Russia used Iranian crisis to outwit Obama: In particular, Obama needed Russia’s help on Iran, whose nuclear program the West did see as a major security threat. “So to me there was a very clear quid pro quo,” Samore says. “We very consciously and deliberately were prepared to give the Russians strategic parity in exchange for cooperation on other key issues, Iran being the most important.”
The treaty does not prevent you from modernizing,” says McFaul, who went on to become the U.S. ambassador in Moscow from 2011 to 2013. “In terms of parity, they felt like they needed to modernize, whereas we didn’t feel that way.” –Time —- Now here’s where the Time article Why Russia is rebuilding is nuclear arsenal gets particularly alarming...the article continues:
April 4, 2016 – MOSCOW – (Time) Vladimir Putin skipped the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in April of 2016 —one more sign that Russia isn’t interested in cutting its arms. Over the course of Obama’s presidency, Russia has managed to negotiate deep cuts to the U.S. arsenal while substantially strengthening of its own. It has allegedly violated the treaty that limits the deployment of nuclear weapons in Europe and, in the last few years, it has brought disarmament talks with the U.S. to a complete standstill for the first time since the 1960s. In its rhetoric, Moscow has also returned to a habit of nuclear threats, while in its military exercises, it has begun to practice for a nuclear strike, according to the NATO military alliance.
A few days after that statement, the world got a more colorful reminder of Putin’s position on nuclear disarmament. During a meeting at the Kremlin with his top generals on Nov. 10, he accused the U.S. of trying to “neutralize” Russia’s nuclear arsenal by building a missile shield over Europe, one that could knock Russian rockets out of the sky. In response, he said, Russia would have to “strengthen the potential of its strategic nuclear forces,” including the deployment of “attack systems” capable of piercing any missile shield.
As if on cue, a state television camera then zoomed in on a piece of paper that one of the generals was holding in his hand. It showed the plans for a nuclear device code named Status-6, complete with a curt definition of its purpose: “to create an extensive zone of radioactive contamination” along the enemy’s coast, rendering it uninhabitable “for a long time.” Asked to comment the following day, Putin’s spokesman claimed the image had appeared in the nightly news by mistake. But the Kremlin’s mouthpiece newspaper then followed up with details. The warhead inside Status-6, it said, would likely be covered in cobalt, an element which would “guarantee the destruction of all living things” once it was irradiated and scattered by a nuclear explosion.
The reemergence of Status-6—even if more as a propaganda ploy than as an actual weapon—shows just how far relations have fallen since then. “The idea is to creep up on the seaboard of the United States and set off a massive nuclear explosion,” says Dvorkin. “It’s being revived in order to spook the West.” –Time
“A Russian Akula class nuclear submarine – Russian submarines patrolling off the US east coast are not cause for concern and pose no threat to the United States, the Pentagon said. US Northern Command issued a brief statement earlier that it was monitoring the submarines, which Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said were several hundred miles (kilometers) off the eastern coastline.
Morrell said he was unsure if Moscow gave Washington advance notice but the US military “had the means to derive where they were going.” Morrell played down the episode, saying: “While it is interesting and noteworthy that they are in this part of the world, it doesn’t pose any threat and it doesn’t cause any concern.” –Alternet
Russian submarines patrols off the US East coast increasing: The U.S. Navy considers all submarine operations to be highly classified and is almost always reluctant to talk about them. But earlier this month, the top U.S. Navy commander publicly addressed the rise in Russian submarine operations.
“The proficiency and operational tempo of the Russian submarine force is increasing,” according to Adm. Mark Ferguson, Commander of U.S. Naval Force Europe. “According to Russian Navy Chief Adm. Chirkov, the ‘intensity’ of Russian submarine patrols has risen by almost 50% over the last year,” Ferguson told an audience in Washington. Or as another Navy official put it to CNN: “Russian submarine deployments are through the roof.” Ferguson said Russia has increased the rate of operations to a level not seen in over a decade. –CNN
West Coast incursions: On July 4, 2012 in an apparent Fourth of July political message, a Russian Bear-H flew the closest to the U.S. West Coast that a Russian strategic bomber had flown since the Cold War when such flights were routine.
In both incidents, U.S. military spokesmen sought to downplay the threat posed by the air incursions, apparently in response to the Obama administration’s conciliatory “reset” policy of seeking closer ties with Moscow. U.S. and Canadian interceptor jets were scrambled to meet the Russian bombers during the flights last summer. –Free Beacon
July 30, 2016 – Military.com: Advancing what could become a near-total rebuild of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, the Air Force on Friday solicited industry proposals to build a new fleet of land-based nuclear missiles as well as replacements for its air-launched nuclear cruise missile force.
The two projects are part of a broader modernization of the nuclear arsenal expected to cost hundreds of billions of dollars over 30 years. The plans have broad support in Congress, although some, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have questioned the need to replace all three “legs” of the nuclear triad — the submarines, long-range bombers and land-based missiles that were developed by the Pentagon during a Cold War arms race with the Soviet Union.
The Air Force operates two of the three legs the nuclear arsenal — the bombers and the Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, that are ready for launching on short notice from underground silos in five states. On Friday the Air Force asked that industry contractors submit proposals for a new-generation ICBM, and said it plans to award the first contracts next summer. It would replace the existing fleet of about 450 deployed Minuteman 3 ICBMs, starting in 2027. The estimated cost is $62.3 billion, according to Leah Bryant, spokeswoman for the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center. –Military