The cold war has officially restarted, according to the Russian foreign minister.
Sergei Lavrov said that "strategic stability" was being damaged by America's plans to erect a "Son of Star Wars" shield able to shoot down enemy missiles.No doubt there's a bunch of neocons and Bush supporters out there ready, willing and able to catapult the propoganda that the US ballistic missile defense, being designed to have only a small amount of interceptors on standby, is no threat to Russia's massive arsenal.
Elements of the system will be based in Poland and the Czech Republic, two former Soviet satellite states.
"I think that those who are professionally aware of this problem understand that there is nothing ludicrous about this issue because the arms race is starting again," he said. "Strategic stability is being damaged."
Mr Lavrov was speaking at a conference in Potsdam, Germany over the future of Kosovo - one of many issues currently causing friction between Russia and the West.
The ballistic missile tested yesterday would be able to "overcome any existing or future missile defence system", Sergei Ivanov, the first deputy prime minister, said.
Launched at the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia, it can be armed with up to 10 warheads and is designed to evade missile defence systems, the Russian defence ministry said.
President Putin and Mr Ivanov, a former defence minister seen as a potential candidate to succeed Mr Putin next year, have repeatedly said Russia would continue to improve its nuclear weapons systems and respond to US plans to deploy a missile defence system in Europe.
But wait - the Russian's can read as well as anyone - and they've no doubt been reading the ideas those self-same neocons and Bush supporters have for the future. Take for example the influential neoconservative Heritage Foundation think-tank. Any bold emphasis is mine.
This is no time for the U.S. to slow the pace of developing and deploying effective defenses against ballistic missiles. Indeed, the Bush Administration and Congress need to accelerate the effort by focusing on developing and deploying the systems that offer the greatest capability.The plans, in other words, require Aegis-equipped vessels or platform loaded with interceptors stationed just off America's coast and "Brilliant Pebbles" constellations of space-based interceptors in clear violation of international treaties on weaponizing space. The Heritage Foundation's view is that the US populace should be deceived about this by doublespeak - a propoganda campaign to say that since ballistic missiles already cross into space, space is already weaponized and so hanging a whole bunch of new weaponry in orbit won't make a difference - while extra money is poured into space-based weaponry.
A detailed proposal for proceeding with the most effective systems was issued by the Independent Working Group on missile defense in June 2006. The report specifically refers to space-based and sea-based defenses as the most effective components of the layered missile defense system design advocated by the Bush Administration. While the sea-based systems have continued to make progress in recent years, the effort to develop and deploy space-based interceptors has languished.
...on May 20, 2003, the White House released a description of a presidential directive signed earlier by President Bush that related to his policy for developing and deploying a layered missile defense system as soon as possible to defend the people and territory of the United States, U.S. troops deployed abroad, and U.S. allies and friends. When fielded, this layered defense will be able to intercept ballistic missiles in the boost (ascent), midcourse, and terminal phases of flight.
Russia isn't a guilt-free state by a long chalk, and it isn't my purpose today to apologize for its many failings - but as Putin pointed out yesterday as he asserted that the new US missile defense systems will turn Europe back into a confrontational frontline between two great powers, "Let's not talk as if on one side we are dealing with pure, white and fluffy partners and on the other side with a monster that has just left the forest." The Bush administration and its neocon think-tankers know full well how dangerously destabillizing their entire plan is to Russia's deterrent and thus to the old Cold War balance of power, and are busily engaged in misdirection about the facts to conceal them from the public.