Accelerate the nuclear race

Nuclear race
The NATO secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, at the inauguration of the US missile base in Romania in May 2016

Manlio Dinucci (Il Manifesto, 13 July 2021)

At the Redzikowo base in Poland, work has begun on the installation of the Aegis Ashore system, with an expense of over 180 Millions of dollars. It will be the second US missile base in Europe, after that of Deveselu in Romania which became operational in 2015. The official function of these bases is to protect, with the "shield" of the SM-3 interceptor missiles, US forces in Europe and those of NATO's European allies from the "current and emerging threats of ballistic missiles from outside the Euro-Atlantic area".

The two terrestrial installations are joined by four ships equipped with the same Aegis system, that, located in the U.S.. Navy in the Spanish base of Rota, cross in the Mediterranean, Black Sea and Baltic Sea. The US Navy has approx 120 destroyers and cruisers armed with this missile system.

Both Aegis ships and land-based installations are equipped with vertical Mk 41 of Lockheed Martin: vertical pipes (in the body of the ship or in an underground bunker) from which the missiles are launched. Lockheed Martin itself, illustrating the technical characteristics, documents that it can launch missiles for all missions: anti-missile, anti-aircraft, anti-nave, anti-submarine and attack on land targets. Each launch tube is adaptable to any missile, including "those for the long-range attack", including the Tomahawk cruise missile. It can also be armed with a nuclear warhead.

It is therefore not possible to know which missiles are really in the vertical launchers of the Aegis Ashore base in Romania and which ones will be installed in that in Poland.. Nor what missiles are on board the ships crossing at the borders of Russian territorial waters. Not being able to control, Moscow assumes that there are also nuclear attack missiles. Same scenario in East Asia, where Aegis warships of the Seventh Fleet cross in the South China Sea. Also the main US allies in the region - Japan, South Korea, Australia - have ships equipped with the US Aegis system.

This is not the only missile system the US is deploying in Europe and Asia. In his speech at the George Washington School of Media and Public Affairs, General McConville, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, stated last March that the US Army is preparing a "task force" with "long-range precision fire capabilities that can go anywhere, composed of hypersonic missiles, medium range missiles, missiles for precision attacks "and that" these systems are capable of penetrating the space of the anti-aircraft barrage ". The general specified that "we plan to deploy one of these task forces in Europe and probably two in the Pacific".

In such a situation, no wonder Russia is accelerating the deployment of new ICBMs, with nuclear warheads that, after the ballistic trajectory, they glide for thousands of km at hypersonic speed.  Nor is there any surprise at the news, published by the Washington Post, which has China is building over 100 new silos for nuclear warhead ICBMs. The arms race takes place not so much on a quantitative level (number and power of nuclear warheads) how much on the qualitative one (speed, penetrating capacity and geographical location of nuclear vectors). The answer, in the event of an attack or suspected such, is increasingly entrusted to artificial intelligence, who must decide to launch nuclear missiles in seconds. Increases the chance of a nuclear war by mistake, risked several times during the Cold War.

The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, adopted by the United Nations in 2017 and entered into force in 2021, has so far been signed by 86 States and ratified by 54. None of the 30 countries of NATO and of 27 of the EU has ratified it and not even signed it. In Europe only Austria joined, Ireland, Malta, San Marino and the Holy See. None of the nine nuclear countries - United States, Russia, France, Great Britain, Israel, China, Pakistan, India, North Korea - has ratified it and not even signed it.

(Il Manifesto, 13 July 2021)

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