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Missiles, Memories & Mankind…

The Cold War days are all set to return, as the US and Russia may flex muscles and threaten each other with Missile Strikes and Nuclear War in the coming days!
Former US President Ronald Regan and his counterpart from the erstwhile Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev had signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty way back in 1987, and decided not to use missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500km. The US and Russia had also destroyed 2,700 missiles four years after signing the agreement.
However, the US withdrew from this Cold War-era Nuclear Arms Control Pact with Moscow in the first week of August (2019) after the Vladimir Putin Administration refused to destroy a new intermediate-range missile that (according to Washington and its NATO allies) violated the accord. Later, Kremlin also withdrew from the accord, prompting experts to express serious concern over the moves made by the two arch rivals. Experts said that it could trigger a Cold War situation, again!

The historic pact.jpg
The historic pact

Earlier this year, the US and its NATO allies strongly criticised Russia for secretly violating the pact by installing cruise missiles that could easily target the NATO member countries. Washington, too, claimed that it had solid evidence that Russia deployed a number of 9M-729 cruise missiles, commonly known as SSC-8 in the NATO alliance countries, in different places. In fact, the US raised the issue during the last NATO Summit. Speaking at the Summit, President Donald Trump said that Washington would withdraw from the INF Pact, if Moscow would continue to violate the treaty. He also made it clear that the US would make a final decision on August 2. Russian President Vladimir Putin, too, hinted that Kremlin had no specific objection!

President Putin & President Trump

For his part, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the transatlantic alliance would “respond in a measured and responsible way to the significant risks posed by the Russian 9M729 missile to allied security“. At the same time, he made clear that NATO “does not want a new arms race“, stating that NATO would not deploy land-based nuclear missiles in Europe. In July, Stoltenberg had said that the Russian missiles were nuclear-capable, mobile, very difficult to detect and could easily target European cities within minutes. “This is serious. The INF treaty has been a cornerstone in arms control for decades, and now we see the demise of the treaty,” he added.

Russian 9M729 missile.jpg
Russian 9M729 missile

UN Secretary General António Guterres believes that the fears of Nuclear War Days have returned with this unfortunate development. In New York, he told the press: “In the current deteriorating International Security Environment, previously-agreed Arms Control and Disarmament Agreements are increasingly under threat.” The UN Chief added that both Washington and Moscow should understand “the need to avoid destabilising developments”, asking the two major World Powers to “urgently seek agreement on a new common path for international arms control”. Guterres described INF as “a landmark agreement that helped stabilise Europe and end the Cold War”, insisting that its end “will likely heighten, not reduce, the threat posed by ballistic missiles“.

UN Chief Guterres.jpg
UN Chief Guterres

Meanwhile, the General Secretary have requested all the UN Member Countries to think about what could be done in order to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. He is of the opinion that the moves made by the US and Russia would pose a serious threat to the entire world. Guterres’ fears are not baseless, as Russian defence expert Pavel Eugenievich Felgenhauer stressed: “Now that the Treaty is over, we will see the development and deployment of new weapons. Russia is already ready.
The two super powers plan to intensify the arms race in the contemporary world, and experts believe that China will certainly join the race in future, only to show their might to the Global Community. As they are determined to make this planet as their battlefield, the International Community would be the ultimate sufferer!

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