I know that the accepted wisdom, as put out by the Bush administration and repeated by many stenographers, is that America's plan to place missile shield bases in Eastern Europe is no threat to Russia. I know that the accepted wisdom is that Russia knows this and is using the issue as an excuse to stretch the old bear's muscles.
But if that's the case, why is this happening?
Russia will beef up its missile defence by deploying the long-delayed S-400 Triumph missile system around Moscow later this month, an air force spokesman said Monday. "One division and a command point will be put into combat duty at the end of the month," air force spokesman Alexander Drobyshevsky said, news agency Interfax reported.They've held off strengthening Moscow's ABM defenses for six years, but tested the system in the days immediately before withdrawing from a key arms treaty citing the missile shield plans as provocation.
...The missiles, which were first to be deployed in 2001, are designed to shoot down medium-range ballistic missiles and aircraft from as far away as 400 kilometres (250 miles), twice as far as the US Patriot missile.
Russia and the United States are locked in a heated dispute over missile defence, with Moscow accusing Washington of provoking a "new arms race" with its plans to deploy a missile shield in central Europe.
Russia says the system is a clear threat to Russian security, while Washington insists the system is not aimed at Russia but against potential missile threats from countries such as Iran and North Korea.
Could it be that the Russians have been reading neocon plans to deceive the American people into agreeing to an expansion of the missile shield to include many more bases and even space-based interceptors? You betcha! The Russians know that, where the Heritage Foundation and their like go, the Fourth Branch will convince Bush to follow.