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  • U.S. and NATO Should Reject Russian Demands on Missile Defense

    According to The New York Times, Russia is seeking written guarantees that missile defense systems deployed in Europe by the U.S. and NATO in the future will not threaten Russia. The U.S., NATO, and Russia are in the midst of negotiations regarding the broader topic of missile defense cooperation.

    On the face of it, it would appear that the Russian demand is reasonable, because missile defense systems are not offensive and inherently pose no threat to the territory of any state. Surface appearances, however, are deceiving—because Russian statements last year, specifically in the context of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), define missile defense systems as a “threat” to Russia if they are capable of countering Russian offensive missiles. On this basis, the U.S. and NATO should reject the Russian demand for written assurances.

    There are two reasons why the U.S. and NATO should reject this Russian demand. The first has to do with finding new, post-Cold War foundations for strategic stability. The second has to do with the capabilities of missile defense systems to handle a variety of different threats.

    1. 1. Post-Cold War Stability. During the Cold War, the U.S. and the Soviet Union (at least rhetorically) determined that maintaining strategic stability between the two adversaries was best achieved by keeping both sides vulnerable to nuclear attacks by the other. This policy of mutual vulnerability was based on two salient characteristics of the Cold War. First, the U.S. and the Soviet Union were ideological and political adversaries. The second was that the two countries were the dominant powers in a bipolar world. Russia’s current demand that U.S. and NATO missile defense capabilities not pose a threat to Russia represents an attempt to extend this Cold War concept. This would be wrong-headed. The U.S., NATO, and Russia are no longer ideological adversaries, and there is no reason that these relationships should be based on mutual threats. Besides, it is no longer a bipolar world. The relatively simple and straightforward concept for maintaining stability through vulnerability is overwhelmed by the complexities of a proliferated world. What was deemed to be stabilizing during the Cold War is becoming increasingly destabilizing as nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them proliferate. The U.S., NATO, and Russia need to establish a new concept for stability based on defending themselves against the means of strategic attack.
    2. 2. Defending Against Non-Russian Missiles. The second reason the U.S. and NATO should reject the Russian demand involves the inherent requirements for creating effective missile defenses. If defenses are effective against non-Russian missile threats, they will be at least marginally effective against Russian missiles. The U.S. and Russia went down this path of attempting to segregate missile defenses for countering non-Russian missiles and Russian missiles in the 1990s. These agreements were referred to as demarcation agreements, where missile defenses deemed to be effective against Russian missiles were sharply limited, and those for countering missiles from non-Russian sources were left unrestricted. These demarcation agreements were never brought into force, because the U.S. Congress found that the Clinton Administration was accepting limits on the capabilities of missile defense systems for countering missiles outside Russia to ensure that they had no spill-over capability to counter Russian missiles. Leaving the U.S. and NATO vulnerable to Russian missiles would mean that they would also be leaving themselves vulnerable to missiles from other sources.

    For these reasons, U.S. and NATO negotiators need to drive Russia toward a different agreement on missile defense cooperation. This agreement should reaffirm the right of all sides to defend themselves against strategic attacks to the best of their abilities, based on the principle of non-aggression. This agreement would permit the U.S. and NATO to accept an assurance that the missile defense systems not be directed against or pose any kind of threat to the territory of any country, including Russia. Achieving this kind of agreement necessarily means rejecting the current Russian demand.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to U.S. and NATO Should Reject Russian Demands on Missile Defense

    1. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Baker Spring, it is baffling why we are even talking about the possibility of limiting our Defensive Missiles! The Russians are still Russians, ya know! They have a Gangster Government, and now with Obama we have a Gangster Government! It doesn't mean we are on the same side, exactly. The First Communist American Government does have a lot in common with the Failed Communist Russian Government! Nevertheless, they are nothing like friends. I think New START is Obama pandering to his underground political base. Yes! Obama is a Third Generation Communist! Yes! Obama stole his election! Yes Obama is the Domestic Enemy everybody has sworn Oaths to defend us against! But, NO. Nobody would actually think of defending America against his Dictatorship.

      Our National Security apparatus is a perfect joke when it comes to the Domestic Enemy! It was funny when they said "We have met the enemy! He is ourselves!" Not because America is a bad country. It was funny because the Domestic Enemy took over our Government! It must have been hard for Government Employees to know "What Does My Oath Mean?" We let Russia get Superiority in Tactical Nukes! That is the way Nuclear War will be fought, so we get nothing for our slight advantage in Strategic Nukes in a 'security' pledge to not Defend Ourselves! That is as mad as the MAD Doctrine! What is Russia going to do? Roll up the paper and hit us with it?

      I think we should elect Presidents who are actually loyal to America! But, you know, I am so extreme! Don't anybody listen to me. The truth actually is hateful. Obama must be Impeached for the Rule Of Law to have any meaning whatsoever! "Don't worry! We are all Socialists now!" Oh! I get it! Defense is Surrender! But that isn't what it says in the Constitution! "Darn it Elena Kagan! Can't we just get rid of that 'old thing?'" And of course the answer is, don't worry, the Constitution has never stopped us before!

    2. Volkov says:

      How much can you berate and denigrate Russia? You are not tired of this policy? You are never going to intimidate us. Maybe it's time to extend a hand of friendship and partnership?

    3. Clint says:

      The system does not work.

      The system has never been tested against decoys or countermeasures.

      Aegis cruisers cannot fire SM-3s when the sea is rough: let's hope Iran does not decide to launch something at NATO when there is a storm in Europe.

      We should kill missile defense because it does not work, not because the Russians are pissed about it.

      Oh, and it is expensive. Since when were conservatives so in favor of wasting tax dollars?

      Feel free to censor at the country's peril. Or better, respond. I will check back.

    4. Nidaros says:

      I think that hardly what the missile defense system would be able to resist the power of the Russian nuclear potential. This is absurd! If only one of the nuclear powers show an act of nuclear aggression and we will see the end of the world.

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