Thursday, 3 May 2012

Russia Warns it May Have to Deploy New Rockets in Europe

So much for the reset button with Russia.  Russia warned Thursday that it may have to deploy rocket in Europe in order to defend against the European Missile Defence System.

 "We have not been able to find mutually-acceptable solutions at this point and the situation is practically at a dead end," said Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. 

The U.S. and Europeans are ready to go ahead with the deployment of the first elements of the missile defence system next month.  The United States says it is installing the system to protect European allies from an attack by Iran, which the Western allies fear is on the brink of developing a nuclear weapon.

Russia has been opposed to the missile shield from the outset and fears that the deployment would harm its own nuclear deterrence.  Russia has warned that if the United States proceeds, it would be forced to unleash its own massive armament system if the U.S. did not address its concerns.

Russia's Chief of Staff General Nikolai Makarov argues that Russia could station short range Iskander missiles in its Kaliningrad location, which is close to the Polish border, aimed at destroying the system's European infrastructure.

Russia's General's also argue that once the third and fourth phase of the missile system is deployed, it would have the capability to eliminate Russian rockets by the end of the decade.

President Obama was caught on an open mike asking outgoing President Medvedev to give him space until after the election, when he would be able to negotiate some concessions.  Medvednev said he would tell Putin.

Putin, who will be sworn in as Russia's President next Monday, has already cancelled an appearance at this month's Chicago summit to protest the deployment.

Is this a another foreign policy failure?  Hillary Clinton talked famously of the reset button with Russia, the START treaty was signed by the two Presidents, but now it almost looks as if they might be on the brink of another arms race.

If things go sour with Russia and China, how much can realistically be accomplished in the United Nations?   Maybe it's time to find another reset button.

Ellen Tauscher, 

Opening Statement  

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