall came down. The terror of living behind the so-called "Iron Curtain" with the knowledge that everyday could be the last was something we all had learned to live with, which is why every friendly gesture between the U.S. and the then-U.S.S.R. was seen as a step toward hope, if not peace. Until now. With old enmities revived and provocations from both sides on display, the world finds itself once again on the tipping point of nuclear conflict. However this time it doesn't only involve Russia and America; but China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and possibly Iran, as well. With the race toward ever stronger and even more weapons, and the lack of a binding treaty to hold it all in check, we find ourselves again on the brink of a situation that will ultimately yield no winners. And even fewer survivors.

  113. No part of science can be kept as a classified secret forever. That behind nuclear weapons development is now over 75 years old, and more countries and terrorist organizations will have the capability as the decades pass. Mankind must learn to live without unneeded aggression or the eventual use of nuclear weapons is inevitable. The world’s current nationalist thrust, however, does not provide great hope for a peaceful outcome.

  114. When one considers the number of voters who believed that electing Trump would keep Neo-con Hillary from getting the country into even more military adventures, it is truly outrageous that we have the maniac John Bolton in the White House, our embassy in Jerusalem and thousands of soldiers lingering throughout the Muslim world while others wait in the wings for a new assault on Latin America. In effect, Trump has breathed new life into a Neo-con movement that had everywhere painted itself into any available corner. What we now seem to be living through is a newly energized campaign to achieve true military, political and economic hegemony. (With, of course, the darkly comic proposition that Putin and the Russians have been pulling the strings, just to keep us distracted and entertained.)

  115. Unfortunately, our president does not have the historical knowledge or enough self doubt (he has none, in fact) to realize that we need treaties to have a semblance or order in the world of nuclear weapons. We need a president who can effectively use the inputs from our allies and intelligence organization to create a web of effective treaties with our potential enemies. Only then can we monitor compliance.

  116. I hope Mr. Rattner is reading this editorial. In his own op-ed, Rattner bemoans the fact that the nation can't possibly afford to provide healthcare and education and green jobs to a country that is already so deeply in debt. And yet here we learn that Obama spent billions to upgrade the nuclear arsenal and now Trump is threatening to spend billions more. Isn't it time the nation got its priorities straight? Do we really need more weapons and tax cuts or could we, perhaps, afford to spend a little more on the health and well being of our fellow Americans. The choice should be ours to make.

  117. One of my great fears in this age is: the steady loss of reaction time. No sane government would use modern nukes, which are vastly more powerful than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Global destruction would likely result. Now, with the development of maneuverable hypersonic missiles, reaction time will be further greatly reduced. On Sept. 26, 1983, the nuclear early-warning system of the Soviet Union reported the launch of multiple Minuteman ballistic missiles from bases in the US. These attack warnings were correctly identified as a false alarm by Stanislav Petrov, an officer of the Soviet Air Defense Forces. It was later shown their equipment had malfunctioned. What happens when the decision window is shrunk so small that cool heads no longer prevail? If the Soviets had retaliated to this perceived attack, my earthly presence, and millions of others, would have evaporated. And let’s not have interest in developing “low yield” options. What nonsense. If, say, Iran sent a “low yield” nuke our way, you can imagine what would return.

  118. @Fearless Fuzzy The loss of reaction time is an important consideration. It’s one of the reasons the internet and twitter are so vicious. Hindu mythology had the idea of the world going through cycles composed of four eras, each era going faster than the previous one. At the end of the fourth era when time went exceedingly fast, the world would be destroyed. When he saw the first atomic bomb go off, Robert Oppenheimer recalled to mind a vision of God as He ushered in the final era. God appears in a horrifying form and proclaims: I Am Death. Welcome to the fourth era.

  119. @Fearless Fuzzy The Spring 2018 season finale of the show "Madame Secretary" addresses this exact issue in chilling and extremely realistic detail. Everyone should watch it. There have been lots of 'near misses' and we have always been 'on the brink'. Which can easily lead to an "On the Beach" outcome. And that's not factoring in the possibility of a Tunguska-like (June 30th, 1908) explosion over a populated and / or militarily sensitive area. It would be the ultimate irony for our civilization to respond to a space rock impact with an all out missile exchange. This is absolutely possible. How many people know that the very well documented Chelyabinsk Event (February, 2013) occurred very close to the Shagol Air Base, a large military base which borders the city of Chelyabinsk ? What if the impactor had been bigger, and directly hit Shagol ?

  120. Obama let Putin walk all over him. What did you expect would happen. The Ukraine debacle was a disaster for Western interests.

  121. For the past two and a half years I have listened non stop from the pundits on MSNBC, CNN, the intelligence agencies, the Democratic Party and mostly Democrats in Congress say that Russia is our enemy. That they "attacked" us. That their meddling in our election was similar to Pearl Harbor (seriously, I'm not making that one up). That they attacked our power grid. That they might turn off our heat during a polar vortex - that was a good one Ms. Maddow. Why, they even have kompromat on our president which they are using to blackmail him and he is now their puppet doing their bidding. This garbage has been non-stop, but, hey, it is terrific for the ratings and it sells papers. So NOW is the time when they begin to rethink their Red Scare McCarthyism campaign? Well, it's a little too late. You got your Cold War people. Enjoy the next nuclear arms race.

  122. “Outspending Russia on a nuclear arms race…is a foolish game of chicken, with no possible winners.” Of course there are winners in the arms race - the people who own the companies that deal in war and weapons. Follow the money and you’ll find yet another example of the greed and corruption at the heart of this Trump/Republican regime. Money is behind all these schemes. Who is going to make money to build Trump’s wall? Who is making the money to build the detention centers at the border? Who is making the money in privatizing our schools and prisons? Reporters, please follow the money. Expose the corruption.

  123. That "reset" button was always H. R. Clinton's peter principle moment.

  124. I realize I’m preaching to the choir, but consider this: Not only is this an economic nightmare ($500 B just for the US to upgrade weapons that, by design, are never to be used) but it significantly increases the probability of someone, somewhere, making a huge blunder. Talk to anyone knowledgeable about the history of nuclear weapons and you’ll quickly realize how lucky we are to have made it this long—since 1945—without some major disaster, up to and including world annihilation: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nuclear_close_calls Among all the willfully reckless policies this administration is pursuing, this is right at the top of the list—at least as important as the other existential threat we face today, climate change. A good analogy is that our man-child of a president, who has sole rights to the nuclear codes, isn’t just playing with fire; he’s holding a hand grenade with the pin pulled. What’s a concise word for “frighteningly stupid?”

  125. I am afraid that there is a big winner: the military-industrial complex or "a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions," President Eisenhower, Farewell Address, January 17, 1961

  126. Donald J. Trump makes us LESS safe each and every day.

  127. Let's see Trump wants a border wall and all kinds of additional stuff along the border. He want increased infrastructure spending, he wants big increases in military spending and he wants new nuclear weapons and missiles; increases for help for our enemies - Russia, China & North Korea. Not only does Trump not read, he apparently doesn't do math. His list of wants exceeds our total budget by a couple of times. How does an illiterate, uneducated, habitual liar get elected president? Time to correct our mistake.

  128. Surprising that this article did not mention China once. Suggests it misses the bigger picture entirely.

  129. History has shown Russia hasn't the resources to match the US in a true arms race but they do have more than enough brains to figure out anything they can do to make Trump appear tough and patriotic compared to the Democrats could be just thing to get their puppet get reelected.

  130. We need arms control even more than we need gun control.

  131. Yes unchecked and dangerous The place we didn’t want to be w trump and knew we would be .

  132. It has always seemed to me beyond foolish that so many billions of dollars are spent to develop and deploy weapons whose use would ensure the annihilation of life on earth. What a sad testament to man's ignorance and folly that so much of our hard-won resources are sequestered into silos that, God-willing, will never, ever open. Think of all the rice and grain, all the roads and bridges, all the medicine, clothing, housing, etc., that could be afforded if we could stop the madness. Think of how we could shrink debt and deficit. Instead, for the most part, we shrug. This is real politic, we say. This is the way of the world.

  133. Putin wants The Baltic states and more of Ukraine. Putin doesn’t want war with the US. They just want more land, and access to bodies of water. The Russians are building tanks around the clock.

  134. A nuclear arms race, nuclear war by accident or design, and the extinction of the human species (which could benefit the ecological balance of the planet), are the inescapable results and inevitable consequences of the hysterical demonisation of other nations by those who believe that overwhelming American power can now seal America’s hegemony of the world in perpetuity by rejecting all multilateral institutions and laws that constrain it. Unrestrained hubris grinds the dust of history.

  135. "no possible winners."? If Vladimir Putin wins Donald Trump wins.The clear winner is Vladimir Putin and by association Donald Trump as well. Remember, this is always how the President is thinking. Not America First but Putin first.

  136. Everyone admits that it would be insane for both sides to launch their nuclear arsenals against the other. Few, however, see the insanity in placing ourselves in a position where MAD is not only possible, but probably inevitable. If we are to pull away from the ridiculous posture we've now assumed, there will need to be a paradigm shift in human thought around the world, and particularly in the United States and Russia. If not, we are doomed. In the near future, we will program the human mind in the computer based on a "survival" algorithm, which will provide irrefutable proof as to how we trick the mind with our ridiculous beliefs about what is supposed to survive - producing minds programmed de facto for destruction. These minds would see the survival of a belief as more important than the survival of all. When we understand all this, we will begin the long trek back to reason and sanity. See RevolutionOfReason.com

  137. Putin has been a malevolent force in the world since he killed his own people in the 1999 Apartment Bombings as a pretext to wage war against the Chechnya and ascend to power. He has become emboldened by stealing Russia’s wealth with impunity, spreading a campaign of lies to force Brexit, and ultimately place a Russian asset as US President. Despite their small, undeveloped economy on frozen tundra, Putin dreams of being a world power again, instead of a global pariah. They want to be prosperous China, but instead they are closer to allies Syria and Venezuela. The global powers of the world must understand the threat Putin presents to global stability, and neutralize that threat for the benefit of humanity.

  138. “Outspending Russia on a nuclear arms race, as Mr. Trump has bragged he would do, or abandoning an arms control regime that has helped forestall nuclear war for decades, is a foolish game of chicken, with no possible winners.” Nothing wrong with an arms race. We are much richer than Russia. Their economy has tanked because of Trumps’ sanctions and because he has unleashed the full potential of American oil production. We are now a net oil exporter and Trump has devastated oil prices and thus Russia’s economy.

  139. With our deficit approaching $1 trillion, this sounds like yet another frivolous way to increase our children's financial insecurity.

  140. The EB missed the point. Russia has already broken the treaty and if we don't keep up, we'll be toast (literally).

  141. Well, we shall see what comes of this by late summer. But what if all this symmetrical posturing is just that: posturing to mask the true nature of the relationship between Trump and Putin? What? Cynical? Me?

  142. Border wall shmorderwall. Trump’s regime continues to make this world a more dangerous place.

  143. So have the arms race, or don't have the arms race. It simply does not matter anymore. Nuclear exchange or no, the population explosion will make homo sapiens go extinct, along with a huge number of other species (already happening). Population: 7.7 billion, increasing 80 million annually (equivalent to the population of Germany). Planet has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn. https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/07/world/climate-change-new-ipcc-report-wxc/index.html

  144. Let's see how Trump's base feels about $500 billion of unpaid for nuclear junk when little Johnny and Julie come from school and tell the dinner table about their game of hiding under the desk. Does that spoil Mom's dinner in Iowa? And, about those tax refunds...

  145. Given the likely valid assumption that Putin and Trump are orchestrating this together, or more accurately, Putin and his puppet, what is the end-game? What is the goal? Does Putin really see the use of Nuclear Weapons as a path to his geopolitical goals? Or is he banking on other Countries caving to the threat of Nuclear War?

  146. Look on the bright side. The defense-related sector of our economy will flourish. With the warm relations between Trump and Putin, perhaps our countries can work together on new and impoved nuclear bombs. We'll return to (if we ever dropped) the doctrine of mutually assured destruction (MAD) that discourages actual use of these weapons. We can even adopt the policy of using these weapons against countries that facilitate illegal immigration to our country.

  147. Perhaps it's time for citizens of the world to step back from supporting nuclear military powers, these same countries are also doing little to stop fossil fuel support, and the destruction of the ozone protective layer. If the USA, Russia, Israel, China, France and India can't stop being major polluters, why should we expect them to stop making war - and we know, the next war may be with 100 or more nuclear bombs going off across the northern hemisphere. What are we waiting for, the end of the world...?

  148. The idea that someone can "come out ahead" in a nuclear arms race is what drives this agenda. The question is, why would anyone want to enter a race in which everyone dies at the end? Then again, the human race has never been that smart has it?

  149. I'm a bit surprised that some at the NYT, and DC for that matter, are falling for this. This is classic Russian sleight-of-hand to get the attention off of Ukraine and Crimea, and onto - what else? - nuke weapons! Has to be more frightening then some business, long ago, about who's borders are who's. Except the sanctions imposed on Russia are so great, they were willing to target the US elections - even while they were being watched and recorded - in order to seek relief from sanctions. So, while those serving Russian interests in the US would be seeking to diminish the significance of the Russian invasions in Ukraine, this recent effort on advance nuclear weaponry will change the focus of the Americans. For sure. Great job, Editorial Board, the Russians could not have done better!

  150. John Denver co-wrote and sang a song with his Russian counterpart called “What are we making weapons for”. John performed this incredible song right before his untimely death in Snowmas, Colorado at a Urantia Conference.What a powerful song. Youtu.be/4GllrEC_Eim If it doesn’t come up, just Google “What are we making weapons for” by John Denver. Hopefully this will be a reminder of where we were heading not too long ago.

  151. No, the planet would survive and would last longer with humans not on it, than on it, you just mean there aren't any human winners, but that's your fault for false framing.

  152. Just for later, here’s a thought: things such as “the world,” and “Nature,” have no inherent meaning, no existence as concepts without human perception and thinking. Whatever they might be in themselves, they don’t come complete with labels. Briefly out, if we end, what you call the world does indeed end. I also happen to think us apes have our good moments.

  153. Putin wanted the agreement to end, so Trump did his bidding. Simple as that.

  154. RE: "Are the United States and Russia entering a dangerous new era of unchecked nuclear weapons development?" Yes. (Easy question.)

  155. "Outspending Russia on a nuclear arms race, as Mr. Trump has bragged he would do, or abandoning an arms control regime that has helped forestall nuclear war for decades, is a foolish game of chicken, with no possible winners." Actually, there are at least two winners, and two losers. Losers first - Europeans who don't want these missiles in their backyard and American taxpayers who are going to be handed a stunningly large bill for their development and procurement. Winners - Defense contractors are about to make a killing (figuratively) with our hopes that we don't have to use them to literally make a killing, AND... Vladimir Putin. Putin wins because Trump has given him an unbelievable gift, a way out of a treaty Russia has been violating for years. Even better, he can take the high road, "since the US has abandoned the treaty, what else can I do?" As with so many other Trump decisions, Russia wins, the US loses. Is Trump a Russian asset? But, of course. The real question is whether he's being paid for his perfidious behavior or his picture is in the KGB operations manual under the topic useful idiots.

  156. The male of the species is totally inane and destructive throughout human history. Today we are led by a narcissistic, incompetent bully, what could possibly go wrong?

  157. One can hear Trump supporters at the next rally chanting " USA USA USA" as Trump announces we are building big beautiful nuclear warheads to beat the Russians before they blow us up while ignoring the climate change Armageddon, staring all of humanity in the face, coming within a very short period of time Brian

  158. the United States and the Soviet Union had amassed 63,000 nuclear weapons, with the promise of mutually assured destruction if even one were ever used, even accidentally. http://www.siyasat.pk/royal-news-live.php

  159. So, when do the American People ( nuke fodder) get a viable civil defense program?

  160. The USA must face China. Democrats fail again.

  161. @bruce Apparently you don't know your history very well. The GOP is the one out there working to support our enemies and undermine our allies and alliances. The GOP gave us two, pointless unwinnable wars that spawned a very predictable third one. Add in 6 trillion in wasted spending and make that debt because of foolish tax cuts while at war and you wonder why anyone gives a republican a sharp crayon let alone actual responsibility.

  162. Read the comments of the lucid members of the ruling class during VWI, Loyd George and others. The current withdrawal comes from the same barrel of profound stupidity. Does history, recent and current, give you confidence that we, humans, are going to be able to avoid destroying ourselves?

  163. There ARE winners! In the spirit of tonight's Grammy Awards - the winners are: Boeing, Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics, GenCorp Aerojet, Huntington Ingalls, and Lockheed Martin - and their oligarch owners and investors. The losers are everyone else, particularly the people who voted for the man who ran his mighty generals out of office with his horrifically poor judgment, but still pretends to call himself commander in chief.

  164. The New York Times’ editorials they are a-changin’: warnings on the risky consequences of “outspending Russia on a nuclear arms race” have pushed aside (for now?) the editorial line which raised the alarm about (Putin’s) “Russia war on the West” [The Editorial Board , Jan 10, 2018]. Since about three years ago, I ended a score of (mostly blocked) comments on the subject with the line: “I’m sure that at the very end the illustrious Editors will realize the folly of their incessant anti-Russia geopolitical and strategic transgressions while sending somebody to look for a typewriter among the radioactive rubble and write the “Maybe We Have Gone Too Far With The Russian Are Coming Alarmism” editorial – but it’ll be much better if they’ll come to their moral-historical senses right now.” Let’s hope it’s not too late by now. The messianic anti-nuclear initiative of Gorbachev saved humanity from an almost certain “General Nuclear War”. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush followed by joining Gorbachev in striving and accomplishing first the INF treaty and then START, the astonishingly sweeping anti-nuclear agreement. Alas, since about the beginning of the second decade, we are witnessing an accelerating potentially catastrophic historical U-turn, amounting to the return of the global nuclear arms race.

  165. "...legally binding, verifiable limits...." and "Russia" in the same sentence is patently silly. From the late Empire to Putin, Russia has never been accused of faithfully fulfilling treaty obligations except...for those agreed by Hitler and Stalin for the movement of commodities across Russian territory to Germany before the German invasion. Is there a lesson there?

  166. I think I hear Dwight D. Eisenhower tossing and turning in his grave. The Military-Industrial-Complex (es) win again.

  167. One is reminded of a movie called the Russia House with Sean Connery. Many a true word is often said in film!

  168. Trump got played by Putin, and it is the American people who will suffer. Clearly, Trump gets his orders from Putin, as evidenced by his decision to pull out of the INF treaty. Putin knew that he would have world opinion on his side in reciprocating if the U.S. took the first step. And Trump, because he is either too ignorant or too compromised by Putin has revived the nuclear arms race. I remember presidents back to Eisenhower. I remember those school drills, ridiculous as they were, getting under our desks. But the threat was real. And it is real again because we have a deranged tyrant in the White House who gets his orders from a hostile power. Years back I believed that our administrations had the upper hand in the arms race because of their knowledge, experience and integrity. Now, we have a president with none of these qualities. So we cannot simply expect the same result as we had some forty years ago. This time Russia is in the ascendancy, and we will be the ones playing "catch up", responding to new Russian threats as they expand their nuclear arsenal. So we are actually in a worse position than in the 1950's, because our "president" is being outplayed by a leader orders of magnitude more intelligent than he is. And our "president" really does not care if he plunges this nation into a nuclear holocaust, just to salve his pitiful ego. If there are any "responsible" adults left in this administration, now is the time to take away the keys.

  169. Since the 50's we've spent an estimated $5 trillion on nuclear weapons, think that's enough. Just imagine if we spent just half that on our nuclear arsenal and the other half on healthcare for our citizens. We would been so much better off, and the nuclear deterrent would still be more than sufficient to keep Russia and the like at bay. President Trump is just foolish in his thinking. Diplomacy is much, much less expensive than a new arms race. I thought he was someone with great business acumen, apparently not though with the path he has chosen.

  170. Here we go, the NYT and its message of unilateral disarmament. Same old, same old since the 1970s. We didn’t break the treaty, the Russians have. In fact they have done so for years, but the Obama Admin decided to ignore it. You can either match Russia, or accept military inferiority. Option 2 usually works out poorly for nations.

  171. It might be good to read the article, which points out that the Obama Asministration started the nuclear modernization that Laughing Boy’s taking credit for, in large part as a response to Russian behavior.