Apparently, Russia has complained about US plans to install a missile defense system in Europe. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has gone so far as to accuse the US of resuming an arms race against them. Bush and Condoleezza Rice attempted to reassure Russian authorities that the defense system would be used to thwart possible attacks from Iran, and that the system is no match for Russia’s nuclear capabilities,but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded that, “We are still convinced that the only target of that shield would be not the purely hypothetical threat that might come from Iran or some other remote state, but the only real target will be our country.”
[photopress:184px_President_Vladimir_Putin.jpg,full,alignleft]Just recently, President Vladamir Putin added that,
If a part of the strategic nuclear potential of the United States appears in Europe and, in the opinion of our military specialists, will threaten us, then we will have to take appropriate steps in response. What kind of steps? We will have to have new targets in Europe.
Bush responded by saying, “Russia is not the enemy…The Cold War is over. It ended.” He even invited Putin to meet and see for himself that the missiles would be entirely defensive.
There is quite a lot to read intoRussia’s reaction, of course. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, diplomats would have us believe that Russia is a US ally. However none of our other allies are worried that our weapons installations would be aimed at them. Some things change, and some things stay the same. Russia is now a “democracy”, but that doesn’t mean Individual Rights is very high on its list of priorities. They complain every year about US human rights reports that show them in a bad light, and surprise of surprises they feel threatened by increased US presence in Europe. Russia reminds me very much of a paroled criminal up to no good and resentful of the officer looking over his shoulder. But why is the officer now explaining himself to the criminal? We shouldn’t need to justify our actions to Russia or to any “ally” that would use nukes to dictate our foreign policy.
It is of course bad enough that we are fighting for the approval of our “allies” to support our right to self-defense, but I must admit I don’t see the benefit of this defense system. If Bush is willing to admit that Iran is a threat to Europe, and a threat to the US once they develop nuclear arms, then why is he not making this case to Congress and calling for military action? If this defense system is no match for Russia’s weaponry, then it will only be a deterrent against Iran until they obtain better weapons. This is an arms race, but we are not the ones racing. I can only guess that Bush is losing confidence in diplomacy and sanctions as a means of demoralizing Iran, but is still unable to see the defense of liberties of US citizens as his primary duty. Instead, he remains committed to “sacrificing for the liberty of strangers” by taking the path most likely to cost more American lives. This fallback plan does not in any way prevent Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but merely reaffirms for the Islamic fundamentalists that we are a “paper tiger”. The real benefits of the defense system go to Ahmadinejad and to the many militant Islamic groups who need time to develop the means to strike at us again.
It’spast time that Bush started acting the President by asserting US interests and fighting for them. Our enemies are no longer intimidated byposturing, and will not be deterred by cowardice. Bush’s defensive and self-sacrificial war will only succeed in emboldening our attackers. If we are so afraid that a conflictwith Iran will lead to a nuclear war, then that is all the more reason to end this now before that technology can be deployed. We have the means. We just need the resolve.