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Arms race 2.0: why the world needs weapons of war to keep the peace

  • Russia is proud of its successful launch of a hypersonic nuclear-capable glider, and has sold the S-400 air defence system to both China and India
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2019, 11:04am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2019, 11:04am

When men were all armed with arrows and spears only, they didn’t have to beg, borrow or steal a better weapon. But then someone in China invented gunpowder, ushering in “interesting times”. As the apocryphal Chinese curse goes: “may you live in interesting times”. And men have never stopped since.

The modern arms race shows either the US ahead – with its atomic bomb from 1945 until 1949, when Moscow acquired the technology – or now Russia, with our successful testing of the Avangard hypersonic glider on December 26 (“Russia’s Vladimir Putin boasts new Avangard hypersonic warhead heads for its target ‘like a meteorite’”, December 27).

Your successful launch of a missile imported from Russia (“Chinese missile force puts new Russian S-400 air defence system to the test”, December 27) and our selling the same weapon to India paradoxically leaves the Kremlin supporting two adversaries and, even more paradoxically, preventing any large-scale military conflict between them. It is the same case with former Soviet republics Armenia and Azerbaijan, with President Vladimir Putin remaining friends with Yerevan and Baku, as he has been with both New Delhi and Beijing.

We still have to follow that old Latin adage, “If you want peace, prepare for war”. If we want that for our allies, we must prepare them for war against one another, too. It works – as does our stopping a main wildfire by setting a controlled burn in front of its path to deprive it of fuel.

Mergen Mongush, Moscow