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The U.S. Will Find Few Takers in the Western Pacific for Its Missiles

Aug 21, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey fires a Tomahawk land attack missile on April 13, 2018, against the Syrian government.

The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey fires a Tomahawk land attack missile on April 13, 2018, against the Syrian government. Washington could be set for a fruitless search to deploy its intermediate-range missiles against China in the western Pacific.

(U.S. NAVY/Lt. j.g MATTHEW DANIELS/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

"Sooner rather than later" -- that's the United States' desired timeline to deploy conventional land-based intermediate-range missiles in the western Pacific, according to U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper. And now that the United States is out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, there are no treaty clauses -- or technical impediments -- preventing it from placing missiles in the region to check the rise of China. Such considerations, however, are just half the battle: Facing recalcitrance from regional allies concerned about becoming a target for China and Russia, as well as the latter powers' carrot-and-stick approach to ensure the weapons don't appear near their shores, the United States will find it a far tougher task to actually deploy the weapons in the western Pacific....

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