Let's see, we can't protect our own border with Mexico, we're wickedly in debt with no end in sight, we can't afford to insure our citizens (unless you're in Congress/WH), we couldn't protect our own cities from outside and internal terrorists, gangs & Organized Crime are killing more people every month than Al Quaka could ever hope to kill in a decade's time.
Yet somehow... we're able to put resources towards protecting Eastern European countries from no threats? And according to McCain - Poland and the Czech Republic are in the cross-hairs of Iran? And we're pissing off Russia who could be supplying us with natural resources we desperately need?
Why does it appear the taxpayers of the U.S. are footing the bill for this crap, and the defense contractors are going to make a bundle? And maybe that money should be going to fixing the ridiculous numbers of problems facing this country? I mean, is NOW the time to install missile defense shields when people the world over hate us? Do Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana have "missile defense shields" to protect them from an attack from Cuba,. FARC, or Venezuela?
It's not about protecting Eastern Europe...Yet somehow... we're able to put resources towards protecting Eastern European countries from no threats? And according to McCain - Poland and the Czech Republic are in the cross-hairs of Iran?
Missile attacks from FARC?!
Well, they DID figure out how to make a natural gas tank act like a mortar... And there ARE those home-built submarines...
No, no. I just can't bend my mind that far. Jpinard, don't be concerned about FARC missiles; they hate the Colombian government far more than they hate you.
If the US can put a missile defense umbrella over a given area, we're freer to throw our weight around. I think that's pretty much it.
Like most things the rollback guys/neocons want, it'll be destabilizing and backfire by making tensions and the likelihood of war worse, but this is the same crowd that though the middle east melting down is a good thing because hey, we think we'll come on top!
Seems stupid right now? Dude, Star Wars* has been stupid for a long time.
* The movies and the defense industry boondoggle.
Farc, Venezuela, & Cuba were an attempt at bitter irony.
I just cannot fathom how out-of-touch with reality our government is. Or maybe a better version - how officials have skirted outright corruption by funneling money to benefactors through "legitimate out-sourcing business".
Here's what I don't completely understand: Russia said they would respond militarily to a missile shield in countries such as the Czech Republic. Did I miss something? Are Russia and the Czech Republic in a new cold war with each other? Why is Russia threatened by this?
Anti-missile systems in Czech Republic could interdict any missile that passes through their airspace (or potentially much wider, depending on the system), not just missiles aimed at them.
Because nuclear missiles are their single largest military bargaining chip, and allowing any other country to nullify them would reduce their world stature significantly.
Granted, I think their energy reserves are much more relevant to their international power going forward, but it's understandable they wouldn't want to be gelded like that. Would you object to an EU project to build a missile shield in Canada designed to neutralize our nuclear arsenal?
No. Not if it worked. I'd be for building one too, then.
But it won't work. Too easy to send up dummies.
OK, what I'm talking about is a hypothetical missile shield that
2. Is not duplicatable by other powers
Ours is probably #2 due to expense, and Russia seems to be behaving as if it is #1 as well.
I agree, the ideal situation would be to have everybody with their own working shield. If we could build one of those, it would be in our best interest to share them as freely as possible because otherwise rival powers would have to either accept our dominance or try to strike us before we could complete it, and gambling on that is not the best of ideas.
ABM shields or systems have always been deemed destabilizing by most because they, if operable, remove the only thing that seemed to have worked to keep nuclear war at bay, and that's deterence. If one player has an effective missile shield, they, theoretically, have the ability to threaten without being threatened. It's less a practical thing than a psychological and political thing, I think. It's not very likely that the USA would use such a shield (even if it worked, and even if it was reliable enough to bet the farm on) to support some sort of super-aggressive coup de main, but the fact that it might mitigate the Russian ability to use its nuclear force as a bargaining chip is threatening to Moscow.
But really, of all the threats we face, is a missile attack from Russia (and who else is this thing supposed to be protecting from?) anywhere near a real threat?
Interestingly, back in the Reagan years, when SDI was getting traction for a while, Washington offered to share the technology with the USSR, at least that was the party line. The idea, which wasn't that wacky (the systems themselves, those were wacky), was that if both sides fielded defenses, no one would have an advantage.
I find it hard to believe we'll ever get a missile defense system that is effective enough to really rely on, when all it takes is one getting through to make for a very bad day.
Chancellor Helmut Schmidt referred to the Soviet Union as "Upper Volta with missiles" which is a little harsh but more accurate than not. While the do have control over strategic resources those are limited and only have value as long as they are sold on the international market. Even then Gazprom is looking at a production collapse in the Siberian oil fields. Their solutions to the crisis involve securing access to foreign production if that says much about their confidence.So why does Russia consider this such a threat to them that they would respond militarily (or at least threaten to?)
First off: there are basically three different missile defense programs at the moment, THAAD, SM-3 and the GMD program.
None of these are on the scale of “Star Wars”. That isn’t their scope, or their strategic purpose.
THAAD is local land-based theater defense; one way of looking at it is an improvement over PAC-3 for short range “SCUD” type threats. After a lengthy development and test cycle, it’s being accelerated into deployment starting next year.
SM-3 is a regional theatre defense system based off an Aegis platform, which is generally going to mean a cruiser. While not designed for ICBM level threats, it has been very successful in its test regimen against the medium range missiles it was designed for. This is also the platform used for the USA-193 satellite intercept. Japan is eager to deploy this on their fleet as it is capable of knocking down anything North Korea could lob at them.
The Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system is the Alaska based interceptor fleet intended for long-range ICBM threats that would reach the continental United States. This program was very much the victim of politics proclaiming it was ready before it really was. The initial missile, handled by Boeing (later Lockheed Martin) had issues and the early test regimen was not successful. In the past couple years the program (wisely) switched to a vehicle built by Orbital Sciences. After the successful results of IFT-15 and IFT-16, it looks like they’ve worked through the ground and telemetry integration issues and the outlook for upcoming tests is far more optimistic.
Now, for a long time the criticism from ‘experts’ was that kinetic-intercept wasn’t actually possible. That was wrong. It is, most certainly, very very difficult. What the US has accomplished with THAAD, SM-3 and GMD is not easily duplicated.
Funnily enough, that argument faded over the past several years. The new expert argument was that it was trivially defeated by simple countermeasures. This is disingenuous. There are no such things as simple countermeasures. Rocket science is hard. There is one country other than the US with the current expertise and technology to deploy anything resembling countermeasures: Russia. And even Russia has to test (in this case, referring to the RS-12M1). And testing means observation. Once you observe, you know what you are looking for. And MDA has also been doing their own red flag countermeasures R&D.
A final argument, and one that can be argued on strategic versus technical terms is whether it is a waste of money for its strategic value. If you don’t want to see the US remain militarily dominant, the answer is probably yes.
As far as destabilization and strategic implications in regards to Russia, this was an thoughtful recent muse.
There seem to be two rather disconnected ideas here, one being defense against Russia, and the other defense against Iran. Given the range and type of Iranian missile systems, a defensive network in Eastern Europe seems...odd, at best. Defense against Russia makes more sense, superficially, but given the cost/benefits of building a missile defense system, compared with the relative unlikelihood of a really belligerent Moscow, I think there are reasons to doubt its wisdom.
The article Linoleum linked is interesting, but somewhat one-sided. It makes perfect sense if your only goal is to maintain US hegemony, but I would argue that even for an American partisan, that sort of strong-arm approach isn't necessarily the best way towards national security in the long run. We followed that tack in the Cold War sometimes out of necessity, more than desire, but that doesn't mean it's necessarily the best approach. One aspect that the article didn't deal with I think is the idea that strategic stais--whether MAD or disproportionate response--seems to often negate the very options that deterrence is based on. Thus, during the Cold War, the reality of a nuclear response to nuclear attack make conventional attack that much more likely, and led to the need on the NATO side to seriously enhance conventional capabilities. When strategic options are not viable, more operational solutions tend to be found, and even in a disporportionate response scenario you have to overcome the threshhold of using that response. In other words, the old doubt as to whether NATO would "go nuclear" to defend against a conventional attack into Western Europe.
I do agree though that uncertainty can and has been a valuable tool. I just think it's often a tool that can turn and bite the user as well. I tend to feel that transparency works a bit better in the long run. That, though, has little bearing on the Czech deal, which seems to me to be mostly about keeping the Kremlin in line more than deterring Tehran.
America is turtling its way across the map..
How easy is it to change those missile sites from 'Defence' to 'Attack'?
If I were in Europe then that would be my primary concern and I'd sure as hell not want it on my doorstep.
Obviously having military dominance is preferable to the alternative, but focusing on destabilizing solutions in pursuit of dominance at the cost of tearing down the mostly war-free international system is not a good idea.
I think GMD isn't the best use of defense resources because there are other programs more likely to prevent a nuclear attack that are starved for money. There are lots of possible nuclear scenarios, a launch of a handful of ICBMs is just one, and it's also the most expensive to prevent. The only countermeasure you need is to launch more missiles. The hard part is building one ICBM, if you're capable of that, you can build more. If you can't build one, you'll just use another delivery system like a boat.
Given how many photoshopped missiles Iran just launched I'd say that this is actually the point in time when missile defense makes the most sense to me.
Of course, on a scale of 1 to 10 where 1 = makes about as much sense as a Jason McCullough post and 10 = makes perfect sense I'd still rate missile defense as about a 3.
I believe he's referring to wars between nuclear powers, which is this planet. And it's not maintaining dominance that destabilizes, it's trying to attain dominance from a position of parity.
You can impose a clear chain of command on a missile and time to target is under an hour. You can't effectively control a container ship bomb, and time to target is weeks or months.
Everything involves strategic choices. Trying to counteract US anti-missile defense requires expenditure of resources that cannot be put to other aims.
In effect, it is the maintaining of escalation dominance until the point where mutual deterrence makes the point moot, if you have the clout to reach that stage. Russia and China do against the US, no other state actor currently does, and reaching that point is a major, major investiture.
As to the old doubt, is it widely doubted? It has been and remains official U.S. policy that any major conventional incursion into Europe will be met with strategic nuclear bombardment. Is this thought to be an empty threat?
Originally Posted by Jason McCulloughFirst, we haven't had an actual great power war since either Korean or Vietnam, depending on how much of a proxy war you're willing to count. The wars that we do have now are great powers vs. everyone else tinkering, or the third world blowing itself up. They're certainly bad, but we haven't had anything compared to WWI, WWII, Korea, or Vietnam, in a long time. The great power international system is the most stable its been since the WWI era.Originally Posted by Linoleum
Secondally, the non-great power wars are still there, but they've really fallen off in severity and frequency. The genocides in africa and central europe were terrible, but compared to what came before they're no where near as bad. People have done actual statistical research on long-term trends here; it's really interesting. From the 2007 update:
The Brief also describes and analyses the extraordinary, but largely unnoticed, positive change in sub-Saharan Africa's security landscape. The number of conflicts being waged in the region more than halved between 1999 and 2006; the combat toll dropped by 98 percent.
Finally, the Brief updates the findings of the 2005 Human Security Report, and demonstrates that the decline in the total number of armed conflicts and combat deaths around the world has continued. The number of military coups has also continued decline, as have the number of campaigns of deadly violence waged against civilians.I don't think pissing off Russia and China is remotely worth the marginal gains in security a missile defense system would gain over third-world countries.Originally Posted by Linoleum
Finally, based on the writings and background of the most of the people pushing missile defense, neocons and the like, I do not believe for a second it's really about defending the US from these supposedly insane and undeterrable third-world countries. They want it because they think it'll give them "super dominance" - the ability to do whatever they want in the world, regardless of what Russia and China think. I think they're wrong and that the process will horribly backfire on them, just like all of those WWI and WWII plays for dominance that came crashing down. Interestingly, Reagan's thoughts on missile defense weren't like this at all; he thought it would lead to this blue-sky unite-the-world way of backing away from the endless standoff of MAD.
There's a parallel to Bush's true-believer intentions on Iraq (Democracy, freedom, stop terrorism) vs. what everyone else in his administration (regional dominance, cheap oil, free-market utopia playground) wanted out of it.
Last edited by Jason McCullough; 07-10-2008 at 11:59 AM.
Personally, I've never needed to defend against a missle strike. But I would deploy more espionage units to discover the true capabilities of the other nations. Then I would put all available resouces into the Moon/Mars program as I've always found the Space Victory Condition easier to achieve.