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Old 11-21-2010, 06:34 AM
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Exclamation When is a Missile Defense not a Missile Defense?

When is a Missile Defense not a Missile Defense?

posted at 11:45 am on November 19, 2010 by J.E. Dyer
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Probably at the point where Russia agrees to it. Russia’s representative to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, spoke to Izvestia in advance of the NATO summit convening on Friday in Lisbon. According to excerpts from the Izvestia interview, cited in Bulgarian media:
Rogozin reveals that Russia insists on certain restrictions to the future missile shield, and that Russia’s potential inclusion in the system will require serious concessions on part of the North Atlantic Alliance.

“We tried to convince the Americans that it is necessary to agree on restrictions about the missile defense system – on the zones for locating elements, the number of the interceptor missiles, and the speed of the interceptor missiles,” Rogozin says.
These factors add up to a Russian insistence that NATO’s missile defense be effective only against slower, older-technology missiles approaching NATO territory from a limited sector of the compass.

The Russian posture has always been that NATO should have no defense against a ballistic-missile attack from Russia. The Russians view the U.S. national missile-defense (NMD) program with disfavor too. Although the NMD leaves the East coast of North America without dedicated, well-positioned interceptors, it would provide some cover for U.S. and Canadian territory against missiles launched from Asia. The view from Moscow hasn’t changed since the MAD era: any interference with Russia’s ability to hold NATO at risk with nuclear missiles is “destabilizing.”

As Emanuele Ottolenghi points out at Commentary‘s “contentions” (and I discussed here), NATO is already busy imposing limits on itself by declining to name Iran as a source of missile threats. Pleasing both Turkey and Russia could, in theory, leave NATO solemnly designating Syrian Scuds as its defining missile threat. Even if it doesn’t actually commit that absurdity, what NATO will probably do this weekend is agree to ambiguous language in the broad outlines of its much-anticipated new security concept. The language will be enough to undermine a focused consensus on what the threat is. As other heroic defense projects have demonstrated, that lack of consensus doesn’t just produce ineffective systems: it’s costly and it wastes time.

But there’s a more fundamental point to be made. NATO is allowing itself to be trapped with false premises. The alliance’s missile-defense concept need not be limited by any set of contingent political factors. NATO is a military security alliance. It should build a missile shield capable of defending against any missile system developed and produced by a non-NATO nation. That principle gets back to Ronald Reagan’s original premise: that the purpose of missile defense is to render intimidation with nuclear missiles obsolete.

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Old 11-21-2010, 11:15 AM
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Cool The Left goes retro...

Danger Room What's Next in National Security

Religious Group: Pass Nuke Treaty or We All Burn

The choice, Senator, is clear: either you vote for the new U.S.-Russia treaty to cut nuclear weapons, and you do it right now, or this adorable girl is going to die, right on the greenery of the National Mall. The Cold War is back and going hot, all over New START.
Facing a near-death experience for the treaty in the Senate, the Obama administration is fighting back, appointing Vice President Biden as its senatorial arm-twister in order to get 67 votes for ratification before the congressional session expires next month. And at this late hour, it’s not appealing to the better angels of bipartisanship on national security anymore. It’s arguing that every day without the treaty is a day that the Russian nuclear stockpile goes unmonitored, putting the U.S. in danger from… either a Russian missile launch or a terrorist absconding with a loose nuke or something.
And it’s not just the White House. Key surrogates are fanning out, hitting reporters’ inboxes with pro-New START spin. And they’re hardly shy about amplifying a New-START-Or-Death message.

Case in point is this video, from the American Values Network, a liberal religious group. Riffing off Lyndon Johnson’s infamous “daisy ad” — the one where Johnson said the world would end if voters opted for Barry Goldwater — an innocent girl dies in a nuclear holocaust, all because obstinate Republican senators didn’t pass the administration’s treaty in the lame-duck Senate session. If only there had been U.S. nuclear inspectors on the ground in Russia, we could have averted this world-ending fate.
Except that even under New START, the U.S. still won’t be able to catalog every Russian warhead, so it’s not as if the loose-nuke problem resolves itself when the inspectors return. It’s true that on-the-ground inspectors provide more precision in understanding the state of the Russian nuclear arsenal than satellites do. But the point of the video is to inspire fear, not persuade people on the merits of the treaty.
According to Politico’s Morning Defense team, the group is spending “six-figure[s]” to air the spot on cable, along with “saturation buys” for related radio ads on “Christian and country radio stations.” Subtle message: wouldn’t Jesus vote for New START?
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:52 PM
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By Rich Lowry

Sometime after the Democratic losses in the midterm elections, a funny thing happened to the New START treaty. It became a matter of extreme urgency.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the treaty with Russia</SPAN> a matter of "life and death." A lefty group cut a "Daisy ad" showing a girl counting flower petals until she's rudely interrupted by a thermonuclear blast - evidently caused by the failure to ratify New START.

It's undoubtedly a time of nuclear angst, but Moscow doesn't have much to do with it. Pyongyang just revealed a vast new uranium-enrichment plant. North Korea</SPAN>'s nuclear program is truly a problem from hell. It's much easier to execute a pantomime of high-stakes Cold War diplomacy with the Russians and claim to have saved the world.

In his weekly address, Pres. Barack Obama implicitly acknowledged the reflexive nature of the deal. "Since the Reagan years," Obama said, "every president has pursued a negotiated, verified arms-reduction treaty." And every one, he noted, has gotten more than 85 votes in the Senate.

This is selective history. The Senate refused to ratify the Salt II treaty signed by Jimmy Carter in 1979, and it rejected the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in 1999. If Obama is going to get New START - his sudden rush obviously has to do with avoiding six more Republican senators next year - he'll have to do it through persuasion rather than sheer assertion.

The case for New START is so weak that we'd better hope the fate of the planet doesn't hinge on it. It places a limit on strategic warheads of 1,550, and a limit on deployed delivery vehicles - missiles, bombers, submarines - at 700. Even in theory, this isn't much of a cut in warheads.

Under the 2002 Treaty of Moscow, Russia and the United States</SPAN> had already agreed to arsenals of 2,200 to 1,700 each.

Here's the catch: The Russians are already beneath 700 launchers. The aging of their arsenal, coupled with economic constraints, means that they aren't going higher regardless. Effectively, New START only mandates cuts on us, and we make concessions to the Russians for the privilege.

This is classic Obama chump diplomacy.

The preamble of the treaty notes "the interrelationship" between offensive arms and defenses. Prior to the signing of the treaty, Russia's foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said the linkage "is legally binding." The Russians want to leverage the treaty into a de facto limit on our defensive capabilities, and given the Obama administration's attenuated commitment to defenses, the Russian tack is a shrewd one.

The Russians negotiated well. The treaty removes the limits of the old START treaty on how many warheads can be placed on a missile, and it counts a bomber as one weapon no matter how many warheads are loaded on it. The Russian press has reported that these rules will allow the Russians to retain hundreds more strategic warheads than the technical limit.

Our verification regime with the Russians ended with the expiration of the old START treaty last December. The administration did not get a temporary extension with the Russians, and now argues that the verification gap means we must ratify New START posthaste. But the verification provisions of the new treaty are weaker than those of the old, and the administration could always seek new ones via an executive agreement.

In the final analysis, the administration wants the treaty because it thinks it makes the Russians feel good and fosters a "reset." The benefits of reset are overrated, though. Yes, the Russians voted for the fourth round of U.N. sanctions against Iran</SPAN>, but only after watering them down along with the Chinese. They have made it clear they won't support more stringent sanctions outside the U.N.

If Obama wants to butter up Russian president Dmitry Medvedev and his countrymen, surely there are easier ways than with a flawed arms-control treaty. Maybe a bow is in order?

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