North Dakota exempt from ABM?

Did I read the newspaper article correctly? Alongside the details of the upcoming “Star Wars” interceptor test, I’m sure I read that North Dakota is exempt from the ABM treaty. If so then why? Do all the American commies live there? Is there nothing worth nuking there?

Under the ABM treaty, the US and the Russians were allowed to build an ABM system capable of protecting one site in their respective countries. They chose to protect Moscow and we chose to protect the missiles that were aimed at Moscow.

Somehow, I don’t feel all that reassured by that.

I wonder if it has something to about being in Washington, DC.

Don’t worry Montfort.

Checking the actual treaty, it appears that each country is allowed to protect 2 sites: the capitol and one ICBM launch area. So you’re safe in Washington. Also, since each site only has a radius of 150 km (93 mi), all of North Dakota isn’t protected.

Well since I sit about three hours drive north of Minot AFB, I am not reassured by this…it’s times like this I realize how in the middle of nowhere I am, because we are basically being written off in the event of a nuclear war.


Being that the USSR went chapter 11 is this treaty even valid? Or did we sign some ‘USSR=CIS update the treaties’ treaty in the early 90s?

“You are seeing this video because there has been a breakdown in communication with the Russians. In such a case, Springfield has been designated ‘Nuclear Whipping Boy’ and as such will be used as a target to properly calibrate our own missiles before returning fire on the enemy.”

Heh. Okay. </hijack>

Yes. The Russian Federation is considered the successor state to teh Soviet Union. This was widely reported at the time; why does nobody remember it?

I still don’t understand why ANY country (especially us!) would sign a treaty which gives up our right to protect our country.


GD territory, but…

B/C, by limiting the proliferation of missile defenses, we help maintain the status quo, which is Mutual Assured Destruction, the threat of retaliatory obliteration that each nuclear superpower (US/USSR) holds over the head of the other–a power balance which, it could be argued, has kept WWIII from breaking out during the past 50 years.

So the upshot is that defenses against nukes introduces a new element into the equation, breaking the current stalemate with which most sane persons are well pleased.

Now, of course, the DOD is re-assessing intl. threats, and it doesn’t really see the same danger of all-out war with the Russkies that it used to fear. Bigger worries in their minds now are North Korea, China, and terrorists who get a hold of a stray nuke. So the DOD is looking to scrap the ABM treaty so that we can boost our defenses against these new threats.

So their assessment is that the status quo (US vs. USSR; stalemate) has already changed (now, US vs. Far East communist countries, terrorists), the old MAD doctrine is no longer relevant nor a good defense against these new threats, and development of an ABM shield is the safest course, as it will defend against the new threats while (they hope) not pissing off our former arch-enemies in Russia.

Whether that assessment is accurate, or whether any ABM shield we could deploy in the near future has any hope of being effective, really are GD material.

A fat lot of good ABM protection would do DC, when a freighter with a nuke in it’s hold could sail up the Potomac. That’s why our main missile silos are in the Dakotas, to be as far inland as you can get in the US.

Uh, I’m pretty sure the reason the missiles are in North Dakota isn’t to protect them from killer armadas of freighters. It’s to put them as close to the Russian heartland as possible within the continental US. (As the crow flies. You really need a globe to visualize this.)

Sorry, doesn’t wash. At this site, they have a handy ‘distance calculator’, complete with the distance you have to start off in.

Seattle, WA - Moscow: 8396 km, 11.5 degrees (NbE)
Minot, ND - Moscow: 7863 km, 23.1 degrees (NNE)
Portland, ME - Moscow: 7082 km, 36.8 degrees (NE)
Barrow, AK - Moscow: 5868 km, 349.8 degrees (NbW)
So Maine is better than North Dakota for sheer distance, and Alaska is better still. Any other guesses?

As a Fargo, North Dakota native I’m pretty sure the reason they put the missles in North Dakota is to justify our state’s existance. Somehow I can’t see a flat plain of failing/failed farms as being a good enough reason to get into the USA club.

Anyhoo, Rugby, ND is the geographic center of North America (quite literally the middle of nowhere) so the idea that the amount of distance inland as a justification for the location of the missle silos would make sense in that context.

Moscow is near the western edge of Russia. Most of the ICBM launch sites are probably much more east, so hitting them would require a launch site that was more west in the US. Considering that the North Pole switches directions and stuff.

Which is really confusing, but I just mean that if you want to hit Moscow, put your missles in Maine, and if you want to hit Siberia, put them in North Dakota.

The reason our nukes are in North Dakota is that it keeps them as far away from the shore as possible. Being near the shore would make them vulnerable to submarine launched missiles, which could hit their targets with very little warning.

As the local Doper in Minot, I will provide these few reasons of mine as to why the missiles are here:

  1. The land is cheap.
  2. As the target of Soviet/whoever’s ICBMs for our missile are here, there’s nobody (relatively) here to lose as “collateral damage”.
  3. We are centrally located in the US that any early warning would allow our birds to take flight pretty damn quick. We could get 'em airborne before any SLBM or ICBM could hit us, even considering the limitations of our satellites, BMEWS, or the antiquated DEW Line. Therefore if they launch, distance equals time, therefore we (and Montana and Wyoming) have the greatest chance to launch 'em before they hit the silos.

Keep in mind that up until 15 or 20 years ago (the USSR fell 10 years ago), we still had Nike missiles around our major cities. . .

I won’t comment on the treaty, or any speculation of it, because as of 0210 on a Saturday night, politics is the furthest thing from my mind. I’ll look at it later. :smiley:

Still here in Minot, ND

I would think that the nukes went into North Dakota (and Nevada?) for a combination of reasons, the biggest being remoteness (you’ve got to keep hippies and spies away) and the other being the fact that the feds already owned a shitload of land in those areas (unlike in Maine).

What a coincidence, just a few weeks ago, we started hearing of plans to change North Dakota’s name…
Is this some Bush Administration plan (“hell if the ignurnt Rooskies think North Dakota ceased to exist, we can put the missiles whereever we damn well please!”).
If it is, brilliant! :slight_smile:

I recant my distance theory, because range just doesn’t seem to be that important with ICBMs. A brief search on NORAD sites (which is harder than it sounds–most of NORAD’s Web-era info seems to be about Santa Claus) reveals that the US has missile bases as far south as Missouri. So evidentally ICBMs travel far enough that a few extra hundred kms one way or the other are no big deal.

I think cheap land, easy access (compared to the Alaskan interior), sparce population, and secure borders explain why North Dakota got the missiles. Plus, if you think about it, the US and USSR had a mutual interest in keeping the missile paths over the Pole as much as possible. If you launched a missile from Maine to Moscow, its path would take it right over Europe. It’s bad enough that one side might go on alert due to a flight of arctic geese; you definitely wouldn’t want them going on alert every time air traffic in Europe got fouled up.