Monday, February 04, 2008

Poland Agrees Missile Defense Sites In Principle

By Cernig

The Polish government has agreed in principle to allowing US missile interceptors to be based in their country - and Russia has threatened an "atomated response" to any launch.
Under the agreement, announced by Poland's foreign minister, Radek Sikorski, America will help bolster Polish air defences in return for permission to place 10 interceptor missiles on the country's Baltic seaboard.

"There is still a great deal of work for our experts," said Mr Sikorski on his first trip to Washington since Poland's centre-right government came to power in November. "But yes, I am satisfied that the principles that we have argued for have been accepted."
I'm guessing that the Poles are gambling that the Iranian threat is nothing like a real one, and in return for hosting US paranoia they will receive all kinds of military largesse. It's probably a good bet - but the bear on the horizon isn't happy. Russia sees the US anti-missile program as a threat to their own nuclear deterrent.
Russia's ambassador to Belgium said last week the programme could trigger an inadvertent nuclear holocaust.

"The trajectory of any American missile from Poland would be south-south-east and the speed would be very high," Vadim Lukov said at a seminar in Brussels. "In this situation any notion of an early warning evaporates. Poland is just six and a half minutes from Moscow and in this situation the Russians would rely on an automated response. I am sure you may all well imagine the unfortunate consequences."
Whoops, Apocalypse! Of course, to the religious nuts haunting the GOP and the White House, this might be a feature rather than a bug.

As for Condi Rice, she's in "flat-out lying" mode:
US officials have tried to soothe Russian fears, saying the system would be impotent against Russia's huge nuclear arsenal. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice later played down its links to the programme known as Star Wars, originally conceived under Ronald Reagan, which was intended to deflect missiles fired by the Soviet Union.

"This is not that programme," she said. "This is not the son of that programme. This is not the grandson of that programme."
There isn't a single person who knows how much the neoconservative lobby has influenced this administration, and who reads neocon position papers on their think-tank websites, who believes that. The neocons want space-based interceptors next, the old "Brilliant Pebbles" program resurected. The Russians certainly read these reports and their reaction to Condi's lying can be easily guessed at.

So here's the calculus - is it worth tempting mutally assured destruction when, even if the Iranians do lob a missile at Europe, the instant an interceptor launches the Russians will join in with an "automated" launch of their own? I think the answer is an obvious no. Either the Bushies and neocons are still living in their own reality where the rules of blowback don't apply to them or they know this is all window dressing for extending US instead of Russian influence in Eastern Europe.

(H/t Kat)

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