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.
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.