In 2008, Russia began testing a new missile, which in 2014 the Obama Administration said might have violated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Today, eager to hype “new” Russian efforts, even if they’re almost a decade old, the New York Times declared these same 2008 missiles a violation of the “landmark arms control treaty.”
The “new” violation appears entirely speculative, and based on the fact that the Pentagon, which had previously designated the missiles the SSC-X-8, had removed the X in some recent reports, changing the name to SSC-8. The removal of the X would mean that from the US perspective, they no longer consider the missile to be an experimental model.
This designation change led to speculation that the missiles are possibly deployed at this point, and since Russia never publicly announced a deployment, the New York Times leapt to declare the missiles “deployed secretly,” reiterating the long-standing assumption that it violates the treaty.
Congressional hawks have been eagerly lapping up the claims of violation for years, urging the US to withdraw from the treaty and start deploying nuclear weapons en masse in Europe. British officials, in 2015, even expressed openness about the idea of scrapping the treaty and putting large numbers of American nukes in Britain.
The latest attempt to hype what is actually a very old story comes with an attempt to shoehorn in the totally unrelated resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, leading the New York Times to fret that the “new” challenge, which isn’t new at all, comes when the president is without a National Security Adviser.