U.S.-Russia Weapons Build-up Signals Dangerous New Cold War

Posted Feb. 17, 2016

MP3 Interview with Paul Kawika Martin, political and communications director with Peace Action, conducted by Scott Harris

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The Obama administration plans to spend $3.4 billion to increase the deployment of heavy weapons, armored vehicles and other equipment to NATO countries in Central and Eastern Europe, with the goal of countering what U.S. officials say is a newly "aggressive Russia" under Vladimir Putin's leadership. They point to Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea and the country's support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. The budget request is four times the current budget of $789 million, representing the largest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. In response, Russian officials say NATO's move is a threat to European stability. To underscore that point, the Russian military was put on high alert in mid-February, and held snap war games in central and southern Russia near Ukraine.

In another of echo of the Cold War era, President Obama announced plans in 2013 to modernize the U.S. nuclear arsenal over the next three decades at a cost of nearly $1 trillion. The plan calls for updating America's nuclear triad, which includes intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as submarines and aircraft capable of delivering nuclear warheads. There is growing concern that moves now underway to upgrade and deploy new weapons systems by both the U.S. and Russia will trigger a new Cold War with unintended consequences.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Paul Kawika Martin, political and communications director with the group Peace Action. Here, he discusses the ratcheting up of tensions in Eastern Europe and explains why his group opposes President Obama's plan to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal.

For more information, visit Peace Action at peace-action.org and Peace Action's Organizing for Nuclear Disarmament at peace-action.org/node/125.

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