Russian Roulette

May 30, 2007

Today, the Russian media and members of their government, including President Putin, announced their new long-range missile – the RS-24. Its test launch completed yesterday traveled 3,400 miles across Russia, validating some of its range and capability. This specific system has been in the development process for well over a decade and will be the next generation and eventual replacement of their aging ballistic land-based missile fleet. Like any major military system for any country in the world, weapons and their respective platforms age, become outdated and need to be replaced. The Russian system displayed today, the RS-24 is no more than a planned replacement of an existing old system.
In classic historic Russian style, President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government used this media opportunity, along with the potential third missile defense site in Europe to accomplish three key objectives:

1) Validate and justify the modernization and need for this system and further research and development for his domestic audience in Russia.

“In terms of defense and security, Russians can look calmly to the country’s future,”

2) Intimidate and bully former Soviet Union European Satellite Countries, namely Poland and the Czech Republic.

“We consider it harmful and dangerous to turn Europe into a powder keg and to fill it with new kinds of weapons,”

3) Be opportunist with Russias long existing desire to withdraw from two European armed control treaties; The Conventional Forces In Europe (CFE) and the Intermediate Range Nuclear Force Treaty (INF).

“Strengthen the strategic nuclear triad — land-based, sea-based and air-based delivery systems for nuclear weapons — which suffered significant downsizing”

(excerpts in italics above are from todays remarks from Russian Government Officials including the President and Deputy Prime Minster)

It is of significance to fully understand that the current and future U.S. missile defense systems being developed and deployed are not designated, designed or placed to counter, destroy or mitigate Russian ballistic missiles. The United States missile defense system is for limited and simple ballistic threats from countries such as Iran and North Korea. Furthermore, geography, physics, science and complete transparency to the Russians at their highest military levels has shown that the missile defenses being deployed and developed cannot defeat Russian ballistic missiles and that these systems are not intended or designed to do so.

The international community should take notice that Russia has a deployed nuclear tipped missile defense system, a system that can mitigate any current and future offensive decoys and maneuvering reentry vehicles from ballistic missiles by detonating a nuclear weapon in space and/or the upper atmosphere. For the Russian Government to verbally intimidate and threaten their former occupied eastern block countries through the use of weapons is playing Russian Roulette.

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