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Russia Sends Chilly Signals To New Administration

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.

524px-Medvedev.jpgThe 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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Comments (3)

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Medvedev is cut from the same cloth as McCain. It should come as no surprise that "change" came to the U.S. long before it came to Russia, but Russia will follow eventually, shedding its image as the Bear and reinventing itself for the 21st century.

Look for "Obama-like" change to sweep the world over the next several years as the world's citizens follow our lead in choosing and supporting less-confrontational leaders who are aligned with Obama's approach towards diplomacy.

The citizens of the world aren't interested in war - it's the political and religious leaders of the world who seek out conflict.

In the meantime, old-school leaders like Medvedev will see the weakening U.S. economy as an opportunity to exploit -- as if Russia could afford to ratchet up an arms race.

But I saw Bush's desire to place weapons in eastern europe as a sign of aggression, so I wasn't surprised at the reaction it got from Putin.

Obama had the skillz to dampen this fire. If there isn't a defensive need for the missiles there he'll back them off. If there is he'll smooth things over.

We've elected a thinking diplomat to replace the schoolyard bully we had before. The world will change right along with us.

Paul, your nuance is way WAY off (though to your credit, it's usually on). What did you expect Russia was going to say? The "cold hard facts" are that, because we've signed agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic to deploy missile defense architecture, Russia is ##$# TERRIFIED. They feel like the U.S. has backed them into a corner these last eight years, and they're not wrong. Clinton once gave guarantees to Russia that no area that was formerly part of the Soviet Union would ever be admitted into NATO--yet this past August, we were practically threatening to go to war with Russia over those corrupt little bastards in Georgia. How do you think what we've been doing looks in Moscow? How would we regard it if Russia talked about getting involved in Canada (i.e., our backyard)? By sending a tough message right after the election, Russia is signaling the line they'll bring to the negotiating table. But they're also, I suspect, signaling that they are very ready to negotiate.

You're right on the overall weaponization of space issue, though.


Well, I'm pleased to know that bad relations aren't going to be all OUR fault anymore.



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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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