Back in 2007, when Vladimir Putin promised to rebuild Russia’s military and resume its activities on the world stage, Westerners were complacent. Russia was an economic basket case, after all. It would take years for modernization programs to kick in. And even when they did, they would bring Russian capabilities to no more than what America already has. Right?
That may be the case for some conventional forces. But when it comes to “strategic” missiles – missiles used for the purpose of strategic intimidation – it’s 2012 now, and Russia is unquestionably ahead of the United States. Not in terms of numbers, but in terms of missile capabilities. The Russians have already fielded ICBMs that are better than anything we have. These missiles present a much tougher target for our national ballistic-missile defense network than anything has before. If they are launched against us – and certainly if they’re launched against anyone else – a lot of them are going to get through.