Defense and the Russians

The Russian government has shown their fundamental view of the United States and of their relationship with us.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said last year that Russia will retaliate militarily if it does not reach an agreement with the United States and NATO on our missile defense shield.

At a daylong Missile Defense Conference that took place in Moscow last week, the Russians made explicit their threat against us.  General Nikolai Makarov, the Russian armed forces chief of staff said, referring to missile defense installations currently contemplated by us in eastern Europe,

A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens[.]

Makarov extended the scope of Russia’s intended actions.  He displayed on a large-screen video system for the benefit of conference delegates from 50 countries, including the US and NATO, computer-generated imagery depicting the reach of the American radar and missile systems that are components of our missile defense shield.  Russian missiles were shown streaking toward the US before being intercepted.

But this overt aggressiveness is not a new position for the Russians.  They threatened nuclear attacks against Poland four years ago if we deployed components of a then current missile defense shield there and in the Czech Republic.  We quietly canceled those plans.  The Russians invaded Georgia over a manufactured pique and perpetrated a Sudetenland-like partition of that country while we stood meekly by.

A couple of questions arise.

Why would Russia be thinking about a nuclear attack against the US?

Why would Russia casually threaten us in front of the world?

Perhaps they sense timidity on the part of the US administration.  Certainly, in the face of these public threats against both our allies and our homeland, our own State Department Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense, Ellen Tauscher could only say that it was

pretty clear that this is a year in which we’re probably not going to achieve any sort of a breakthrough.

But this was the point President Obama was making a couple of weeks ago to Medvedev when Obama pleaded for more time on the defense question—he’d have more flexibility to give the Russians what they want after he’s no longer accountable to the American people.

So much for Reset.  In the face of such naked threats of war—of preemptive war—how can the US do anything at all other than to press ahead with the deployment of a missile defense shield, now including defense against the long-range ICBMs that Russia has shown with their little demonstration that they fully intend to use against us?  On what basis can the Obama administration seriously be talking about disarming us in the face of these overt threats?

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