Putin (and many Russians in general) feel threatened by the West as NATO and the EU move farther east. The Cold War is over, yet the United States is constructing an intricate missile defense system in the former Soviet Bloc. This further antagonizes an alley we need desperately to stop Iranian Nuclear enrichment, Iraqi cooperation, stability in Eastern Europe and Chinese global moves. In taking a threatened posture Putin has the ability and the need to further suppress liberal democracy in his own country and to design missiles that are capable of penetrating the defense system anyway. I believe the pretense the US is using is counter terrorism, though I’m pretty sure terrorists don’t use intercontinental ballistic missiles and if they did they wouldn’t launch them at Eastern Europe.
This all seems like loose, loose, loose loose, loose and who cares.
Not terrorists but “rogue” nations (i.e. Iran) are the perceived threat. And before Iran or any other Middle Eastern nation will have missiles capable of hitting the continental United States, they will have missiles capable of hitting western Europe. So the defense system is seen as a way of freeing western Europe from nuclear blackmail by a Middle Eastern power with a limited missile capability. As the first full-scale (non-point defense) ABM system ever deployed, it would also be a valuable test bed for trying to develop a more capable “Star Wars” type defense system.
Also, missiles from Iran would pass over central Europe - almost directly over the area where we want to put in defenses.
In addition, the central European states involved like the idea of the defenses being built up because it would strengthen ties with the United States, and they perceive a coming struggle between the US and Russia as a result of Putin’s increasingly nationalistically-based control of Russia. They want to make sure they are on the US’s side in this conflict (not necessarily a military conflict, of course - just a cold period in relations) for obvious economic and geopolitical reasons. The US has simply become vastly more important on the global stage than Russia.
Also, it’s a symbol of increased multilateralism which is sorely needed. Germany and other states in NATO have been complaining for a while that we’ve been too unilateral in our military decisionmaking, and placing defenses in Poland might be seen as a conciliatory gesture which would help us get allies in the future.
The move can also be interpreted as a play by the United States to paint Russia as an aggressive proliferator in contrast to the more peaceful United States which focuses on defensive measures. Russia has been circulating threats to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty which bans development and deployment of ground-based nuclear missiles with ranges from 300 to 3,000 miles.
Most likely, its a combination of all of the above. It has more to do with power politics than anything else.
I believe the suggestion from Putin was to put the missile shield in Azerbaijan, which is on the Caspian see, immediately north of Iran, south of Dagestan (under Russian control) and immediately east of Armenia, which is very cosey with Russia.
Now whilst Azerbaijan is not very friendly with the Russians, the Russians could shut down the bases very very quickly, the country is not large, a 4 hour drive from the Armenian border, and 3 hours from the Dagestan border. They have the place pretty well surrounded.
I do wonder if being too close to the potential launch site decreases the effectiveness of the system by not giving yourself enough reaction time. The further one is from the launch site the longer you have to launch your response. Clearly a balancing issue of response time against leaving it too late and 2 nd line defenses along with the type of threat and technology used in the response.
It’s still a big, big debate. It has in no way been “determined” that it’s useless, especially given many of the space technology advances of the past 20 years. But that whole discussion is for another thread.
1984 called. It wants its outlook back. We have been working on Star Wars the whole time since Reagan but it just broke into bits and pieces. Look at your home technology from the early 80’s and compare them to now. It doesn’t matter what the reports were back then.
It makes me nervous that people seem to be more pre-occupied with terrorists than nuclear war these days. The president still has a “nuclear football” with the launch codes that is right there 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to launch WWIII and cause the end of Western Civilization within minutes. It has come close to happening at least twice already. MAD (mutually assured destruction) is the traditional against nuclear war. If any side, launches, the full U.S. arsenal will launch before the nukes reach the mainland within 30 minutes or so and start a civilization ending nuclear volley.
If any Star Wars system can thwart that scenario in the least then it is worth it.
The problem is that no missile defense system yet tested can actually stop missiles (and yes, I’m talking about current technology, not what we had in Reagan’s day). However, if politicians believe the spun-to-the-point-of-lying hype about the systems, then a Star Wars system just might be able to thwart the deterrent effect of MAD.
But that’s just the point. MAD isn’t a viable scenario anymore, with the decline of the Soviet Union, and the more or less non-enemy status of the Russians. MAD was never a “Anyone launches a nuke, and EVERYONE gets it.” type of deal, except for the fact that the nuclear powers were either NATO or Warsaw Pact.
In today’s age, it just doesn’t work, because of proliferation beyond the old 5 nuclear states. If for example, Pakistan gets riled up and nukes something in the US, the Russians, Chinese and the Europeans don’t have to worry about US warheads hitting them; ours would almost certainly be hitting exclusively Pakistani targets.
What we have to worry about now is some loon getting the authority or ability to launch a nuke from say North Korea or Iran, and trying to smoke somewhere like Seattle or Munich.
They don’t care that the nation that launched it will become toast, in the literal sense of the word, because it’s either more martyrs for the cause, or an acceptable sacrifice to them.
Some kind of missile defense system seems like a reasonable idea to oppose that kind of threat, at least to me.
Personally, I think Putin and the Russians are cranky because over the past couple of decades, they’ve spent the majority of their military $$$ on their strategic missile forces, instead of conventional forces, and a missile defense system nearby would tend to make them feel rather insecure, since it’s a defensive measure aimed specifically against the only real military might they have left. (although it’s not defending against a perceived Russian missile threat)
Later today, I’m going to go over to my neighbors, and inform them that if they get a watchdog, I’m going to buy a gun and keep it loaded, pointed at their house.
That’s pretty much how I view Putin’s stance, anyways.
He is trying to make SuperPower noises, and I think he’s bluffing and knows it. So he’s taking the standard old school Soviet stance of being much more aggressive than he actually has the ability to carry out.
I’ve long been a fan of designing a missle system that can defeat a defense you don’t know the abilities of. That’s pretty cool.
We’re not doing anything that should actually threaten the Russians. These missiles are not offensive, aren’t aimed toward Russia, and would only be used against Russian missiles in the event that they’d be firing them toward Western Europe.
Why would this threaten Putin and the Russians?
I stand by my theory that it’s more of a feeling of inadequacy/marginalization brought on by the possible negation of the only method by which they really have any power.
In simple terms, it’s a thread because we could attack with impunity if we have a proper defense against their attacks. It undermines MAD and gives one side the upper hand. Anyone who’s played a CIV game will tell you that all you can do in that scenario is invade and cross your fingers. Thank OG Putin isn’t playing that fast and loose with lives.
I bolded the problem in your notion. You see its not Russia’s yard anymore; hasn’t been for some time, and the new owners are justifiably both tired of and frightened of Russia’s increasingly nationalistic rhetoric concerning their former holdings in the area. In part I believe that the missile program is a statement to Russia to back off with the imperial political rhetoric concerning the former bloc states.