A new type of high-speed arms race is heating up between the U.S., Russia and China -- and it's threatening to go nuclear. Washington had always intended the new "hypersonic boost-glide" weapons to remain purely conventional, but Russia and China seem to be pursuing nuclear variants. If the hypersonic arms race heads in a nuclear direction, Washington may be pressured to follow.
The Russians are building new nuclear-armed missiles, bombers and submarines to replace those built in the 1980s and now reaching the end of their operational lives. Their nuclear torpedo, more of an underwater drone, deliberately seeks to turn a city into a radioactive wasteland that would last for decades. It is a throwback to the worse designs of the Cold War, long since abandoned. And the U.S. is rearming as well. The Obama administration is planning to spend over $1 trillion in the next 30 years on an entire new generation of nuclear bombs, bombers, missiles and submarines to replace those built during the Reagan years.