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Posts Tagged ‘Putin’

Defending a country against an attack by ballistic missiles is very difficult. That was clearly demonstrated during the first Gulf War when Saddam Hussein started firing ballistic missiles at Israel.  Remember that? The U.S. quickly moved in Patriot antimissile systems and they did a fine job of hitting and destroying the missiles that were in ballistic flight towards Israel.  However, the failed to stop the warheads. The warheads, which were also in ballistic flight, just kept coming and they hit their targets.  Very few, if any, warheads were intercepted.

Remember when Ronald Reagan began the “Star Wars” missile defense program?  The idea was to shoot interceptors at the (presumably Soviet) warheads while they were out in space, in ballistic flight.  It was termed “hitting a bullet with a bullet”.  It’s not an easy thing to do. The U.S. has spent a lot of time and effort to try to develop such a capability, and it appears that we now have some capability with the Navy’s new system.  This system, however, is not the one that President Bush wanted to position in Eastern Europe on the border with Russia – much to the consternation of Vladimir Putin.

The question one might ask is why was Putin so upset?  Wasn’t it a good idea to protect the U.S. from long range Iranian nuclear missiles? Maybe. The problem is that Iran has neither nuclear weapons nor long range missiles.  On the other hand, Russia does.  So what? Well, until now the nuclear peace has been preserved by a sort of understanding between the super powers. It’s called Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD).  It has worked because each side knew that if it attacked the other, a return attack would be on the way in moments.  Each side would be incinerated.  Thus was the peace kept.

The problem with the Bush plan was that placing missile interceptors so close to Russia might also allow the U.S. to shoot down Russian missiles when they are launched. So what? Isn’t that good? No.  Not if we are still playing by the rules of MAD, because that might allow the U.S. to launch a first strike against Russia and then intercept the missiles that the Russians launch in reply. This would destroy the balance of power.  Clearly, this made Mr. Putin very unhappy, while President Bush pretended not to understand the issue.  This effort to place a very sophisticated missile tracking radar and interceptor missiles on the Russian border, while Iran had absolutely no capability to launch a nuclear attack against the U.S. was a very dangerous and destabilizing policy.  Bush was a madman to pursue it.  What was President Bush thinking?

The latest move by President Obama to cancel President Bush’s plans and to position U.S. Navy interceptors near Iran to protect Israel makes much more sense. These are not a threat to Russia, but they do provide credible protection for Israel.  It will undoubtedly make Iran unhappy; however, if Iran truly means no harm to Israel then it won’t affect them.  On the other hand, if it defeats their plans for a massive attack on Israel, so much the better. The fact that these missiles can also provide a shield for other Middle Eastern countries is also a great, stabilizing benefit.

Besides the benefits that will accrue to peace loving countries in the Middle East, President Obama’s move will also pave the way for the restoration of more friendly ties with Russia, a move that will certainly be welcomed by the sane citizens of America.  Until President Bush made the awful mistake of attempting to place short range interceptors on Russia’s border, the world was enjoying a relative period of peace and detante – not good news for the defense contractors and their lobbyists, and the U.S. lawmakers who get rich on the “contributions” from the lobbyists, but good news for everyone else in the world.

President Obama made a very sensible decision based upon the scientific facts and capabilities of all the countries involved.  He also made a courageous move towards creating a friendly relationship with Russia.  Remember when we were all afraid of “Red China” and the possibility of nuclear war with that country?  It wasn’t all that long ago.   Now China is a major trading partner of the U.S.  Our economy probably couldn’t function without our interaction with China.  Perhaps the same thing may happen some day with Russia too. At least this is a start.

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There are times when I just don’t understand our American news media. I find myself wondering if some of them have morphed into nothing more than propaganda arms of the Bush administration and the others have become the propaganda arms of the opposition to the Bush administration.  Whatever happened to just straight reporting of the news? Here’s a case in point: did you hear that the Russian government conducted a massive test of its intercontinental ballisitic missiles on Sunday? The launches were part of the largest Russian war games in the last twenty years. Did you hear or see anything about this on television or in our newspapers? Why has the American news media given this a big “So What”?

On Sunday, the Russian military conducted the launch of three long range Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), two of which were launched from submarines. One of these traveled 7,145 miles (a new distance record according to the Russians) and landed in the mid-Pacific region, near the equator – the first time the Russians have ever launched a missile to that location.  The news of the near simultaneous launch of three nuclear-capable ICBMs was reported by the French News Agency, Agence France-Presse (AFP), and contained quotations by Russian Defense analyst Pavel Felgenhauer, a columnist for the opposition newspaper Novaya Gazeta.  Felgenhauer wrote that “This was a dry run for a war with the United States.”

Wait a minute!  I thought that George Bush had looked into the eyes of Vladimir Putin and saw that they were on the same wavelength. What ever happened to detente? Could it be that Vladimir Putin looked into George Bush’s eyes and didn’t like what he saw?  Is this why Russia is now overtly forming a military relationship with Venezuela? Is this why two Russian Tupolev-162 strategic bombers, each of which can carry 12 cruise missiles armed with 200 megaton nuclear warheads, carried out exercises with Venezuela last month? What is going on, and why has our news media decided to give these events essentially no coverage?

According to the AFP, Russia, and Vladimir Putin, are alarmed about the U.S. plan to place our most sophisticated missile tracking radar and interceptor missiles on the border with Russia while claiming that they are  really there to protect against an attack on the U.S. from Iran (which has absolutely no ICBM capability).  Putin is also, no doubt, aware of the Bush Doctrine (the one that Sarah Palin is clueless about) that states that the U.S. reserves the right to make a preemptive strike against a country if we think we are in imminent danger.  Not only did Bush define this doctrine; he used it to attack Iraq – half a world away from the U.S. Imagine the worry in the U.S. if Russia had created a similar doctrine and used it to justify an attack on Canada or Brazil. Would we be a little concerned?

Vladimir Putin seems to be afraid – very afraid, and from the way the U.S. is behaving under George Bush, he probably should be.  George Bush showed that he has no regard for the United Nations or international law when he attacked Iraq.  George Bush launched a massive, unprovoked, and unjustified attack on Iraq and now he is placing a very advanced missile tracking radar and ICBM interceptor missiles on Russia’s doorstep. He has declared that he has the right to preemptive strike and abandoned the long standing policy that kept the peace for many years between the USA and the USSR. It was called Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), and while there were tensions between the countries, MAD worked because neither country endorsed the principle of preemptive strike.  Until now.

The recent ICBM tests by Russia clearly show that our relationship with Russia has deteriorated to a new and very dangerous level, a level seemingly beyond the comprehension of George Bush and beyond the interest of our news media.  I realize that our presidential election process generates news every day and the world economic meltdown (directly attributable to the now thoroughly-discredited, Republican theory of trickle-down economics) is on everyone’s mind.  However, doesn’t it seem that someone should be paying a little more attention to Putin’s growing anxiety?

If you look into his eyes, he looks pretty serious.

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