Perhaps somebody in Washington took note of Vladimir Putin’s March 1 speech…and Russia’s new weapons. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
During a routine Congressional hearing on Wednesday, US military leaders publicly admonished Russian President Vladimir Putin for unveiling six powerful new weapons during his annual address to lawmakers, including what’s believed to be a modified Iskander ballistic missile capable of defeating US and NATO anti-ballistic missile systems. Using Putin’s escalation as one more justification for asking that all of the appropriations requested in the Defense Department budget be assiduously met.
Commander of US Strategic Command Gen. John Hyten, said Putin’s declarations were “not surprising” and that he was “disappointed” the Russian leader would use these weapons tests to “further intimidate and coerce” the US.
Taking the hint from the generals that, unless the US makes a good-faith effort to address some of Russia’s grievances, an arms race between the two countries could cost a ton of money, a group of lawmakers published a letter on Thursday calling for the US to engage in a “strategic dialogue” with its purported election-hacking nemesis, arguing that the matter is “more urgent” following Putin’s unveiling of his new weapons systems, according to RT.
“A US-Russia Strategic Dialogue is more urgent following President Putin’s public address on March 1st when he referred to several new nuclear weapons Russia is reportedly developing, including a cruise missile and a nuclear underwater drone,” reads a letter signed by US Senators Edward J. Markey Jeff Merkley Dianne Feinstein and Bernie Sanders.
The letter was addressed to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and in it, the (mostly Democratic) senators stressed that while “significant” disagreements exist between the US – including both the allegations of collusion and election meddling, as well as Russia’s annexation of the Crimea – these differences shouldn’t prevent the two countries from engaging in diplomatic talks (of course, President Trump has already met Russian President Vladimir Putin in his official capacity as leader of the free world).
“Due to these policy rifts, not in spite of them… the United States should urgently engage with Russia to avoid miscalculation and reduce the likelihood of conflict.”
Their main recommendation? Lawmakers are concerned that some of the brand-new Russian nuclear weapons are not covered by the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, commonly known as the New START – and therefore, the US should consider pushing to broaden the treaty.