16 August 2008

Using a hornets' nest for a piñata

Take one sensitive international incident, add long-predicted, clumsily-timed antagonism and shake well:
A top Russian general said Friday that Poland's agreement to accept a U.S. missile interceptor base exposes the ex-communist nation to attack, possibly by nuclear weapons, the Interfax news agency reported.

The statement by Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn is the strongest threat that Russia has issued against the plans to put missile defense elements in former Soviet satellite nations.

Poland and the United States on Thursday signed a deal for Poland to accept a missile interceptor base as part of a system the United States says is aimed at blocking attacks by rogue nations. Moscow, however, feels it is aimed at Russia's missile force.

"Poland, by deploying (the system) is exposing itself to a strike — 100 percent," Nogovitsyn, the deputy chief of staff, was quoted as saying.

He added, in clear reference to the agreement, that Russia's military doctrine sanctions the use of nuclear weapons "against the allies of countries having nuclear weapons if they in some way help them." Nogovitsyn that would include elements of strategic deterrence systems, he said, according to Interfax.

Setting aside the dubious efficacy and rationale of this missile shield, exactly how tone-deaf does one have to be to think that this is an opportune time to seal this particular deal? The Russian position on this plan has been no secret, yet when they've already assumed an exceptionally aggressive posture, we respond with a thumb in the eye.

Guess Condi Rice is already phoning it in and looking forward to realizing her daydreams about being commissioner for the NFL, because, if not, it seems reports of her regional expertise have been greatly exaggerated.


Suzanne said...

But the missile defense sheild will be really great if Iran (as it has been screaming) decides to be sassy. I don't think it's a bad idea at all, actually. Perhaps the timing is not great, and perhaps it sends spittle to the face of Russia just a bit, but Russia is being retarded right now. They perhaps deserve a little spittle. AND...they've been granted complete inspection rights for the facility so that they can be sure that it is being used only for the purposes it was originally designated for. Frankly, I don't think it's a bad move on Condi's part...

Verchiel said...

Iran's bluster--however convincing it is or isn't--has been focused on Israel, not Europe.

Compounded by the less than stellar level of performance we've seen in testing our "missile shield" technology, it seems we're looking at a (flawed) solution in search of a problem. At this point, it's doing little more than stirring the pot with the Russians.

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