US Test-Fires Long-Range, Nuke-Capable ICBM

Missile Fired From California, Flew 4,000 Miles

Everywhere and (mostly) without exception, the test of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) would be angrily condemned by the United States has a dangerous provocation, and the firing of a nuclear-capable ICBM would be treated as tantamount to an act of war.

Not today, of course, when the missile in question was test-fired from California by the United States, flying some 4,000 miles before hitting a test target near the Marshall Islands. The missile was identified as a Minuteman III, a nuclear-capable weapon which the US has 450 of in service.

Officials with Space Wing command insisted that the test-firing was necessary to “demonstrate” America’s massive nuclear capabilities. Even before the $1 trillion expected to be spent on “upgrades,” the US has the world’s largest nuclear weapons arsenal, capable of engaging in an extinction-level war.

That the Pentagon openly admitted the test was a show of force is particularly hypocritical, given how every test by regional rivals, even if it’s just to try to see if a new design works, is presented by the US as an unconscionable act. This appears more or less to be a direct provocation, designed to underscore America’s ability to wipe out much of the planet, amid growing concerns about aggressive US warfare.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.