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USA interception of nuclear missile could start nuclear war between Russia and America,

North Korea Could Unleash the Unthinkable: Nuclear War Between Russia and America, National Interest,  Dave Majumdar, 18 Aug 17, In the event that North Korea tests another Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) or potentially launches an attack on the United States, the Pentagon could try to intercept those missiles with the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system. However, as many analysts have pointed out, the interceptors that miss their target could reenter the Earth’s atmosphere inside Russian airspace. Such an eventuality could prove to be a serious problem unless steps are taken to address the issue now.

“You should also be aware of the concern that those interceptors fired from Alaska that miss or don’t engage an incoming North Korean ICBM(s) will continue on and reenter the Earth’s atmosphere over Russia,” Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association told The National Interest.

“This carries a nontrivial risk of unintended escalation.”

Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, told The National Interest that the United States should open a dialogue with Russia on the issue immediately.

“Good god, yes,” Lewis said emphatically.

Olya Oliker, director of the Russia and Eurasia program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies agreed.

“We have time now to consult with Moscow, talk about plans, discuss how notification would work,” Oliker told The National Interest.

“This isn’t the rocket science part of all this.”

Indeed, in a recent op-ed, Lewis argues that an American interceptor launch could accidentally trigger a nuclear exchange if the Russians mistook such a weapon for an incoming ICBM.

“We can’t assume that Russia would realize the launch from Alaska was a missile defense interceptor rather than an ICBM. From Russia, the trajectories might appear quite similar, especially if the radar operator was under a great deal of stress or pressure,” Lewis wrote for The Daily Beast.

“It doesn’t matter how Russia’s early warning system ought to work on paper, the reality of the Russian system in practice has been a lot less impressive.”

Joshua H. Pollack, editor of the The Nonproliferation Review and a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, said that the danger is real.

“Whether they actually would enter Russian airspace is probably less important than whether they break the line of sight of Russia’s early-warning radars,” Pollack said…….

Pavel Podvig, an independent analyst based in Geneva who runs the Russian Nuclear Forces research project disagreed with Lewis and Pollack. Podvig noted that the Russian early warning system is in far better shape today than it was during the 1990s. While a GMD launch from Alaska might cause alarm, the Russian philosophy has been to essentially absorb the first initial blows before launching a retaliatory counterstrike.

“The Russian system is built to ‘absorb’ events like this,” Podvig told The National Interest……..

The Russians, however, are not too worried by the prospect of discarded American interceptors landing on their soil. However, Moscow would likely want to be consulted because the interceptors might set off Russia’s ballistic missile early warning system (BMEWS)……..

What is surprising to the Russians is that the United States did not install a self-destruct system on the GMD interceptors to prevent the missiles from landing where they should not……..

the United States should probably consult with Russia about the possibility of intercepting North Korean ICBMs over Moscow’s territory and set up an agreement ahead of time. But even then, during a real intercept attempt, the United States will likely have to count on Russia’s early warning system operating correctly and the Kremlin’s restraint to avoid an unintended nuclear war.

Dave Majumdar is the defense editor for The National Interest. You can follow him on Twitter: @Davemajumdar.  http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/north-korea-could-unleash-the-unthinkable-nuclear-war-21948

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August 19, 2017 - Posted by | Russia, USA, weapons and war

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