The United States has threatened to pre-emptively strike Russian missiles aimed at Europe. Its stated justification is that the missiles in question are medium range and thus in violation of a 1987 anti-missile treaty. They were initially singled out in the treaty because they could be rapidly prepared for launch and arrive on target with minimal or no warning time. That meant that it could knock out European retaliatory capability, undermining the deterrent effect of Europe-based systems.
Washington’s ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, said the U.S. remained committed to finding a diplomatic solution but was prepared to consider a military strike if Russian development of the medium-range system continued. She made it clear that the onus of diplomacy would fall on Washington’s European allies. Presumably, this means Germany, which has a somewhat functional relationship with Russia. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis said he would address the issue with his NATO counterp