Russia certainly had a golden opportunity to help to cool recent tensions with the U.S. by sending some positive signals to the new incoming administration, but instead used the opportunity to ratchet up tensions with a threat to station short range battlefield nuclear missiles near Poland's border in response to the united effort by Poland and the U.S. to station 10 future Missile Interceptors in Poland.
The new post-election comments of Russian President Medvedev (pictured at left) were hardly helpful to improving and cooling recent tensions heightened since the Russian military actions in Georgia during the August Summer Olympics, and hardly sent any olive branch to the new American administration unlike most world governments, and if anything marked yet another example where the Russian government just doesn't appear to be able to judge Western reaction to either their actions or comments.
The cold, hard facts are that right now the U.S. only has 10 operational Missile Interceptors that are all stationed in Alaska at this time despite the U.S. spending more than $100 billion on antimissile experiments and projects since the 1980's STAR WARS proposals of President Ronald Reagan. Russia is known to have at least 4,518 nuclear warheads at this time, but could easily deploy upwards of 8,000 if really needed. And since these Russian missiles heavily use solid rocket fuel propulsion systems, they are more difficult to target and shoot down than liquid fuel based missiles, which makes it likely than only 5 of 4,518 Russian missiles could actually be stopped in the event of any such real nuclear military crisis.
In fact, military experts are convinced that about 16,000 space based Missile Interceptors, not ground based systems, are really needed to stop any serious military threat. However with serious American space vehicle problems such as the very troubled and cash strapped NASA Space Shuttle program, the U.S. hardly has the technology or ability to deploy even one space based Missile Interceptor, let alone 16,000 of these systems.
And once the U.S.starts the weaponization of space, then other nations such as Russia, China, India, Pakistan or many others may follow suit as well. Eventually thousands of space based weapons could fill the heavens. It is a bad road to travel down.
The big task of President Obama will be to prevent these difficult relations with Russia only from worsening and to send signals to the Russians that a new arms race is not a constructive path to follow, and that neither the U.S. or Russian economy should spend hundreds of billions of dollars on such an expensive and dangerous military path such as the weaponization of space or more deployments of missile, either offensive or defensive near the borders of either important Western and Eastern states.
The U.S. major recession is perhaps the most serious economic crisis since the Great Depression, and the recent huge drop in world oil prices will only spell problems from the Russian economy which was so buoyed by the high oil prices in more recent years. Neither economy can really afford the high cost and uncertainly and fear created by a new arms races and some nation needs to step forth with a olive branch to return relations to a more constructive and cooperative point.
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