With relations clearly worsening between the U.S. and Putin's Russian government, Bush will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Maine July 1st and 2nd. But whether this will slow the steady movement towards a new Cold War certainly remains to be seen.
Russia has made recent dramatic technological advancements towards new weapons systems including the R500 which has the claimed capability to destroy any U.S. missile system. The R24 is new intercontinental ballistic missiles system just tested only days ago. In addition, tests of the new Iskander missile system was tested on May 29. By the end of 2007, Russia will add the the Bulava strategic missile system as well. There are also plans for a new generation of strategic bombers as well as the recent development of a new hypersonic cruise missile able to outfly current U.S. antimissile systems due to it's terrific speed.
One of the worst aspects of this new arms race on the part of Putin's Russia is the willingness to share some of this new technology with other nations such as Iran. In a new $700 million dollar arms deal with Iran, the Tehran government will purchase 29 TOR M1 anticruise missile defense systems which can also be used to shoot down U.S. aircraft in the event of a conflict with Iran over their nuclear program. These new weapons systems feature advanced computer electronics similar to the U.S. Patriot missile systems in tracking ability.
One of the great dangers of the new Russian weapons is their mobile design, that makes tracking far more difficult compared to many U.S. missiles in well-known fixed silos or positions. The U.S. weapons are far easier for the Russian military to track than the other way around. The Russian ability to quickly launch against American missiles in their silos compares with contradictory Russian military assessments that a first strike by the U.S. could knock out their weapons on one hand, and another report that claims the ability to counter U.S. forces until 2020. Which Russian military intelligence report is right is not known.
Whether this Bush meeting can slow this steady march towards a Cold War will be another important test of the largely failed Bush foreign policy. But this new Cold War represents one of the most serious foreign policy problems so far for the Bush Administration, and certainly one of the the most dangerous problems as well because of the massive amount of destructive power involved.
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