If you needed proof that Obama’s total foreign policy, or his particular “reset” (read: appeasement) policy towards Russia is an abysmal failure, the Chief of the Russian General Staff delivered that proof for you on Thursday, by threatening to attack NATO missile defense assets in Europe, if they are deployed there. This follows previous Russian threats to preemptively attack Poland and unnamed other countries with nuclear weapons, to target nuclear-armed ballistic missiles at Europe, and to deploy nuclear-armed Iskander SRBMs in its western exclave called the Kaliningrad District.
“A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens,” Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov said at an international missile-defense conference in Moscow attended by senior U.S. and NATOofficials.
Gen. Makarov made the threat amid an apparent stalemate in talks between U.S. and Russian negotiators over the missile-defense system, part of President Obama’s policy to “reset” relations with Moscow. The threat also elicited shock and derision from Western missile-defense analysts.
“It’s remarkable,” said James Ludes of the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I. “That Makarov would make this kind of threat in a public forum is chilling.”
“He must have been drunk,” said Barry Blechman, a distinguished fellow at the Stimson Center think tank.
Calling the threat “crazy,” he said, “I hope the Russian political leadership takes him to task for it.””
While this threat was likely bluff, it still shows how hostile Russia is, that it is not an ally or partner fit for the US (or any other Western country for that matter), and that Obama’s “reset” policy has failed abysmally. Also, the WaTimes reports that:
“Robert L. Pfaltzgraff Jr., a professor of international security studies at the Fletcher School at Tufts University, noted that while ICBMs fly faster than shorter-range missiles and the technology to intercept them is different, the Kremlin sees these deployments as providing a basis for a better system later.
“The Russian concern is that these systems could be upgraded in the future,” he said.
But Mr. Pfaltzgraff said the fact that Moscow is thinking in these terms proves Russia is not a U.S. ally and has “divergent interests from us and to pretend otherwise to try and placate them is a fool’s errand.
“Russia wants a deterrent relationship with the United States,” he said. “Why? Is Canada worried that they don’t have an effective deterrent against our nuclear weapons?””
The US needs to deploy missile defense systems in Europe – to defend itself as well as Europe – but deploying them is even more important, indeed NECESSARY, now that Russia has made such threats. Cancelling the deployment of these systems, or scaling them down, would be (rightly) seen as a capitulation to a bully (Moscow) in the face of threats to use force. That would mean that Russia would conclude it could extract further significant concessions by again threatening to use force preemptively. When you bow down to a bully’s threat to use force, he will make such a threat against you again someday. Thus, the US needs to show Russia that it is not afraid of its threats and deploy missile defense systems in Europe despite these threats.
“Russia’s threat exemplifies why the U.S. and allies need missile defenses: to protect themselves from such blackmail. Makarov’s outrageous threat raises questions about Russia’s seriousness as a partner for President Obama’s hallowed “reset” policy. It should give a pause to the State Department’s efforts to advance missile defense cooperation until Russia is prepared to approach the matter in a more constructive matter.”
America and its allies need missile defense to protect themselves from such blackmail and such attacks.