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    Expert: Threat of US Missile Deployment in Europe Should Be Taken Seriously

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    A former Pentagon official and vice president of the Lexington Institute think tank says that the possibility of US missile deployment in Europe to counter alleged Russian violations of the INF arms control treaty should not be underestimated.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Leandra Bernstein — The possibility of US missile deployment in Europe to counter alleged Russian violations of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) arms control treaty should not be underestimated, former Pentagon official and vice president of the Lexington Institute think tank Dan Goure told Sputnik on Friday.

    “This is not a threat the [US President Barack] Obama administration would make lightly,” Goure said.

    Goure noted the discussion of a possible US counterforce response “is remarkable considering the Obama Administration's efforts to develop a positive relationship with Moscow.”

    On Thursday, the Associated Press reported the Obama administration is considering deploying missile capable of striking targets inside Russia, as a counterforce measure to alleged Russian violations of the INF Treaty.

    The United States is weighing the option of improving “the ability of US nuclear weapons to destroy military targets on Russian territory,” according to the report.

    Goure, who served as an analyst and advisor in the Pentagon, noted that US counterforce options “are likely to be the nearest-term and the most effective conventional counter to the growing Russian threat.”

    In the past six months, US officials, including Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, have presented three possible US responses to alleged INF violations: counterforce, active defensive or deterrent measures and fully withdrawing from the INF Treaty.

    Goure commented that the INF Treaty “is dying.”

    He added, “We are rapidly returning to the Cold War days of escalation ladders, nuclear umbrellas and limited options.”

    Washington has accused Russia of testing a ground-based cruise missile in violation of the bilateral arms control treaty.

    Russia has repeatedly denied violating the INF Treaty, and has accused the United States of deploying defense systems in Romania and Poland with capabilities that violate the Treaty.

    Related:

    US Deployment of Missiles in Europe May Lead to Russia’s Exit From INF
    Engagement Required to Resolve US-Russian Mutual Charges of INF Violations
    INF Treaty Key to Ensuring Global Security – Russian Defense Ministry
    Tags:
    deployment, missile, INF treaty, Europe, United States
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