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Obama and Missile Defense

A week after declaring his intentions to position Iskander tactical missiles in Kaliningrad region in response to US missile defense plans for Europe, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev lays out his terms (Reuters):
But we are ready to abandon this decision to deploy the missiles in Kaliningrad if the new American administration, after analyzing the real usefulness of a system to respond to 'rogue states', decides to abandon its anti-missile system.

We are ready to negotiate a 'zero option'. We are ready to reflect on a system of global security with the United States, the countries of the European Union and the Russian Federation.
Obama can expect pull in the other direction by the US Missile Defense Agency, whose outgoing Director Lt. Gen. Trey Obering argues missile defense technology may be farther along than the President-Elect believes (CNNPolitics.com):
Our testing has shown not only can we hit a bullet with a bullet, we can hit a spot on the bullet with a bullet. The technology has caught up.  What we have discovered is, a lot of those folks that have not been in this administration seem to be dated in terms of the program. They are kind of calibrated back in the 2000 timeframe.
Jeff Lindemyer links to two articles that offer a view of what Obama’s stance on missile defense was during the campaign at Nukes of Hazard.

See also from Atlantic Review:
* Is Russia a Superpower?  Cold War II?
* United States and Poland Agree on Missile Defense Deal
* Georgia Conflict Gives Boost to European Missile Defense Talks

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Don S on :

Obama's problems have begun two months before he takes the oath of office. If Medvedev's intent is to initiate a productive, cooperative relationship with the new President I suspect this is not the best way to go about it. Assuming that it's not Medvedev putting the best face on policy made by Putin, which would seem to be likely. It's possible that the anti-missile site in Poland was one of those Bush adminitration initiatives which Obama wishes to reverse. The problem is that by making this threat Russia puts Obama in a position where he almost has to go forward with the deployment. This is an obvious effort to roll the new President before he can get his feet under him with no subtlety at all. I predict that Obama ignores it. It's not good for either Obama or Medvedev. Obama doesn't need to be rolled by the Russians, and this makes Medvedev appear to be Putiun's mouthpiece, nothing more. Which is what he is right now, of course.

Kevin Sampson on :

That'll work for now, but if the Russians do jam the radar once it becomes operational, ignoring it won't be an option.

Don S on :

Kevin, I had not heard about this possibility. Has this been threatened, and would it be easy to do?

Kevin Sampson on :

Yes, Medvedev announced that equipment to jam the radar would also be deployed to Kalinengrad at the same press conference he announced deployment of the missiles. As to it's feasibility, I don't really know. As I understand it the radar will look south, not east, and phased-array radars have almost no side lobes to get into. Still, I wouldn't bet the farm. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7710362.stm

Joe Noory on :

It may not matter. The US has an early warning satellite array.

Kevin Sampson on :

They rely on IR sensors. Of no use for missile guidance.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Kevin makes an interesting point about Russian jamming. We have a global early warning system but that only applies to Missile Defense that targets the "Boost Phase" of a missile launch. We have airborne and naval systems that claim to be able to intercept during the boost phase, but that has nothing to do with the anti-missile systems that will be based in Central Europe. Rather, the Central European systems will target missiles in the orbital (or glide/ballistic) phase, or the terminal (atmosphere re-entry) phase. For this, a powerful phased-array radar is needed, since IR satellites become a lot less effective once the rocket motor stops making that nice, bright flame. Our radars have gotten really, really smart at avoiding jamming. Also it would be hard to sustain jamming for any amount of time; our (non-nuclear) "anti-radiation" missiles are really good at hunting down and destroying sources of radar waves. Even if the Central European ground-based radar is jammed, the anti-missile system will almost certainly be networked so it can use any alternate radars that may be are available. This alternate radar could be airborne; possibly it could even be located on a ship in the Eastern Med or in the Black Sea, if we are talking about missiles coming towards Europe from the south. So, Russian jamming probably wouldn't defeat missile defense, but it would make it more expensive and harder to operate and reduce the margin of protection it provides. Besides, the Russian brag about jamming may be mostly for internal consumption. They made a similar brag in 2003, when they claimed they would be jamming our GPS-guided bombs in Iraq. Supposedly, we destroyed their GPS jammers with...wait for it...a GPS bomb.

Marie Claude on :

um, seems that the money crisis is doing well for burrying the war hatchet, bye bye missiles projections for both sides, not yet finalised but on the way, Im expecting some difficulties with the tchec presidency, how can that be possible that this small country can lead the EU when she even doesn't have the euros ? Im also expecting an UK-France-Germany-Russia cooperation out side the lines

Kevin Sampson on :

‘Our radars have gotten really, really smart at avoiding jamming. Also it would be hard to sustain jamming for any amount of time; our (non-nuclear) "anti-radiation" missiles are really good at hunting down and destroying sources of radar waves.’ But the ABM system in Europe is oriented on a southerly threat axis, not east. It is configured to intercept missiles from the Middle East, not Russia. So the question is, do we want to be in the position of having to attack Russia in order to defend ourselves from an Iranian launch? ‘Even if the Central European ground-based radar is jammed, the anti-missile system will almost certainly be networked so it can use any alternate radars that may be are available. This alternate radar could be airborne; possibly it could even be located on a ship in the Eastern Med or in the Black Sea, if we are talking about missiles coming towards Europe from the south.' There are no other radars planned. The X-band radar the ABM system uses is purpose built for this single application.

John in Michigan, USA on :

"do we want to be in the position of having to attack Russia in order to defend ourselves from an Iranian launch?" That's a great question. Do the Russians really want to put themselves at even the slightest risk of a nuclear retaliation, in order to support an Iranian nuclear strike?

Marie Claude on :

the battle for pentagon head is on, also determining for the next policy Gates or not Gates, seems that he has still credit, depends on the leftiest supporters, streets riots ???? http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1108/15512.html

Joe N. on :

Having heard a long, droning criticism number 2743 of GWB the other day on German TV, it alluded ignorantly to the "hostility" of the president being the commander-in-chief, as if Bush was the only president ever who was called the commander in chief. The opinionated bufoon went on-and-on in complete ignorance of the significance of making a civilian elected leader of the military, and not a Gemeral, or as you seem to have had implied to you, the Secretary of Defense. MC - the news whoever on France 2 or whatever source is pretending to look like they know what they're talking about is that [b]the Secretary of Defense DOES NOT make policy.[/b]

Marie Claude on :

WTF, france 2 has to do here ? where is my link toward it ? get a clue, the news aren't only coming from one single place, and or politically oriented like you seems to refer yourself

Joe Noory on :

The question is almost a moot one. Medvedyev's previous handling of the EU in discussions over Georgia indicate suspicion at his capacity to act in good faith. Worse still, any intransigence that will occur with any such deal will have little to do with the actions of the US, but rather with domestic Russian politicking.

Marie Claude on :

uh, at lest our georgian fellow still have his balls, thanks to Sarkozy :lol: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24649823-2703,00.html

Kevin Sampson on :

Yes, but Sarko still can’t resist the need to snivel and whine about a lack of ‘American leadership’.

Marie Claude on :

hehe, Sarko is a chess player, one pawn is advanced, another pawn follows, apparently that left Putin checkmate on that was supposed to be a "rude" ol russian joke

Joe N. on :

Sarko is not a chess player - he is a free-rider. Every utterance about the American relationship, international policy, even the bank crisis is an attempt to exert maximum leverage at no cost. It isn't productive or helpful, it does not contribute to the imaginary wonders of "peace and social justice" or any other silly fashion. It is an attempt to keep ones' face in print for his own voters, not the larger world. Case in point that Sarko saved anyone fropm being hanged by the balls... all he saved him from was a verbal affront: the limitation of virtually all present-day European diplomacy and aid has been reduced to empty htreats to somehow tend to autocrats by throwing press releases at them. Though this seems to take an opposite tack, the verbalism is as effectual as the chatter of appeasement. Forget Putin's idiotic comparison to the Georgian leader, a former human rights attorny, to Saddam Hussein, but rather Saakashvili's characterization that Sarkozy was selling his population which is under pressure and attack up the river for no clear reason: [i]Mr Saakashvili denounced Mr Sarkozy for that, saying Europe's acquiescence over Georgia was identical to its appeasement of Adolf Hitler in Munich in 1938 after the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. "I never imagined that I would be saying such things but unfortunately those are the facts," he said.[/i] So the desire to see Sarko the strong has little to do with the Russian-Georgian conflict, or anything else for that matter - it has only to do with domestic pride. Like the loony distortions done to defend DSK's reputation attest to, since he was one of the only Frenchman with a world-mouthpiece at time, he will be verbally defended to the death no matter what he does.

Marie-Claude on :

OK, Sarko doesn't play chess on a geopolitical agenda, but in discussion points, yes ! or may be more in poker game, and was quite successful, his former profession :Advocat. and he doen't lack of "balls", (see how the most beautiful gente is fan of him, sumthin to be correlated with the specie surviving, where the "braves" are chosen, lol). I recall you how he saved a kindergarten class-room from being blown-up in the nineties, in a Paris Quater where he was the mayor, he decided to meet the hostages-taker, while he was "discussing" with him, the GIGN gendarms could move on and take a position where they could ajust their target at the head, thus preventing the mad man from blowing himself up with the whole class BUT, how many people does Mr Saakashvili represent in Georgia ? the alone fraction that benefited from the Bush administration largesses, that studied in the US, studies paid by the State department, um Condi anyone ? is there or there isn't a Bush avenue in Tbilisi ? The investigations show that Mr Saakashvili started the agression against Ossetia, believing that Pentagon would support him, que nenni !!! that's also why Condi and Bush could only be "mouthy" and had to rely on the EU mediation, otherwise, bye bye Georgia, I recall you that Georgia gave quite nice tyrans to the Empire, um, Mr Saakashvili was aiming to become one, but he choose the wrong partner, may-be that had already cut off his balls too. Although, of course Sarko would not miss an opportunity to to be the "first", yet it's his character, a small person has to show his skills by moving ahead, didn't see that any other EU leader would have attempted anything to convice Russia to stop, ah yes, just waiting for big papa Bush's reactions LMAO idem for the money crisis, "each one its own sh...t", ie Germany, Ireland... OK, the Brit Gordon was in with Sarko, first time we saw an important "EU" leader opting for a french one... um, since ... Matusalem, and this made the things moved on faster

Joe N. on :

You might as well ask: "how many people in France support Sarko?" You can try to undermine anything by asking anyone with a mere majority of votes the same thing. The fighting in Georgia was a trap. The russians baited it. Anyone above the rank of sargent in the russian army knows that they are utterly incapable to "rapidly reacting" to anything as they claimed. The entire thing was a melodrama. As for anyone believeing that the US would open fire on the Russian military on their border is lunacy. It's obviously an idea that originated with some political faker in Europe, becuase the same bunch who would turn out such an opinion and state it as a fact are the same sort who don't think we walk on our hind legs anyway.

Marie Claude on :

how many... at least the 54 % who voted for him, and many more if you consider that several socialist personnalities opted for his government LMAO yeah, the Georgia crisis was an european conspirracy, said no passaran idiot, gehe loss !!!

Joe N. on :

We NEVER suggeest anything of the sort. DO not LIE to me about what we said about it. What we observed, plain as day, was a kind of public affection in France particularly for the idea of kicking the Georgians when they were under attack because these very same people could infer somehow that supporting Russia is some kind of blow to the United States. We didn't suggest anything along the lines of conspiracy. We NEVER suggest the kind of "home wisdom" so common in the feeble press that you're exposed to daily that eat that kind of thing up. If you disagree, do a search and find one example of us theorizing anything about the Russian conflict with Georgia as some sort of European conspiracy. Go ahead. Find it. If you're going to be that irresponsible as to simply throw any sort of accusation that you think sounds nice, then prove it.

Marie Claude on :

yeah, in your Bible are the "objective truths LMAO you just repeat what you'v been brainwashed with, the state department relied press, too bad they did help Georgia, them ! there were 1500 american instructors there, pfff ! when the hostilities started, where were they ? pfff, fleed away, and ya know why, cuz they were told not to give a hand, they were there just for training the new recrues that were supposed to join Irak, not to help to fight the Russians, uh, diplomatic incident, nah ?

jpg on :

There is those who have a good knowledge of the questions which they discuss and then there is Joe N. whose only sources of information are weak websites as "no pasaran" or " fuck France ". His personal culture does not have to exceed the level of "Mickey's newspaper".

John in Michigan, USA on :

The more I learn about Sarko, the more a like him. If only he wasn't stuck implementing French (and EU) foreign policy... "The investigations show that Mr Saakashvili started the agression against Ossetia" Evidence, please. What investigations? By who? The fighting in or near Ossetia started long before Saakashvili came to power....in fact [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saakashvili#Early_life_and_career]he didn't even enter politics until 1995[/url]. After the Sovs fell, [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991%E2%80%931992_South_Ossetia_War]there was a war is S. Ossetia in 1991-2[/url]. Did Saakashvili start that war? The worst you can accuse him of is violating a cease-fire, and even then I suspect the Russians and Ossetians broke it many times before he did.

Marie Claude on :

about your wiki links, watch the "history", so many revisions :lol: started in october 2008 : http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mikheil_Saakashvili&action=history started in august 2008 : http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=1991%E2%80%931992_South_Ossetia_War&action=history how much can we rely on investigations, up to now, it's one version vs another one, also that the OSCE ones are less partisan, anyway not finished : http://www.reuters.com/article/joeBiden/idUSN17436263 http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/11/12/europe/EU-Russia-OSCE.php Though the "georgian behaviour" was not "anodin", supposed that it was ment to help the polish BMDE agreement finalised yeah, stimmt ! Now, where are the european interests ? following the american policy there and make sure that we'll have to deal with a radicalised aggressive Russia, or trying to bring Russia at the negociation table, and deal with a win-win agreement seems that the later option is on the way uh, Mr Saakashvili will have to obtempere if he wants to keep his balls

Marie Claude on :

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-obamas-chance-to-end-the--fantasy-that-is-star-wars-1015509.html

John in Michigan, USA on :

Hari says it is impossible, how does he know? A little while ago, the Chinese shot down one of their old satellites, using a ground-based rocket. Shortly after that, we shot down one of our old satellites, using a missile fired from a ship bouncing around on the high seas, with relatively little warning or preparation. SDI or "Star Wars" works. At least for rogue missiles. It probably could be overwhelmed by a massive missile barrage, but terrorists have no ability to do that, only nation-states can do it. And a massive barrage would be a clear act of war and can be deterred. Even then, SDI would knock down a portion of the barrage, saving millions of lives and environmental damage. In the Gulf War, it was unclear whether the PAC (Patriot) system managed to shoot down even a single Scud. In the Iraq war only 12 years later, we shot down a great many Scuds. SDI is a defensive system. Is building a moat around your castle "provacative"? Does your new moat give your opponent no choice but to attack you? Its amazing. The global warmists claim that we can make a 50+ year climate forecast "blind" i.e. without waiting 50 years to see if we were correct...but shooting down a missile is somehow impossible!

John in Michigan, USA on :

Marie-Claude, I'm delighted you've discovered the history pages of Wikipedia showing the revisions. But for the points that I am making about Saakashvili and the long-standing conflict in the region, I don't see that Wikipedia is inaccurate. The links to the Reuters and IHT stories don't say what you want them to say. The position of the OSCE is "the organization wasn't in a position to assign blame" for who started the war. So, you've attacked my sources, but I'm still waiting for you to support your original statement "The investigations show that Mr. Saakashvili started the aggression against Ossetia". Certainly the OSCE has not said that. So far, only the Russians and their lackeys are saying that.

Marie Claude on :

as I put a few links, my comment needs approval :lol:

Don S on :

Putin may have threatened the family jewels, but based upon past behavior one might conclude that *some* unknown person might use ricin, a radioactive isotope, or perhaps another poison causing a disease instead to the poor Georgian. It's hard to predict what form such 'retribution' will take, because it seems to be a different one each time. But retribution will come sooner or later. I wouldn't sell the man life insurance right now....

Marie Claude on :

um, O has been lectured about a possible terrorist attack, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article5158569.ece is this preparing the O electorat to the statut-quo as far as defense policies !!!! yeah, rather Gates than the gate to danzig :lol:

Kevin Sampson on :

Russia's military has announced it will halt its plans to deploy short-range missiles in its Baltic enclave Kaliningrad, Interfax news agency says. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7855216.stm Do the Russians know something we don't?

John in Michigan, USA on :

Nice follow-up. It may be just a diplomatic gesture. Possibly one that can be reversed if Obama doesn't play ball. It may be that Russia no longer has the money to do this. It may be that Obama has struck a secret deal of some sort, but it is unlikely this early in the administration. Or, it may turn out that Russia missiles aren't in as good condition as they used to be. It may be that moving them from their current, isolated locations to the highly visible Kaliningrad will expose them to enough attention that it will become clear the missiles are no longer in working order, or are only able to be kept operational part of the time, or something equally embarrassing. After Glasnost when we finally got some verifiable inspections, it turned out that many of the Russian ICBMs (a different type of missile than the ones planned for Kaliningrad) hadn't been maintained, their silos filled with water, etc. and were simply unusable (except for certain components of the warheads). Even if the missiles are in perfect shape, deploying them to Kaliningrad is highly visible and will expose them to spying and sabotage. Also they will be very hard to defend from conventional attack. It never made sense to deploy a deterrence weapon like a nuke in an enclave surrounded by your alleged enemy.

Zyme on :

My first thought was that this increases pressure on Washington not to pursue the plan for a missile defense in Eastern Europe. Central Europe will now probably point at this Russian gesture and expect America to follow. Thus a clever move from Moscow.

Kevin Sampson on :

Maybe. Obama would probably cancel the thing anyway if left to himself. If the Russians start screwing with him he may decide he has to deploy it to avoid appearing any weaker than he already does.

Kevin Sampson on :

'Or, it may turn out that Russia missiles aren't in as good condition as they used to be.' These (Iskander-M) were reportedly used in the war with Georgia, so I don't think there is any doubt about their combat readiness. 'Even if the missiles are in perfect shape, deploying them to Kaliningrad is highly visible' That's the whole point. 'It never made sense to deploy a deterrence weapon like a nuke in an enclave surrounded by your alleged enemy.' These are short range ballistic missiles, they have no deterence value at all. Well, maybe to the Poles. Also, though they are reportedly capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, that is not their primary function, and I doubt very much that there are any in Kaliningrad thus armed.

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