Strategic Weapons: February 15, 2000

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The US is seeking creative ways to convince the Russians to accept changes to the 1972 ABM Treaty. One idea is to let the Russians keep some multi-warhead missiles, weapons that are now scheduled for destruction under the previous START treaties. This would, in theory, give the Russians confidence that they could overwhelm US defenses in a retaliatory attack. [US theory has always been not to provide a perfect defense, but simply to make a disarming first strike mathematically impossible. Russian fears have always been two-fold, that without a disarming first strike they would have no political leverage, and that if the US did achieve anything close to a perfect defense it would launch its own attack.] A US study group has suggested that the Russian Topol-M be allowed to carry two warheads; a Russian study group wants three or four warheads for this road-mobile missile. --Stephen V Cole


 


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