Russia test fired a new ICBM yesterday.
As you would expect, the western press – particularly in the UK – are muttering darkly about the new Cold War and a renewed arms race (see the Express and Guardian, for examples).
I was more interested by the following comment from First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov though:
“As of today Russia has new missiles that are capable of overcoming any existing or future missile defence systems. In terms of defence and security, Russia can look calmly to the country’s future.”
As Russia now has an unbeatable nuclear deterrent we can clearly expect it to stop worrying about America’s piffling missle shield defences.
No, seriously, mark my words… from today onwards the Russian government won’t make a single complaint about the US missile defence bases in Eastern Europe.
Or maybe not.
I am quite certain that they will continue to express concerns over the bases in Eastern Europe because this is a continual creep of NATO into Russia’s historical area of influence. Plus, eastern Europe has always made a nice buffer between Russia and the rest of European influence and armies.
It’s sort of amusing: how can Ivanov claim that the missiles are capable of getting past “any existing or FUTURE missile defence systems”? I wonder if the crystal ball he has is as accurate in regards to his presidential bid as it is predicting the future of military technology.
The Russians know perfectly well that these proposed shield sites are not in a geographic position to shoot down Russian missiles – if that was the purpose, they would be better suited to set it up in the UK (ABMs need a lot more time to get out of the silos). I think it would have been very interesting if the Russians agreed to the offer to jointly develop the shield – it seems about time they called a bluff.
The russian argument, as I understand it, is that having such sophisticated radars much closer to russia allows the US/NATO to ‘see’ much further in to Russia and in more detail. This would give them an advantage of being able to ‘monitor’ russian military tests of, and including ICBMs which in turn could be used for developing counter-measures etc.
The second point is, much like the promise that NATO wouldn’t expand, is that there may only be a few ‘interceptors’ at first, but politica l change and nothing would stop many more being introduced – the thin end of the wedge argument, if you will.
Japan will get modified naval Aegis missile defense destroyers that have been far more successful than the land based efforts against N. Korea. No mention is made (or none that I have come across) if such ships based in the Med between Greece and Turkey or even better, in the Black Sea (have a look on Google Earth) would be more effective at catching any possible ‘threat’ from Iran earlier. If this is possible, then bases in Cz & Po are really not necessary and are, as the Russians are alleging, for ‘other reasons’…
Though I’ve just realized that military vessels aren’t allowed to transit the Bosphorus (the Vargyag spent a good year and a half or so being towed around in circles before Turkey allowed it to be delivered to the Chinese).
In one report, it said the missile was launched from ‘north of Moscow’ and came down ‘in an unihabited area north of Japan’.
Hopefully they remember some of us do actually live here.
“…test fired from the northwest Arkhangelsk region and which hit its target in the Pacific Ocean 6,000 kilometres (3,700 miles) away.”
Meanwhile, Lithuania is terrified of a future missile strike against their country:
“Our country needs these systems. There is a threat that in some years unstable countries will get the technical capability to attack. The world must restrain this process,” Lithuanian Defence Minister Juozas Olekas said during a visit to Moldova, another former Soviet republic…”
“Children of the Revolution” or “Get it on”???