08 July 2008

Missile Defense: Offensive?

The United States and the Czech Republic have agreed in principle to a treaty that will install a radar tracking component of an American missile defense system on Czech territory. The Russians, as anyone could predict, have been bellicose in response, even threateningly so in this BBC version. As usual, Condoleezza Rice says that Russia has nothing to worry about; the proposed system is meant to shoot down missiles from Iran. As a Russian might note, that doesn't mean that it can't or won't be used against Russia. To which an American might respond: why exactly would Russia be firing missiles at the Czechs or points west? Obviously the Russians (i.e. Putin and his pals) are unhappy at a development that could limit their freedom of action should they want to intimidate Eastern Europe for any reason. They may be paranoid or dumb enough to think the system has some offensive capability, but let's not kid ourselves about Russian intentions. It's also disingenuous of Secretary Rice to pretend that shooting down Russian missiles isn't a possibility. It borders on lying when she says the plan is only meant to stop terrorist missiles. Those missiles have to be there, in part, to prevent the consolidation of a Russian sphere of influence in Eastern Europe. Naturally, Russians resent the idea, because the power that denies other nations their spheres of influence is really claiming the whole world as its own sphere.

The treaty doesn't seem to be particularly popular with the Czech parliament or the Czech people. It apparently isn't too popular with neighboring countries, if Slovakia represents the rest. On the other hand, the Polish government is hoping for a similar deal, but explicitly wants protection from Russia, not terrorists. It seems like most Czechs are less afraid of either Russia or terrorists than their leaders are -- though some Americans might think the Czechs are actually more afraid, as far as Russia is concerned. The treaty may fail in the Czech parliament. If so, that will set up a major test of democracy in the former Warsaw Pact territory. The proof of democracy will be whether the Czechs can keep the missile defense out if they want it out.

2 comments:

toeg said...

You are missing some very fundamental points in your post and your conclusions. You stated that the Russians are eager for a fight (bellicose) over the European missile plan and that's why they are oomplaining. This is totally simplistic and incorrect. The Russians are SPECIFICALLY complaining about the fact that any "defensive" missile deployment near its borders, for any reason at all, could easily be turned around and used as an "offensive" missile deployment. They fear a direct attack from these missiles in the future.

You go on to state, "to which an American might respond: why exactly would Russia be firing missiles at the Czechs or points west? Obviously the Russians (i.e. Putin and his pals) are unhappy at a development that could limit their freedom of action should they want to intimidate Eastern Europe for any reason." This totally misses the point. The Russians aren't at all afraid of "limiting their freedom of action" whatever the hell that means. They are showing absolutely no indication of any bellicose action against any European nation. HOWEVER, the US has deliberately started two wars recently and is currently threatening to make it a trifecta. From a Russian point of view, it is totally conceivable that a nation that has already started two separate wars might want to start the next one against them. It is totally illogical and completely uncomprehensible why ANY Russian, inside or outside of its politics, would be concerned that this missile deployment might keep them from attacking another nation. There is absolutely NO INDICATION that Russia is looking to attack any other nation. There is, however, a very real and distinct possibility, in their mind, that a nation which has already started two wars and is threatening to start another one, might want to continue the festivities by attacking a fourth nation, namely Russia.

To state that the Russians are "paranoid or dumb enough to think the system has some offensive capability," is to deny the obvious. There is NO MISSILE SYSTEM on Earth that is ONLY defensive. I know of no missle that can be launched ONLY to attack an incoming missile and NEVER to reach a separate target in another country. The sheer stupidity of such a remark demonstrates the lack of logic of your statements.

"No, no, our missiles can ONLY be used to attack incoming missiles, and CAN NEVER EVER BE REPROGRAMMED to become an offensive weapon against another nation." Anyone who believes such a lunatic concept needs their head completely examined. There are more than just a couple of loose screws inside that gray matter.

The kicker though is this statement: "Those missiles have to be there, in part, to prevent the consolidation of a Russian sphere of influence in Eastern Europe." I have seen exactly ZERO presentations of such a lunacy. You have absolutely NO proof of such an absurd concept as that. The people of the Czech Republic and Poland are steadfastly opposed to such an illogical plan as this missile defense. I'm sure that the US government is spending BILLIONS OF MY TAX DOLLARS to appease the government in house to accept their ludicrous plan.

Samuel Wilson said...

You've mistaken my original post for a defense of the American missile defense plan because I don't share your rosy view of Russian intentions. Apparently you believe one nation has to be the good guy, so you've elected the Russians. Does the term "near abroad" mean anything to you? Do you really think the Russians have no interest in having a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe when that's been a policy goal from the time of the Tsars to the days of Stalin? I'm not interested in arguing that Russia is an innocent nation, but if you'll go back to the original post I hope you'll realize that my ultimate point is that whether they have a sphere of influence in Eastern influence or not is none of America's business.