[Ed. – The NYT article on this is tendentious, underplaying the significance of Russia’s non-compliance and Russia’s significance in general. (Which is odd, considering the paper’s current, overall editorial stance on the five-alarm emergency threat posed by Russia.) But there’s truth in the point that the Trump administration, as any rational, competent administration would, recognizes a need to view China as strategic antagonist at the level of Russia, in terms of nuclear armament and ability to project power and threaten global security.]
The United States on Friday terminated a major treaty of the Cold War, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces agreement, and it is already planning to start testing a new class of missiles later this summer.
But the new missiles are unlikely to be deployed to counter the treaty’s other nuclear power, Russia, which the United States has said for years was in violation of the accord. Instead, the first deployments are likely to be intended to counter China, which has amassed an imposing missile arsenal and is now seen as a much more formidable long-term strategic rival than Russia.
The moves by Washington have elicited concern that the United States may be on the precipice of a new arms race, especially because the one major remaining arms control treaty with Russia, a far larger one called New START, appears on life support, unlikely to be renewed when it expires in less than two years.