US missile shield part of ‘prompt global strike’ doctrine fuelling new arms race – Russian MoD

The US anti-missile system is designed to provide Washington with a “prompt global strike” capability without fear of retaliation. This in turn pushes other countries into building up and upgrading their own weaponry, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

“The US missile defense serves as a stimulus for the enhancement of missile capabilities in the world, thus effectively provoking a new arms race,” said the ministry’s spokesman, Colonel Aleksandr Emelyanov. The colonel was speaking during a joint Russian-Chinese military briefing, held on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly committee meeting on monitoring international security issues and disarmament.

The missile defense system is in fact a crucial part of Washington’s planned “prompt global strike” contingency, which could target any US adversary in the world, potentially including Russia or China, the colonel explained.

Thus the “unlimited deployment” of the elements of the US global missile defense system around the world poses a “threat to humanity” and is a “major challenge” to global security.

“A link between the deployment of the missile defense elements and the development of the prompt global strike system is evident,” said Emelyanov, adding that such a concept could involve launching a “disarming strike” against Russia’s or China’s strategic nuclear forces, the missile defense system being subsequently used to protect the US from any retaliatory move.

The development of such a system is just “further evidence proving that Washington is seeking to disrupt the existing balance of power and achieve global strategic dominance,” the colonel added. He also warned that further expansion of the US missile defense system poses a grave danger to international security, as it would significantly lower the threshold of a potential use of nuclear weapons by the US and its allies.

The US is in fact building up its missile defense capabilities in an effort to build a capacity to use nuclear weapons with “minimal costs,” Emelyanov stated.

“The global missile defense system lowers the threshold of the use of nuclear weapons as it creates an illusion of impunity in case of a surprise [US] attack, using strategic offensive weapons under the ‘missile defense umbrella’,” he said.

Emelyanov warned that the US continues to misinform the international community about its true capabilities, even though the sheer number of the US ABM interceptor missiles is expected to exceed the number of warheads mounted on the Russian ballistic intercontinental missiles at some point.

“The US specialists use explicitly unrealistic scenarios and basic data” in their assessment of the missile defense systems’ capabilities, thus providing misleading information about their true potential, he said.

Meanwhile the deployment of US missile defense does little to protect the countries where its elements are stationed, but on the contrary puts them at risk instead as it makes them targets for potential strikes while still defending primarily the US territory and its interests, Emelyanov stressed.

“It is Washington that will decide, whom these systems will protect,” Emelyanov said, adding that the countries hosting the elements of the US ABM in fact become “hostages” of the US policies.

Number of US anti-ballistic missiles could reach 1,000 by 2022

The number of US anti-ballistic missiles could reach 1,000 by 2022, according to Emelyanov.

“Such an amount of missile defense assets poses a threat to the Russian deterrence capacity, especially taking into account the ongoing work on upgrading their missile defense systems,” he said.

Currently, the US missile defense includes 30 Ground-Based Interceptors (GBI), 130 Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) systems, and 150 missile defense complexes.

According to Emelyanov, Washington deployed 60 anti-ballistic missiles to Europe and 150 more to the Pacific Rim.

Deteriorating relations between the US and Russia are slipping into complete “distrust” and indeed could spill over into an “emerging arms race,” warned Joseph Cheng, a political analyst and professor at Hong Kong City University.

“The United States certainly has been spending more to develop more new strategic weapons systems and strengthening their missile defense systems. The latter is certainly strategically destabilizing,” Cheng told RT.

Meanwhile, the US arms-buildup trend is also making China apprehensive about the strategic balance in the world.

“Beijing is certainly very concerned… And certainly, China is aware of its disadvantage in terms of strategic capabilities and technological development at this stage. China needs time to catch up,” Cheng said.