Continued compliance with the INF placed the United States in an impossible position, forced to face both Russian INF violations, and a full array of Chinese (Iranian and North Korean) land-based systems. Breaking Defense reports that in recent war games with China and Russia conducted by RAND, the United States “gets its ass handed to it” according to RAND analyst David Ochmanek.
Having been frozen out of developing such capabilities for over thirty years, the U.S. military has a lot of catching up to do. The United States must not only develop such missiles as quickly as possible—it must also integrate those capabilities into its warfighting strategies and tactics.
The Marine Corps and Navy are already exploring ways in which mid-range missiles could be utilized by small infantry units, teaming with stealthy, speedier ships, to seize and interdict maritime choke points such as the Malacca Straits. Future conventional wars will be dominated more and more by cyber, drones, and missiles. The United States could no longer be expected to meet such challenges with one hand tied behind its back. The INF had to go.
Ramon Marks is a retired New York international lawyer.