Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Russians Up The Ante In Missile Shield Mess

Think the Russians aren't pissed by U.S. plans to put a radar station in the Czech Republic and missiles in Poland as part of the tested-but-definitely-not-true anti-missile system? Think again. The Russian bear is beginning to roar, warming the cockles of folks who yearn for the days of the Cold War. On February 8, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov announced plans for drastic increases in the number of ballistic missiles, nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers. The Russian's also plan to quadruple the number of Topol-M missiles. It's all part of a what the Guardian calls a $189 billion 'revamp' of Russia's rusty, and rotting military. The Guardian report partially pegs the Russian military increase to anxiety over Washington's missile defense plans. This weekend, Ivanov is at a big defense-type pow wow in Munich where he's expected to chat with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Ivanov has restated some of Russia's arguments against the 'shield.' A glance at the map shows that Poland and the Czech Republic are in the wrong place to protect the United States from North Korean attack, while a launch from Iran could be brought down in neighboring states, Ivanov said. "It is common knowledge that any missile that is following a ballistic trajectory can be intercepted at the initial booster stage. If it is so... why can't our U.S. partners deploy the system in Iraq, Afghanistan or Turkey?" Ivanov said, according to the AP news agency. Asked if he understood Ivanov's concerns, Gates said "Not really." That's a real quote, folks.

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