The treaty is out of date and somewhat militarily pointless. Signed by the United States and USSR in 1987, it prevents its signatories and their successors (Russia, the United States, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan) from flight-testing, producing, or deploying ground-launched ballistic or cruise missiles between the ranges of 500 and 5500 kilometers. Despite its name, the treaty applies to both nuclear and conventional systems.
It is pointless because there are no targets that require a ground-launched ballistic or cruise missile of that range. Although they may present more complications, including increased expense, air- and sea-launched missiles, allowed by the treaty, can do the job just fine.… Seguir leyendo »
The ruble’s dramatic decline threatens to plunge Russia into a full-scale economic crisis. President Vladimir Putin has attempted to minimize the difficulties and deflect blame toward the West, but the problem is serious and no one is to blame but Mr. Putin himself. His efforts to destabilize Ukraine have brought painful sanctions upon Russia, reinforced its dependence on oil and isolated its economy.
Yet Russia’s crisis holds both risk and opportunity. The risk is that an economic collapse might lead the Kremlin to lash out more severely against Ukraine and the West. But there is an opportunity to be seized if the ruble’s fragility increases Russia’s readiness to de-escalate the war in Ukraine in exchange for relief on sanctions and revitalized economic ties with the West.… Seguir leyendo »