The West is scared shitless that Russia can knock out its vaunted “missile defence” with conventional countermeasures. A 9K720 Iskander SRBM or two would put paid to NATO’s fixed radar sites and permanent interceptor silos… with no practical warning. That scares the bejeezus out of the NATO aggressors… hence, the present bluster and implied threat. That’s ALWAYS a sign of weakness and sneakiness…
On Monday, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that any deployment by the Kremlin of tactical weapons to protect against a planned US-led missile shield in Europe would squander funds that Russia could be use to improve its living standards. He said in a video link-up from NATO headquarters in Brussels, “I have to say that it would be a complete waste of money to deploy offensive weapons against an artificial enemy… an enemy that doesn’t exist in the real world. This money would be much better spent on economic and social development”. Rasmussen’s comments come less than a week after outgoing President Dmitri Medvedev said Moscow was preparing a host of countermeasures to tackle NATO missile defence, including forward deployments of tactical Iskander missiles in its Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad Oblast. Last week, Medvedev also said that time was “running out” for talks on the shield, which Russia sees a threat to its national security. However, at talks in Seoul on Monday, he told US President Barack Obama, “Dialogue on the topic isn’t only possible, but necessary”. On Monday, the White House said Russia and NATO were unlikely to come to an agreement this year.
NATO said that it designed its shield to protect against “rogue states” such as Iran and North Korea. However, negotiations between Russia and NATO member states on the US-led missile defence project have deadlocked over the West’s reluctance to give Moscow legally–binding guarantees that it wouldn’t use the shield against it. On Monday, Rasmussen reiterated NATO verbal pledges that it didn’t intend to use its shield against its Cold War-era adversary, saying, “The anti-missile shield isn’t directed against Russia, nor designed to attack Russia or undermine what Russia calls its strategic deterrent. We consider the missile threat a real threat and we want to protect our populations in NATO member states”. He also repeated calls for Russia to join the shield project, saying, “The best way for Russia to ensure transparency would be to cooperate”. On Friday, Medvedev, who steps down in May, said that NATO member states “keep telling us, ‘The shield’s for you’. However, how should we use it?” Russia doesn’t share the West’s concern over Iran’s nuclear programme, whilst both Medvedev and President-elect Vladimir Putin have said that NATO designed the shield to give it the edge in the strategic nuclear balance.
Sergei Oznobishchev, of Moscow’s Institute of World Economics and International Relations, said, “However, Russia’s reaction to the shield project has been overemotional. It’s nervous because it isn’t involved in dialogue as a real partner”. Russia said the USA failed to take into account Moscow’s concerns over the deployment of the shield on its doorstep. Nevertheless, experts cast doubt on the effectiveness of any Russian response to the shield. Vladimir Yevseyev of the Moscow-based Centre for Socio-Political Studies said, “Russia has nothing to counter the missile shield with. It needs a credible response”.
Rasmussen said he would meet Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin “as soon as possible after his inauguration”, which is set for 7 May. The NATO head also praised US-Russian cooperation on “Afghanistan and Somali piracy”. Moscow announced groundbreaking plans in February to allow the US and other NATO member-states to use a Russian air base in the Volga city of Ulyanovsk as a hub for transits to and from Afghanistan. The decision provoked protests in Ulyanovsk, the birthplace of Vladimir Lenin. Rasmussen said, “We have no intention to establish a base in Russia. This is a pragmatic arrangement which allows us to transport non-lethal weapons and troops to benefit our operation in Afghanistan”.
26 March 2012
It’s interesting to note that RIA-Novosti often digs up pro-Western voices to post on articles aimed at an Anglosphere audience. It’s not so evident in Russian-language posts aimed at the Sov space (and the Orthosphere in general). As I said, it’s an interesting wrinkle. As for Rasmussen, he’s an extremist rightwinger. He’s a member of the rightwing Venstre Party (they are Neoliberal laissez-faire nutters), and he was Danish Prime Minister in a coalition that included the even more radical Conservative People’s Party and Danish People’s Party. He’s an advocate of Bush-style tax cuts and slashing the social safety net (that’s failed, by the way), and he’s an acrid and noisome Muslim-baiter. That’s to say, Rasmussen makes Rick Santorum look leftist, so, anything out of his mouth’s suspect and without foundation. He’s a real Danish “Rush Limbaugh”, if you catch my drift. NATO’s concerned because the flight of the Iskander is so short that no countermeasures can be taken against it… save a pre-emptive strike against its TEL. In short, Russia could destroy NATO’s “missile defence” without NATO having a reasonable counter. That’s what scares Rasmussen, hence his typical hubristical rightwing bluster. Bet on “RED”…
Oh, yes… Rasmussen didn’t mention that the trillions squandered by the USA on “missile defence” were a contributing factor in the 2008 Great Bush Depression (that would mean criticising Slobberin’ Ronnie’s crackbrained notions… oh, the humanity!). By the way… missile defence still doesn’t work, but the major defence contractors all agree… “Just give us a few trillion more and we’ll probably get the bugs out”… in a pig’s arse, I say. Don’t forget that the “rogue state” that has tossed bombs all over the world since 1991 isn’t Iran or North Korea… my, my, my, it’s the USA isn’t it? You forget that the Axis of Evil is headquartered in the boardrooms of Corporate America at your own peril. All hail Fox News, the Koch brothers, and Citizens United… they’ve got your best interests at heart, dontcha know… they’ll get a new McMansion, and you (you ungrateful and spiteful bastard) had best be content with the scraps that they throw you, or you’ll disappear into the Guantánamo gulag.