Revelations about Russian and Chinese missile tests last month raised alarm among analysts and lawmakers. The tests underscored that cutting-edge missile systems remain an area of active competition among high-end military powers as Russia and China try to catch up with the capabilities of the United States.
Russia is in the midst of an ambitious modernization of its nuclear arsenal, including the development of several new long-range missile systems. Recent Russian flight tests of a new ground-launched cruise missile, reported last week, may put Russia in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. The treaty prohibits both Russia and the United States from deploying systems with a maximum range of between 500 and 5,500 km.
In the U.S., many Republican lawmakers are skeptical of future nuclear arms control agreements with Russia, and have cited supposed Russian INF Treaty violations as a reason to slow or cease that process. Echoing these concerns, Michaela Dodge of the Heritage Foundation writes in an email that “Russia has cheated on every single arms control agreement it has ever signed.” She recommends that the administration “stop all nuclear weapons reductions” until Russia complies with its obligations.