The Russians aren't fooled by continual protestations that America's missile defense plans are aimed at "rogue states" - none of whom yet has the capability of throwing a nuke at the U.S. and who probably would choose infiltration as a delivery method in any case. They've been beefing up their missile force, introducing a new mark and modifying existing missile types with decoys, in the face of American righwing zeal for destabilizing the balance of deterrence that has served the world so well for decades.
That's not surprising. I'm sure that Russian intelligence and military planners can read, and surf the sites of those rightwing think-tanks who have provided the intellectual impetus for the Bush administration, Mccain and others. They know that missile defense, despite the spin of the Bush administration, has always been about the Soviet Union, and then Russia. It's all about Reagan's Star Wars dream, which had as its focus the "Evil Empire" still described in such belligerent terms by John McCain.
For instance, they'll have already noticed that the Heritage Foundation is planning a major publicity push on missile defense in January, planning to pressure President Obama to continue funding the multi-billion program.
The wingnut think-tank will be releasing a documentary, called 33 Minutes, and is already boosting it on its own website. The fearmongering blurb for the film says:
A ballistic missile from a foreign enemy would take 33 minutes to reach the United States. With each passing day, this becomes a growing danger to America, yet our government has failed to build the missile defense systems capable of defending us against such attacks.
Our enemies are attempting to stockpile arsenals that threaten our freedom and prosperity. North Korea and Iran are the most prominent, but this also includes Russia, China and other nations that have missiles capable of killing Americans in very large numbers and threatening our allies.
The time has come to revive the strategic missile defense system that America uniquely can develop, maintain, and employ for its own defense and the peace-loving world's security.
This documentary aims to do just that by highlighting the disastrous consequences of a nuclear explosion on American soil - one that could happen in just 33 minutes.
North Korea is dismantling its nuclear arsenal and Iran doesn't have one. Nor does it have anything close to the technology to land a warhead on American soil. So it's on to the next on the list - Russia. The website's blog today bears out that emphasis, with most posts about Russia. One that's worth noting, though, extols the need for treaty-breaking space-based weaponry.
The Washington Times reports that the Pentagon is on board to study space-based missile defenses. Congress appropriated $5 million for the endeavor.
Given the ever expanding threat of nuclear proliferation, the U.S. needs to be prepared to defend on all fronts, including protecting satellites. Developing wide-ranging protection should be a top priority. An anonymous defense official said, “It’s really the only way to defend the U.S. and its allies from anywhere on the planet.
This exposes yet another administration fib - that space-based weapons aren't being considered because they'd present a clear red line to Russia and seriously escalate tensions between the two nations, probably triggering a new arms race and a return to the Cold War for real. This is, after all, the same administration that unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty in 2001.
Space-based weapons are a red line for much of the American public too, since many are aware of just how destabilizing such a move would be and few want to return to the dark days of the nuclear clock. The conservative think-tank proposal for dealing with American public perceptions is a simple one. Misdirection.
Arms control advocates are currently focused on preventing the weaponization of space. They base their proposals on the assertion that space is not already weaponized, which is valid only if properly defining the term "space weapons" is irrelevant to the exercise of controlling them.
The fact is that space was weaponized when the first ballistic missile was deployed, because ballistic missiles travel through space on their way to their targets.
... Congress needs to reject the charge that space-based ballistic missile defense interceptors would constitute an unprecedented move by the U.S. to weaponize space. It can do so by adding a preamble to the amendment to provide more robust funding for construction of a space test bed.
This preamble should take the form of a congressional finding that the deployment of ballistic missiles weaponized space
Umm, yeah. That'll convince the Russians not to join in the wingnut arms race. And this is the same as hanging Reaganesque "Brilliant Pebbles" weaponry permanently in space, as the Heritage folks advise, because?
But let's cut to the chase, shall we? The wingnuts don't want missile defense systems to protect against rogue states. They want them so that the U.S. can attack Russia or China with a better chance of success than Russia or China could attack America.
Is there a potential threat of space wars taking place in the near future? It is a distinct possibility due to the actions of China and Russia. The two nations are attempting to update the 1967 Outer Space Treaty to limit the ability of the U.S. to develop and employ space-based missile defense systems. Is this just a noble effort on the part of China and Russia to declare the use of space for peaceful purposes alone, or are they individually and possibly together seeking to create a situation that would limit the U.S.'s research and development of space-based missile defense systems while giving them the opportunity to get up to speed with similar systems of their own. The space wars have begun to take shape with China and Russia seeking the update of this 41 year old treaty.
... What China and Russia are really seeking with the updating of this treaty is more time to research, develop, and test their own missile defense systems. They are highly threatened that the U.S. has not only nuclear weapons, but missile defense installations that are capable of eliminating any nuclear, biological, or chemical weapon delivered in a ballistic missile from anyone, including Russia, China, or ? China and Russia know they are behind in the development of these missile defense systems, and they want to limit the U.S. any way possible to allow them the time necessary to catch up.
What exactly is wrong with those nations having their own ABM shields - or even sharing one with the U.S. and other nations? Wouldn't that protect everyone from rogue states?
No, the neocon think-tanks who are advising the Bush administration and the McCain campaign are quite clearly looking for a U.S. first strike capability as part of their dreams of American hegemony. That's incredibly dangerous. The Russians and Chinese know this already - they can read. The only people who don't are the bulk of the American populace.
Crossposted from Newshoggers