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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: U.S. ignoring Russian noncompliance

- - Monday, March 3, 2014

Under President Obama, the United States has ignored the Russian violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) and revival of Cold War weaponry that threaten America and our allies.

Although the treaty eliminated the entire class of U.S. and Soviet intermediate-range, 310 to 3400 miles, ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles, Russian President Vladimir Putin developed the R-500 ground-launched cruise missile with a prohibited range of between 310 and 3,400 miles.

Russia announced the first test launch of the R-500 in mid-2007 without giving its precise range. In 2008, Russia revealed that the potential range of the R-500 can exceed 1,243 miles, a range prohibited by the treaty. From 2008 to the present, Russian publications reported that the R-500's prohibited range is 620 to 1,864 miles.

Another compliance violator is the RS-26 inter-continental ballistic missile. This has a range of beyond 3,418 miles but has been tested twice at a treaty-prohibited range of 1,245, circumventing the IMF treaty.

There is also Russia's nuclear-capable Iskander M ground-launched, semi-ballistic missile, which has a range of 373 miles. Prior to 2009, Congress was aware that Russia violated the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Limited Test Ban Treaty, SALT I, SALT II and START I.

However, since 2009, the Obama administration's arms-control compliance reports to Congress have ignored Russian IMF noncompliance and other violations. The most recent Obama administration report in July 2013 (and two previous ones) listed no noncompliance issues with Russia in the past three years.

The Putin regime has shown little or no regard for compliance with agreements. It is intent on creating new nuclear and conventional strike capabilities against U.S. allies and friends. Russia has stated that Poland is making itself a target — and such targets are destroyed as a first priority.

Some allies, such as South Korea and Japan, are deeply concerned about diminished U.S. nuclear-deterrent credibility to defend them in view of growing threats.

It is unlikely that the Senate would have approved the 2010 New START treaty had Russian noncompliance with INF been revealed at the time. Russia wins globally by violating its obligations to achieve advantages over its adversaries who are naive enough to trust Moscow and adhere unilaterally to disarmament.

LT. COL. DOMINIK GEORGE NARGELE

U.S. Marines (retired)

Arlington