Archive for the ‘ballistic missiles’ Category

U.S. offers Moscow concession on missile shield

February 13, 2009

The United States is ready to look at re-modeling its missile defense plans to include Moscow, a senior U.S. diplomat said on Friday in a concession to Russian opposition.

The Kremlin has been pressing Washington to give ground on the proposed missile shield in exchange for Russia helping supply the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan — a priority for new President Barack Obama.

Washington and Moscow have in the past discussed a compromise deal that would give Russia a role in the U.S. shield but those talks petered out in the last days of the previous U.S. administration.

By James Kilner and Christian Lowe
Reuters

“(Washington is) open to the possibility of cooperation, both with Russia and NATO partners, in relation to a new configuration for missile defense which would use the resources that each of us have,” Interfax news agency quoted U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns as saying.

The U.S. embassy in Moscow confirmed the text of the interview. Burns, a former ambassador to Moscow, was in Russia this week for talks with officials.

Burns gave no details on what form the new missile defense configuration might take, but the wording he used appeared to go further than previous U.S. proposals aimed at easing Russia’s concerns.

Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, told Reuters in an interview that Moscow would have to wait to see how Washington follows up on Burns’ remarks.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090213
/ts_nm/us_usa_shield_russia

Iran launches first satellite

February 3, 2009

Iran’s missile, technology space and weapons effort has been going since the late 1980s.  We know they have a nuclear program, and long range ballistic missile capability.  This is their first sucessful satellite launch.  North Korea has nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles much like that seen in Iran, but North Korea has failed in its satellite launch attempts….

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Iran has launched its first domestically built satellite into space.

The launch of the Omid satellite, meaning Hope, was timed to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution and United Nations talks aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear programme.

The Telegraph (UK)

The Safir (ambassador) satellite-carrier rocket, carrying Iran's ... 
The Safir (ambassador) satellite-carrier rocket, carrying Iran’s Omid 2 (hope) satellite, is launched at an unknown location in Iran in this handout picture sent to Reuters by Iranian Fars News February 3, 2009. Iran said it launched its first domestically made satellite into orbit on Tuesday, boasting major progress in its space technology when tension with the West over its nuclear ambitions persists. Omid, launched as Iran marks the 30th anniversary this month of the 1979 Islamic revolution that ousted the U.S.-backed shah, is designed for research and telecommunications, state television said.(Fars News/Reuters)

“Dear Iranians, your children have put the first indigenous satellite into orbit,” said President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a broadcast on state television.

“With this launch the Islamic Republic of Iran has officially achieved a presence in space.”

The launch has highlighted international concerns that Iran will use domestically developed space technology to develop intercontinental nuclear missiles.

Tehran is at odds with the international community and the UN over a controversial nuclear programme which Iran has insisted is only for peaceful energy purposes.

The United States and European Union suspect that Iran is secretly developing atomic weapons and harbours ambitions to use its home grown Safir space rocket technology to build long-range ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

Omid’s take off comes just a one day before senior diplomats from the UN Security Council meet in Germany to discuss Iran’s refusal to stop uranium enrichment as part of its nuclear programme.

Manouchehr Mottaki, Iran’s foreign minister, used the occasion of the satellite launch to criticise Western and UN anti-atomic weapons proliferation embargoes on nuclear and space technology.

Reported satellite launch took place on the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran.

Reported satellite launch took place on the 30th anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran.

“The difference between our country and some countries which have these capacities is that we believe science belongs to all humanity,” he said.

“Some people believe that advanced technologies belong to some countries exclusively.”

Mr Mottaki added: “In Iran’s history, in the last 100 years, you cannot point to aggression by Iran against any nation. Iran’s people are peace-loving they want peace with all countries around the world.”

See a video:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews
/middleeast/iran/4445416/Iran-launches-fir
st-satellite.html

Related:
Satellite and space weapon dilemma

 Obama seeks space weapons ban

U.S. In Major New Space Race; Like It Or Not
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North Korea to ‘Test Missile Capable of Striking U.S.’

A U.S. defense official told CNN’s Barbara Starr that the Pentagon detected an Iranian ballistic missile launch on Monday which was apparently delivering a satellite into orbit.

From CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/me
ast/02/03/iran.satellite/index.html

North Korea to ‘Test Missile Capable of Striking U.S.’

February 3, 2009

SEOUL, South Korea —  North Korea is preparing to test fire a long range missile capable of striking the United States, according to media reports in South Korea and Japan this morning.

The Yonhap News Agency in Seoul quoted South Korean officials who described satellite image showing a long cylindrical object being transported on a train through the North Korean countryside. The sinister object has been identified as a Taepodong-2, an intercontinental missile with a range of more than 4000 miles, capable of crossing the Pacific and striking targets in Hawaii or Alaska.

The Times (UK)

It is impossible to confirm independently reports from North Korea, one of the world’s most isolated and hardline dictatorships, where government of information is almost total. But the country is known to have an active missile programme,…

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/
0,2933,487085,00.html

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new
s/world/asia/article5647653.ece

Related: North Korea seeking attention?
 Hey President Obama, what about North Korea?

Russia Should Join U.S., Europe on Missile Defense Against Iran

January 31, 2009

Sen. Carl Levin, who chairs the Armed Services Committee, says he believes the time is ripe for the U.S. to pursue with Russia a joint missile defense effort aimed at deterring Iran.

Levin says he has spoken about the issue with the new administration, including a private conversation with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, as well as some Russian officials.

The senior Michigan Democrat says there is potential for a “real breakthrough” in the U.S. relationship with Russia, which has been strained over a U.S. program to build radars in Eastern Europe. The key, he says, is to focus on U.S. and Russia’s shared desire to prevent Iran from building nuclear-armed missiles.

–Associated Press

Satellite and space weapon dilemma

January 30, 2009

The column I began writing at 7 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, addressed the American military’s reliance on satellites and issues involving “a potential arms race in space.” Of course, by 9 a.m., space militarization became less pressing, as al Qaeda turned jumbo jets into ballistic missiles and murdered 3,000 innocents.

By Ausin Bay
The Washington Times

When China tested an anti-satellite (ASAT) weapon in January 2007, I considered resurrecting the column, but America‘s “surge” in Iraq shoved outer space aside.

The Obama administration has revived the subject – after a fashion. Check the White House Web site on the page detailing defense-related campaign promises. The new administration opposes “weaponizing space” and will “restore American leadership on space issues. …” Restoration means seeking “a worldwide ban on weapons that interfere with military and commercial satellites” and includes “thoroughly” assessing “possible threats to U.S. space assets and the best options, military and diplomatic, for countering them. …” President Obama promises to accelerate “programs to harden U.S. satellites against attack.”

Though the fervent language implicitly suggests this is a dramatic change from the Bush administration, it actually echoes Maj. Gen. James Armor’s congressional testimony of May 2007 during hearings investigating the implications of China’s anti-satellite test. The hearings were the unclassified component of a thorough assessment of a real threat to U.S. space assets, the Chinese ASAT, and a public example of U.S. leadership on space issues.

Gen. Armor (director of the Pentagon’s National Security Space Office) noted that changes in U.S. space policy since the Eisenhower administration “have been evolutionary” (i.e., have changed, based on experience), but “the key tenets have remained remarkably consistent. One such tenet is the compelling need for a strong national security space sector and the inherent right of self-defense to protect U.S. national interests in space.” Yet U.S. space policy, Gen. Armor argued, is “based on a longstanding U.S. commitment to peaceful uses of outer space. …”

Advertising execs know touting laundry soap as “new” or “improved” increases sales, though the “new” product differs little from the old. From Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush, administrations have had to balance the “peaceful use” of space against evolving technological threats to its peaceful use. The same dilemma confronts Mr. Obama and will vex his successor, as well.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/ne
ws/2009/jan/30/satellite-and-sp
ace-weapon-wiggle/

Iran Will Have Nuke This Year?

January 27, 2009

Iran will have enough enriched uranium to make a single nuclear weapon later this year, the prestigious International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) predicts.

By Geoff Meade
Sky News
The think tank’s Mark Fitzpatrick made the announcement at today’s launch of its annual global review of military powers.

“But being able to enrich uranium is not the same as having a nuclear weapon.”

However, the survey reports doubts over US Intelligence estimates that Iran halted its work on nuclear weapons six years ago.

This points to Tehran’s continued development of long-range ballistic missiles able to reach targets in Israel and beyond.

The IISS recommends a mixture of carrot and stick as the best international response.


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

It concluded a dual policy of engagement and sanctions, testing possibilities for Iranian cooperation while adopting targeted containment strategies, is the best way to deal with Iran’s nuclear programme.

Foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall said: “Several think-tanks have come to the same conclusion.

“The intelligence agencies are more reluctant to put a time frame on it, and the report itself says having enough enriched Uranium to build the warhead is not the same as building the warhead itself.”

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Nuclear
-Weapon-From-Iran-Within-A-Year-Expert-Says-Country
-Will-Have-Enough-Uranium-For-Warhead/Article/200
901415211260

Fresh Clues of Iranian Nuclear Intrigue

January 16, 2009

U.S. security and law-enforcement officials say they have fresh evidence of recent efforts by Iran to evade sanctions and acquire metals from China used in high-tech weaponry, including long-range nuclear missiles.

By GLENN R. SIMPSON and JAY SOLOMON
The Wall Street Journal

Iran’s efforts are detailed in a series of recent emails and letters between Iranian companies and foreign suppliers seen by The Wall Street Journal. Business records show one Iranian company, ABAN Commercial & Industrial Ltd., has contracted through an intermediary for more than 30,000 kilograms (about 66,000 pounds) of tungsten copper — which can be used in missile guidance systems — from Advanced Technology & Materials Co. Ltd. of Beijing. One March 2008 email between the firms mentions shipping 215 ingots, with more planned.
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The United Arab Emirates has informed the U.S. that in September it intercepted a Chinese shipment headed to Iran of specialized aluminum sheets that can be used to make ballistic missiles. A month earlier, UAE officials also intercepted an Iran-bound shipment of titanium sheets that can be used in long-range missiles, according to a recent letter to the U.S. Commerce Department from the UAE’s Washington ambassador.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seen here at the summit ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, seen here at the summit in Qatar, accused the incoming government of US president-elect Barack Obama of hostility towards the people of Gaza, which is under Israeli attack.(AFP/Ibrahim al-Omari)

Evidence of Iran’s efforts to acquire sensitive materials also is emerging from investigations by state and federal prosecutors in New York into whether a number of major Western banks illegally handled funds for Iran and deliberately hid Iranian transactions routed through the U.S. One focus of the inquiries is the role of Italy, including the Rome branch of Iran’s Bank Sepah and Italy’s Banca Intesa Sanpaolo Spa. Banca Intesa said it is cooperating in the inquiries.

The developments could present President-elect Barack Obama with an early test in responding to what many Washington security officials now say is a rapidly growing threat to the region, including U.S. allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Read the rest:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123
206759616688285.html

Russia’s Military Build-Up, Dropping Out Of Treaties, Could Be Too Costly

December 25, 2008

Losing more than is gained has been a consequence of arms build-ups by Russia in the past.  Some say the Soviet Union failed because the arms industry bankrupted other potential economic sectors.  Now the old Soviet war material is old and needs to be replaced.  But Russia can ill afford to rebuild what it wants, when it wants, despite the economic slow-down in the U.S., said Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexei Arbatov….

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MOSCOW.  Dec 25 (Interfax):  Moscow’s potential withdrawal from the Russian-U.S.  Treaty  on  Intermediate  and  Shorter  Range  Missiles in response  to  the  potential  deployment  of  U.S.  anti-missile defense elements  in Europe will not benefit Russia, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexei Arbatov said at the presentation of a book entitled   “Nuclear   Proliferation:  New  Technologies,  Arms  and Treaties” in the Moscow Carnegie Center.
    
He warned about the economic consequences of this move.
    
“The  budget is limited. If we pull out of the INF treaty and start making medium  and  shorter range missiles, we will have to cut expenses in other   spheres,  probably  strategic  weapons  or  housing  for  the military,”  Arbatov  said, adding that he didn’t know which items of the defense  budget  could  possible  be  sequestered  without  detriment to
national security.
    
“We will lose more than we will gain,” Arbatov said.
    
This  is  not  just  about  the budget but also about security, the scientist remarked.
    
“Quite  obviously,  there are circles in the West, NATO, Europe and the United  States, which would welcome this scenario because this would untie their hands,” he said.

Tu-95 Bear D.jpg
This old Soviet-era Bear bomber is old, takes a lot of money to keep flying and has minimal strategic value in today’s world, experts say.
    
In Arbatov’s opinion, this move would mean that NATO member-states, especially  European  allies,  would  unite  in  the face of a potential Russian missile threat.
    
In  addition,  the  United  States  might  retaliate  for  Russia’s withdrawal from the treaty by redeploying their medium and shorter range missiles in Europe.
    
“It  will  have  an  excuse  for  returning Pershings, ground-based cruise missiles,  and  perhaps the latest, more sophisticated systems to Europe,” he said.
    
These  missiles  might  reappear  not in Germany, Italy or Britain, where they  were  deployed  in  the  1980s,  but  for  example in Baltic countries, Poland or “maybe even in Georgia”, Arbatov said.

Related:
Russia’s new sea-based ballistic missile fails

Russia Accelerates Nuclear Re-Arming

Russia Angry, Critical of U.S. On Arms Control

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits a ballistic missile ...
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits a ballistic missile site in Russia in October. Russia is developing missiles designed to avoid being hit by space-based missile defence systems that could be deployed by the United States, a top Russian general was quoted as saying.(AFP/Pool/File/Dmitry Astakhov)

Iran Ducks UN With Venezuela, Missiles, Terrorists, Syria

December 22, 2008

Iran is using its warm relations with Venezuela to dodge UN sanctions and use Venezuelan aircraft to ship missile parts to Syria, an Italian newspaper reported Sunday.
Citing US and other Western intelligence agencies, La Stampa said Iran is using aircraft from Venezuelan airline Conviasa to transport computers and engine components to Syria for use in missiles.

The material comes from Iranian industrial group Shahid Bagheri, listed in the annex of UN Security Council Resolution 1737, adopted in December 2006, for involvement in Iran’s ballistic missile programme.

AFP

In a file picture from 2007, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ... 
In a file picture from 2007, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (front) and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad listen to their national anthems during a welcoming ceremony in Tehran. Iran is using its warm relations with Venezuela to dodge UN sanctions and use Venezuelan aircraft to ship missile parts to Syria, an Italian newspaper reported Sunday.(AFP/File/Behrouz Mehri)

The resolution instructed all nations to “prevent the supply, sale or transfer” of all material or technology that could be used for Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme and the development of weapons to carry nuclear warheads.

Syria is a close ally of Iran in the Middle East, with the two nations having signed a military cooperation pact in June 2006.

In return for providing aircraft, Iran has made available to Caracas members of its Revolution Guards and the elite Al-Quds unit to train and reinforce the Venezuelan police and secret services, La Stampa reported.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081221/wl_mideas
t_afp/italyirannuclearunvenezuela_081221195421

Russia, Obama and the Strategic Chess Tournament

December 19, 2008

Within hours of Barack Obama’s election as President of the United States a kind of Slavic chess tournament opened in the Kremlin to defeat the new American president.  Whether it is because he is Black or for whatever reason (and we might not know the Russian reason exactly for some time) Russian President Dmitry Medvev and his predecessor, mentor and Foreign Minister Vladimir Putin, began to pressure, cajole and coerce Mr. Obama.

The chess pieces include the U.S. missile defense plan for Europe, which includes ten or so interceptor missiles and a radar site, both in Poland and the Czech Republic.  Russia wants to checkmate these and get them off the European (and Kremlin) chessboard.

Putin and Medvev have as kings nuclear weapons of their own.  The day after Obama’s election, in an opening move, Medvedev offered to really provide a geographic move of short range nuclear-tipped Iskander missiles closer to Eastern Europe.

The U.S. yawned.

Medvedev backed off this idea largely due to world-wide condemnation at his dangerous bluster.

Today Russia says it will stop developing “some” strategic nuclear weapons if the U.S. halts it European missile shield plan.

This seems to us at Peace and Freedom to be a play by Russia to guarantee future Russian superpower status.  Eastern European (and former Soviet) nations like the Czech Republic and Georgia are gravitating toward the West and NATO, and Russia cannot accept their loss.  That’s why Russia invaded Georgia and South Ossetia last summer….

Related:
Russians Say Medvedev, Obama to Meet “Soon After Jan 20 Inauguration”

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Vladimir Putin is a world-class chess master at getting what he wants.  The former KGB man now  seems poised to return to the presidency of Russia for another term in a few years and he seems to have convinced many, by deception, that missile defenses in Europe are a threat to Russia.

What Putin wants is control of Russia — and a Russia of long term dominance on the world stage.

Conceived way back during the Ronald Reagan presidency and often derisively called “Star Wars” or the missile shield, U.S. missile defense is no threat to Russia or anyone else.  Like a defensive basketball or football player, missile defense is designed and used to block destructive attacking missiles from reaching their goals.

Russia has manipulated the world media for almost two decades to create the illusion that missile defense is some threat to Russians.  In fact, no missile defense missile has the capability of harming Russia or Russians: the “kill mechanism” of a missile defense interceptor is the kinetic energy or crashing into the attacking missile.  The missile defense missile has no warhead — unlike intercontinental ballistic missiles that can carry 10 or so nuclear warheads, each capable of annihilating millions of people and entire cities.

The U.S. missile defense effort for Europe has been a long and painstaking discussion going back two decades.  Along with thousands of others, I participated myself in these discussions, forums and conferences, in the early 1990s, on two levels: first as co-chairman of a NATO study (one of several) to determine the efficacy and implications of a European missile defense to stop missiles like those being developed by Iran targeted on Europe; and then on U.S. government missions to Moscow to show with credible evidence that a U.S. missile defense was no threat to Russia — or anybody.

By the middle 1990s, the Russians seemed to agree that U.S. missile defenses, even in Europe, were no threat to Russia or Russians.

In 2002, the United States, after years of notification to Russia and discussions with Russia, withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty which had been made with the Soviet Union.  This action was necessary to permit testing of U.S. missile defenses — which had targets and interceptors that could have posed an international legal discussion vis-a-vis the treaty.

Then an interesting thing happened.  Vladimir Putin in Russia decided that he wanted a resurgent Russia with renewed superpower status, like that enjoyed during the Cold War Soviet era.  As Russia developed its oil reserves, exports gave him the financial clout he needed despite an aging and creaky military machine.  But an expert at media and public manipulation, Putin went to work to achieve his goals and to stifle U.S. objectives on many fronts.

Putin Medvedev
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Above: Vladimir Putin speaks with his presidential successor, Dmitry Medvedev, in parliament May 8, 2008. Putin brought Medvedev from the post of Charman of Gazprom, Russia’s oil giant, to become his chief of staff and later preident.  Now Medvedev has proposed a longer term for Russia’s president and it is no secret that Putin wants to come back as President of Russia.  Photo: Sergei Chirikov AFP/Getty Images

The suave, handsome and articulate Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev are also quick to reveal clumsy bluster and intimidation — which is what the recent threat to move Iskander missiles closer to Poland seems to have been.

Russia also attacked neighbors in Georgia and South Ossetia — quickly turning ignored intimidation into acts of war.

Russia continues a very aggressive trade relationship with Iran, which continues to develop more capable ballistic missiles, nuclear technology (with Russian help) and sends verbal assaults at least weekly at Israel and the U.S. (”Israel should be wiped from the map,” said Iran’s President Ahmadinejad).

Efforts to slow or stop Iran’s nuclear development in the United Nations are routinely thwarted by Russia and China.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility.(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Now a global media tired of George W. Bush and enamored by Barack Obama has absolutely no time for the truth of the missile defense situation.  This weekend Agence France-Presse (AFP) wrote a photograph caption on a picture of French President Sarkozy and Russian President Medvedev which read, “Sarkozy urged Russia and the United States to stop threatening each other with missiles and missile shields.” (see below)

The fact is that U.S. missile defense threatens nobody — with missiles incabale of landing on Russian targets and without warheads.  The U.S. has even offered Russia the opportunity to place Russian inspectors at U.S. missile defense sites, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year to ensure no sneaky bad guys alter these defensive systems for attack.  The difficulty of converting a missile defense system for attack is, well, like secretly and quickly rerouting the Space Shuttle from a mission to the International Space Station and then attempting a manned landing on Mars.  Russia knows this is a crazy notion — but many in the media and others have swallowed this brainless Russian borscht.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) speaks with President of ... 
French President Nicolas Sarkozy (L) speaks with President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, before the Europe-Russia finance reform summit in Nice southern France. Sarkozy urged Russia and the United States to stop threatening each other with missiles and missile shields Friday and called for talks on Europe’s future security. (AFP/Valery Hache)
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NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called the Russian remarks on moving missiles in Europe unsolicited, unnecessary and unhelpful.

Russia has also said that a missile defense system in Europe will “negate” its thousands of nuclear armed missiles.  But the European missile defense system is only intended to have 10 interceptors — which would be easily and quickly overwhelmed by a Russian attack.

Russia's "Iskander" missile system on display ... 
Russia’s “Iskander” missile system on display at a military exhibition in the Siberian town of Nizhny Tagil in 2005. President Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia will place short-range missile systems on the EU’s eastern border to counter planned US missile defence installations in Eastern Europe.(AFP/VEDOMOSTI/File/Evgeny Stetsko)

Threating people in Europe with nuclear destruction is a gossly over the top Russian act of instigation and intimidation — and it makes no sense in the post-Cold War world.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ribert Gates said the threat from Russia, made just after the U.S. election of President-elect Barack Obama, was “hardly the welcome a new American administration deserves. Such provocative remarks are unnecessary and misguided.”

“Quite frankly I’m not clear what the missiles would be for in Kaliningrad, after all the only real emerging threat on Russia’s periphery is in Iran and I don’t think the Iskander missile has the range to get there from Kaliningrad,” Gates added. “Why they would threaten to point missiles at European nations seems quite puzzling to me.”
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Medevev and supposedly Putin have now backed away from their threat to move Iskander missiles but they have created an incredible fog of lies in the air — which many in the international media and elsewhere have swollowed.

U.S. missile defense, and the European effort with Poland and the Czech Republic, is no threat to Russia or anybody else.  It is a system to bat down incoming nuclear warheads from long-range missiles, like those Iran continues to test.

By John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia