Provoking Russia Over Nothing?
In the aftermath of the U.S. completing its missile defense system agreement with Poland, Russia has already begun to intimate that Poland is risking attack as a consequence. Which begs the question: is there even a missile defense system to build? A former weapons tester for the Defense Department says no:
The U.S. is expanding its controversial, and mostly untested, Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) system into Poland and Czech Republic, provoking Russia into making thinly veiled threats. In the wake of the South Ossetia war, these threats have assumed a much more sinister edge than before.
Phil Coyle, the Pentagon’s former top weapons tester (pdf!), says it’s all for nothing. “The system proposed for Poland and the Czech Republic doesn’t exist, has never been tested, and has no demonstrated effectiveness to defend Europe or the U.S. under realistic operational conditions,” Coyle contends in an exclusive conversation with DANGER ROOM.
He says that even our existing missile defenses, installed in Alaska, couldn’t stop more than one or two rudimentary missiles from, say, Iran. “For these reasons the U.S. BMD system proposed for Europe is causing strife with Russia for nothing.”
Read the whole thing. I honestly don’t know enough about the missile defense system to comment, but it seems to me that if the thing doesn’t work very well, it’s presence serves more as a provocation to Russia than anything else, doesn’t it? If Russia doesn’t want it, and it doesn’t serve a legitimate defense function, then to keep going down this path seems like a bad idea.