Readers React: The new U.S.-Russia arms race started years ago, and it’s worse than the Cold War

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his annual State of the Nation address in Moscow on Feb. 20.
(Alexander Nemenov / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: Russian President Vladimir Putin’s State of the Nation speech on Feb. 20 was “bellicose” and “threatening” — the Los Angeles Times got that right. But there was nothing new in his words.

In fact, a year ago to the same audience, Putin complained how the world did not pay attention to Russia and said, “Listen up!” He underlined that aggrieved warning by announcing new weapons systems that he boasted throughout 2018 had “overtaken” his adversaries’ capabilities. His previous serious warning came in late December at an annual news conference.

We are in a new Cold War and a new, arguably more dangerous arms race. Russia’s “new” 9M729 missile — the one both the Obama and Trump administrations had identified as violating the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty — has been deployed. America’s Nuclear Posture Review, released a year ago, already had “counter-measures” built into it. Both countries are deep into modernization of their strategic nuclear weapons.

These moves happened long before Putin’s most recent speech.


Larry T. Caldwell, Beaumont

The writer is a professor emeritus of politics at Occidental College, where he taught courses on U.S. national security and Russian foreign policy.

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