Pentagon tests cruise missile with over 500km reach, so INF treaty is now definitely toast

Yup - for some reason the line “are they gonna drop the bomb or not” popped into my head…

And sweet, I can also revisit the anxiety dreams I had growing up among the missile fields of the High Plains. Good times.

On the other hand, dusting off a copy of Twilight 2000 and running a game might be appropriate.

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So this one is “duck and cover”, right? I need to brush up.

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Fixed it. Need. More. Bigger. Screen. (Ala Shatner)


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Long-range cruise missiles like these pose a different kind of threat than ICBMs because they can fly below effective radar altitude and thus take out enemy targets before the other side even knows there’s a war on.


Did it ever? I was under the impression we mostly did that in arrears, after the dust had settled and the recriminations started. Beforehand it was mostly used for coalition (“scapegoat”) building and for domestic consumption.

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Also, long-range last-gen cruise missiles are probably just a stopgap until the hypersonics start shipping.


wikipedia informs us that

The INF Treaty banned all of the two nations’ land-based ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and missile launchers with ranges of 500–1,000 kilometers (310–620 mi) (short medium-range) and 1,000–5,500 km (620–3,420 mi) (intermediate-range). The treaty did not apply to air- or sea-launched missiles.[4][5] By May 1991, the nations had eliminated 2,692 missiles, followed by 10 years of on-site verification inspections.[6]

Text of the Treaty:


I very nearly posted it, but it’s about air-drops. Otherwise, yes, it’s still the same sentiment.

both guys are good at keeping each other’s defense contractors well funded


There’s a bigger pic here. You don’t develop these overnight, or during one Administration. Putin has been a threat for a long time, and China rising requires military matching. I don’t apologise for this in any way, and I wish it weren’t so - and that we’d find and implement mutually better strategies than re-militarisation.

Unless this was a case of adding more fuel to an existing missile, Obama would have been aware.

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Constantly. It’s the national narrative. You’re probably so used to it that you don’t consciously recognize it anymore.

For reference:

Quote from McCains farewell letter:

And I owe it to America. To be connected to America’s causes – liberty, equal justice, respect for the dignity of all people – brings happiness more sublime than life’s fleeting pleasures. Our identities and sense of worth are not circumscribed but enlarged by serving good causes bigger than ourselves.

Fellow Americans’ – that association has meant more to me than any other. I lived and died a proud American. We are citizens of the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil. We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and advance those ideals at home and in the world. We have helped liberate more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history.

Pence at the 2019 Munich Security Conference:

The time has come from our European partners to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal and join us as we bring the economic and diplomatic pressure necessary to give the Iranian people, the region, and the world the peace, security, and freedom they deserve.


You’re right, of course; I was being sarcastic and I did not communicate what I was thinking in my reply, but you expressed it: The pretense is so thin and pervasive that it fades into the background, where unfortunately, despite its flimsiness, it better-functions as propaganda.

Yes, the United States has always professed Good Guy ideals, and sometimes has even taken those seriously, or has at least striven toward them—often while being wildly blind to its own lapses.

What I was trying to draw attention to was whether anyone still actually believes the pretense. But I only have to assess any of the current opinion polls, polarization, or rhetoric to answer my own question. The pretense is very effective on portions of the population.

(Sometimes I think, if we maliciously intend to attempt outright Empire, why it is necessary to justify it with doublespeak. The implication is that there is some portion of the population for which propaganda is necessary, and that control is necessary for those attempting the malfeasance. The further implication is that even in Empire we are not monolithic and there are those believers who still can be changed.)



But the Army has also been tiptoeing up to the 500-km limit as it develops a next-generation artillery weapon called the Precision Strike Missile. Dubbed the PrSM for short, it is intended as a longer-ranged replacement for the missiles currently fired by the Army’s M270A1 Multiple Launch Rocket System, or MLRS, and the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS.
So far, the PrSM has an official range of 499 kilometers. That’s because missiles with longer ranges — between 500 and 5,500 kilometers — were deemed in the 1980s to be so dangerous and destabilizing that the United States and Russia came together to ban them in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty."

I expect that the 499 km limit was enforced with software. In my eyes, that’s fine. Treaties of this sort are about making the boundaries of acceptable behavior clear and unambiguous. Nestling up close to the line is acceptable, actually crossing the line is not.

There’s nothing particularly meaningful about the 500 km range except that it was defined by treaty. My guess is that at the time, either the Americans or the Soviets had a missile system with a range of e.g 670 km; it was considered destabilizing from the point of view of negotiators, and the 500 km limit was set as an unambiguous line so that either party couldn’t claim that they were now “in compliance” with a 665 km limit. No-- the 500km line was sufficiently outside the range of military utility.

If you want to be even more cynical, the treaty was developed because Intermediate Range missiles imply that a war between the Soviets and the Americans would essentially be fought in Europe. And the western Europeans didn’t particularly care for this. Some were even agitating for such missiles to be removed from NATO countries, which would leave the Americans at a huge disadvantage…

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