Not like it doesn't happen in the west either, it's just typically more subtle or appears so since it's tailored to western sensibilities. Most westerners will think that Russia is abrogating the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF)- when the US has been demonstrably violating it with a deployed system, Aegis Ashore, for 2 years and planned to well before that- because the media are idiots who parrot NATO statements uncritically because anything else is hard work, goes against editorial lines and may get you labelled as a bot or troll; and most people accept it because it fits their prejudices and belief that Russia cannot be trusted and comes from an 'authoritative' source. And, for the few that know and suggest the US has violated it you can deploy the three backstops in sequence: Aegis Ashore doesn't count as it's launcher only no cruise missiles (it counts, launchers are explicitly banned as well as the missiles but you can 95% rely on journos not to check; you also have plenty of analysts outright saying that once the INF is gone CMs will be deployed because they'd be so effective), we're trustworthy when we say we won't deploy cruise missiles and Russia should just Take Our Word For It while they're not trustworthy and we cannot take their word for it; and China isn't bound by it anyway. As if the latter is relevant, China literally cannot hit the mainland US with intermediate range missiles, they can't even hit Hawai'i. You can put money on journos not checking basic geography as well though.
While I do not believe that the purported violation is as serious as Bolton and his ilk are suggesting (if anything I believe the whole debacle arose due to poor oversight of Russia's defence industry that got a missile with the _range capability_ rubber-stamped by the MoD rather than any actual deliberate intent on the Kremlin's part to violate the treaty) and I think Obama dropped the ball when his administration was frustratingly vague on what was the offending missile at the start (if it is true, as some are suggesting, that it had come from a deeply embedded intelligence source and they were vague so as to protect it then I'd rather he never brought if up at all) the Russian counterclaim is far flimsier. Breaking the claims down...
1. Nuclear missiles can be launched from the Mk. 41 cells.
It makes close to zero strategic sense to put them in a _fixed_ launcher. One of the main reasons why the GLCM, Pershing II, and SS-20 were so scary was because a handful of mobile launchers could have been anywhere in enemy territory and it would take dozens, if not hundreds of tactical nukes to account for all of them, let alone with conventional weapons. Compare that to an Aegis Ashore facility that you can be sure will always be there and can be overwhelmed by no more than a baker's dozen warheads (even less if some of the 24 cells at each facility hosts the notional nuclear missile).
2. The ABM interceptors can be outfitted with nuclear warheads and turned on ground targets.
The Exo-atmospheric Kill Vehicle that serves as the "warhead" for the SM-3 missile weighs 140 pounds versus the 290 lbs of a W80 variable yield warhead. If one had the will, time, and resources could that warhead be eventually mated to that missile (see point 4)? Well, why not? But at those dimensions good luck getting it to range as far as Moscow.
3. Nuclear-tipped Tomahawks have existed, and they can be launched from the Mk. 41 cells.
The TLAM-N has been removed from service since 2011 with both the missiles and the W80-0 warheads having since been dismantled (in fact it was the US Navy itself that considered it redundant capability early in the Bush administration). Even if production for both the missiles and warheads could be restarted it would be close to thirty years behind modern Flights of Tomahawks in guidance methods, signature reduction, and networking capability, which brings us to a common misconception...
4. A nuclear warhead can be swapped with the conventional warhead of a modern Tomahawk.
This vastly underestimates the amount of engineering nuclear weapons systems require on both the launch platform and weapons side. Nuclear weapons have a degree of complexity that goes quite well beyond an ordinary cruise missile with a unitary high-explosive warhead; on the weapons side it includes additional electronics to power additional systems such as the permissive action links, safety features, arming mechanisms, and so forth. These in turn must be powered up and be able to talk to additional equipment from the launching platform (it was for this reason that for the Indian Air Force's MMRCA the Dassault Rafale was selected, as it already had the necessary equipment for employing nuclear weapons, and because these systems have been removed why the B-1B Lancer is no longer considered a nuclear delivery platform for purposes of arms control agreements).
Could the US cheat on the above? Well, I find it highly unlikely they would be able to get away with it, as journalists have consistently been able to to get a reasonable idea of the budgets of supposedly highly secretive special operations outfits like JSOC (mostly by looking out for budget items with painfully mundane and highly vague titles like "Army Compartmented Elements" and "Development Group"). Then there's the fact that the GRU could simply look up GAO reports related to Tomahawk development (to quote Sir Humphrey Appleby: "Open government. Freedom of information. We should always tell the press freely and frankly anything that they could easily find out some other way"). Finding these wouldn't exactly be a smoking VLS cell but at that point their counterclaim would carry as much weight as the current administration's claim that the SSC-8 is an INF violation.
As if I needed more reason to think Patton was a blowhard.
I would have settled for "even a broken clock is right twice a day," but the concept is _axiomatic_: An un-monitored obstacle is virtually useless. As Raithe's quoted post also pointed out in the case of Trump's wall it would be even worse than useless, as it would impede the ability of border patrol to keep track of the movements of anyone attempting to get over, under, or even through it. Most everything that Schumer and Pelosi offered in lieu of the wall (more border patrol agents, UAVs, additional helicopters and vehicles, FLIR cameras, etc.) would prove far more effective, especially for cost, than the wall. There were even things they proposed such as more asylum claims judges that is the stuff some immigration activists truly slide their fingers down their shirt collars and tug at them nervously over.
Edited by Agiel, 17 January 2019 - 10:36 PM.