Une tactique russe dans l’affaire euromissiles-II : saturer les Américains de possibilités de riposte “asymétrique” ?



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Un article de Novosti du 16 avril, de Nikolai Khorunzhiy, repris le même jour par Spacewar.com, développe diverses possibilités de riposte russe au déploiement d’antimissiles par les USA.

Ce rappel historique assorti de conséquences sur de possibles développements actuels, et qui concerne les rapports de la Russie avec le traité INF/FNI, est intéressant :

»In 2001, when Russia discussed its “asymmetrical response” to the United States' withdrawal from the ABM Treaty (which followed in 2002), Lt. Gen. Vyacheslav Romanov, head of the Russian general staff's center for nuclear security, declared that Russia would respond to the American deployment of a national ABM system by redeploying its intermediate- and shorter-range missile force - that is, the missiles that were aimed at Western Europe throughout the Cold War.

»On the following day, the then Defense Minister, Igor Sergeyev, refuted this statement by his subordinate in very strong terms, calling the very idea that Russia might deploy its intermediate- and shorter-range missiles “absurd.”»

»Today's proposal is more flexible: quit the INF Treaty but equip intermediate- and shorter-range missiles with conventional warheads instead of nukes — ostensibly in this case, they would not threaten Europe or China. But if the United States refuses to modify the treaty, and gives Russia the chance to forget all about it — that is, have nuclear-tipped missiles - Europe and even China will blame Washington for not taking their interests into account.

»As distinct from all-purpose strategic missiles, intermediate- and shorter-range missiles have a definite range — up to 5,500 km — that enables them to reach both China and Europe. What is the difference between replacing nukes with conventional warheads on ICBMs, as Rumsfeld suggested, and on intermediate- and shorter-range missiles? Both moves would lower the threshold for their use.

»There is one more proposal: to offer countries with intermediate- and shorter-range missiles, that is, China, North Korea, India, Pakistan, Iran and Middle Eastern nations, to sign a treaty, and if any of them rejects the idea, to declare that Russia will withdraw from the INF Treaty but agrees with the United States that such missiles should only be deployed on the territory of the countries that possess them (in other words, there should be no U.S. missiles of that range in Europe). But what if the United States rejects this idea?

»Russia does not even have any plans to develop these missiles, whereas the United States is intensively developing submarine-based medium-range missiles. Moreover, frightened Europe will turn to its big brother for protection. In that case, the deployment of U.S. medium-range missiles would create a worse headache for the Russian strategic nuclear force than it did in the 1980s, because now NATO is much closer to the Russian border, and its missiles could reach our launch sites in a matter of minutes.»

Un autre aspect du texte qui est intéressant est celui où l’auteur, évoquant les diverses possibilités de riposte russe au niveau des armements, en annonce une nouvelle, après avoir cité la relance du SS-20 (RSD-10) et le cas (limité selon lui) du SS-26:

«The purpose of politically menacing medium-range ballistic missiles may be served just as well with much cheaper air-launched cruise missiles. The Rosbalt agency wrote that two years ago, Russia conducted a successful test of its X-555 cruise missile with a range of up to 5,000 km, circular error probable of 18-26 meters, and speed of Mach 0.77. It flies at tree-top level — 40 m to 110 m — which allows it to evade ABM systems. In early February, the ARMS-TASS news agency reported that India and Russia had begun joint research and development on a cruise missile that can fly several times the speed of sound.»

On a l’impression, avec ces divers textes et ces diverses hypothèses apparaissant au niveau de textes non-officiels, mais néanmoins bien informés, d’une offensive indirecte des Russes dans le sens d’une saturation des évaluations US sur les réactions russes à craindre. On sait que la bureaucratie US a l’habitude de sur-réagir à cette sorte de menace contre ses propres systèmes. On peut envisager une chaîne sans fin de systèmes de protection US des bases antimissiles US installées en Europe (missiles Patriot, F-15 équipés en mode anti-cruise missiles, etc.), avec les coûts et les complications diplomatiques qui vont avec.

Mis en ligne le 16 avril 2007 à 16H49