Monday, May 14, 2007

Do You Think Putin Will Buy This Missile Defense Idea?

Some one please reassure me that this idea of a Missile Defense Shield in Poland is a rational foreign policy gambit on the part of the Cheney-Bush administration.

I want to believe it is. Really, I do. But I have to fess up to not being able to suspend my disbelief on this concept.


In the first place, I've never been a believer in the anti-missile defense project, other than as it functions as a myth deterring attackers. In other words, being able to shoot someone's bullet down out of the sky with your own bullet is not as important as getting other people to believe that you can. I haven't done any research on this, but I think the plausibility of anti-ballistic missile defense has always been a uniquely American obsession. As I recall, the subject of Condi Rice's speech, scheduled for 11-Sept-2001 but never presented or released, was on Star Wars. (Life is what happens when great plans are interrupted.)

This morning the BBC is carrying a story that Condi Rice is carrying someone's coals to Moscow to the effect that the U.S.-proposed missile shield in Poland is necessary to protect Europe from missile attacks from the Middle East? I thought she came into government a specialist in Russian studies. Right? Can she - of all people - believe that she can find Russians stupid enough to fall for this line? The Poles don't, for sure. Neither do the Slovaks. They differ on the issue, but their discussion is all about Russo-European tensions.

So, in desperation I have to ask, is this not just another distortion of rational U.S. foreign policy, spinning off as a derivative of our predicament in I-Rock and I-Ruin? Tell me it ain't so?

16 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Urbanpink said...

My gut tells me that Poland won't want anything to do with a U.S. backed missile program of any kind because I just bet our "gift" would come with other conditions as well. But I just don't know the politics of it.

5/14/2007 09:10:00 AM  
Blogger TomCat said...

I've been following the testing on our missile defense system, and if memory serves, they cave had one or two successful tests compared with over a dozen failures. That isn't very encouraging, especially when they know the precise location, time, target and trajectory of the incoming missile in advance.

5/14/2007 12:44:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

Bush has a problem. Putin is about 5 times smarter than he is.
Obviously this nutso plan is more nonsense, from our Neo-Con crazy friends and is just another money grab, for crooked business interests to plan, and sell it. Then make the American public 'pay' for it.
Huge amounts of Federal spending keep our system on life support.
-This has a really bad ring to it. -Putin is not an idiot. He does not want to be controlled or blackmailed by the U.S. and that is what this is about. Weapons to intimidate, when our arsenal now, can savagely destroy a large portion of the earth.

5/14/2007 06:26:00 PM  
Blogger M.D. said...

Follow the money. The oil's in the bag, time to move on the other forms of war profiteering.

5/14/2007 06:56:00 PM  
Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

Urbanpink,

Talks in the corridors of NATO seem to indicate otherwise, i.e., Poland is happy to house the missiles.

Furthermore, while Vigil may be sceptical about the capability of a missile shield and I do understand him, to my mind, selling to or including Russia in the endevour is a good idea so as not to totally alienate Russia.

We might as well have some sort of "control" over what Russia's defence in that area than none at all... It is important, in my opinion, to get Russia on side.

The biggest threat today to Western way of life, or to peace in the mid and long term is Russia. Europe is gearing for a potentially "dangerous" Russia.

Condi Rice is right to visit Moscow.

Al Qaeda and other home-grown Islamic terrorists may be perceived by Americans as utter bad guys and rightly so but we in Europe are not wary of Russia.

Of course, you don't see Russia talked about in the press as such but there are so many indications - from where I sit - that Russia is "veering" towards a new cold war.

More than ever, Russia watch is very much alive.

5/15/2007 12:42:00 AM  
Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

Oooops,mistake there -

Al Qaeda and other home-grown Islamic terrorists may be perceived by Americans as utter bad guys and rightly so but we in Europe ARE QUITE wary of Russia.

5/15/2007 12:44:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

So, Hills, I guess my nuanced rhetorical question asked earlier was insufficiently clear. So I'll try to clarify it: How many Europeans, continental or insular, see Iran as the biggest threat (requiring the expensive and dubious solution of a missile defense)? And, comparably, how many are more wary of Russia? I think you have answered that.

So, do you see Putin responding to Dr. Rice like this?

"Oh Condi, I'm so glad you came all this distance to explain to me that the missile shield in POLAND is just intended to protect ENGLAND from IRAN/IRAQ and not to ENCIRCLE us Russians! Of course! Now that I understand, I see no problem."

If that's truly Condi's expectation, I'd say she's been hanging around so much with our two-headed head-of-state that she's acquired a dumbed-down projection of other statesmen: if Bush were a Russian president, he'd swallow it, so why wouldn't Putin?

5/15/2007 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger MadMike said...

I just don't get this! Where is the real story? Why would we do this? Why would Putin, and he IS MUCH SMARTER than Dubs, not do some serious squawking about this? Finally, Hillblogger, I have a lot of friends and family in Europe and they all agree with your position. Be VERY WARY of the Russkis.....

5/15/2007 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

Given that Poland gets rolled over most of the times the great powers decided to play international power chess I can see them thinking it might deter a resurgent Russia. But the Russians have always talked that if a missile defense went active they would just build more missile and overwhelm it.
If this European missile defense was something truly designed to stop a rogue attack from the Middle East having the Russians involved would be a must. As it stands now though this issue and NATO expansion just goes to tick the Russians off even more. Making another Cold War more likely.

5/15/2007 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

"The war in Iraq
was conceived by 25
neoconservative intellectuals,
most of them Jewish,
who are pushing President Bush
to change the course of history. "
Ari Shavit Ha’aretz (major Israeli daily) April 5, 2003

From AntiWar.com

A cruel and futile conflict rages in Iraq, and we all know who was behind it. The neoconservatives have been on a global rampage since 9/11, but theirs was not an overnight success: their march from obscurity to the Pentagon and the White House took decades – and plenty of cash. After patiently infiltrating the core institutions of government and the intelligentsia, the neocons dominate both parties and thus the making of policy. Their network of think-tanks, magazines, newspapers, political action committees, and lobbyists now covers Washington, D.C., like a spider's web. Sadly, the Iraq disaster hasn't halted their plans for yet another war.
And guess what ? It is being done on the behest of Israel. Israel controls the born agains such as Bush. Israel wants Iran destroyed like they wanted Iraq destroyed.

5/15/2007 03:04:00 PM  
Anonymous pekka said...

Of course, Russia is a concern to Europe. The question is, what to do about it, or maybe even how to defuse possible dangers associated with her?

Somehow, the old and tried method by reintroducing a Gold War seems so counter productive. Russia, as it is now, is taking a step or two back in her sputtering interest in democracy. To circle her with the heavy "artillery" in the ex satellite, Eastern European states and Asia is spooking majority of the Russians behind the man, President Vladimir Putin, who is promising to protect them by drastically increasing their arms spending. There is more than a hint of provocation what the Bush Administration has been doing lately and it's very hard to see any benefits coming out of it.

The present Polish leader, President Lech Kazynski, is a ultra conservative, Christian Catholic, with over nationalistic tendencies. This delightful creature is also trying to make abortion, under any circumstances, a no go in Poland. Naturally, he would even welcome American nuclear warheads. Now there would be a brilliant move to increase peace on earth!

Nevertheless, we were supposed to have had the new beginning with this West vs. Russia co-existence. We were to reap peace dividents (remember those!) but what we are doing, instead of, is to start the damn arms race all over again. This is simply nuts!

5/16/2007 04:04:00 AM  
Blogger MadMike said...

I agree completely Pekka!

5/16/2007 05:22:00 AM  
Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

Beach Bum, Pekka,

I am with you on your concerns re Russia and a another potential Cold War.

Russia might indeed feel threatened if the former Eastern bloc nations were equipped with missiles directed at her.

I might be very wrong but I don't believe that is what is acutally happening. There may be preparation plans in that direction, i.e., equip NATO member nations, if Russia decides to snub Western nations' efforts to include her in this joint effort but understand that members of NATO are already equipped with 'deterrent' force.

In other words, I believe what is being discussed at the moment is for the INCLUSION of Russia in the missile defence shield - how that is being negotiated is not yet clear.

As I see it, the main aim is NOT to isolate Russia precisely for the reasons you mentioned, i.e., to avoid another Cold War. I do believe that the West (NATO allied nations) are bending over backward in their attempt to convince the Russians to join the project.

We do know however that NATO is or has already set up radar in the Czech Republic outside the city of Brno but are encountering stiff resistance from some groups there; people say that the opposition to the radar is backed by Russia.

Re weapons and armaments build up: The West may halt their build up but I don't think even that will induce Russia to follow suit. This is a very difficult problem to resolve. The bottom line is economics. Russia is as ambitious as the West to dominate the rest of the world market and I tend to believe that they would do anything to have their fair share of the market.

It's up to our leaders to convince the Russians of our 'good faith.' Short of achieving that, your guess will be as good as mine.

5/16/2007 09:25:00 AM  
Blogger skip sievert said...

Our 'good faith'... hillblogger ? I assume you are joking.
Russia is run by a different set of criminal gangs than the United States.
There is no 'good faith' between them.
Or can you imagine Putin being cozy with the Neo-cons?
I don`t think so.
The Russians provide a good reality check for the West presently.

5/16/2007 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

Skip,

You get the gist.

5/16/2007 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger HILLBLOGGER said...

By the way, Vigil, it might interest you to know that John Bolton has been making the media rounds here, saying "We must attack Iran before it gets the bomb!"

Read the story in The Telegraph:
'Attack Iran before it gets the bomb'
Iran should be attacked before it develops nuclear weapons, America's former ambassador to the United Nations has said.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/05/16/wbolton16.xml

5/16/2007 05:56:00 PM  

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