Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 07, 2007

Putin's Missile Defense Joke

When Bush announced plans to open missile defense sites in Poland and Chenya, he gave Russia the creeps.

The U.S. said those silo-bunkered rockets would be against an Iranian threat. Later it was added that they would protect Europe.

But for some curious reasons Russians fear that these harmless defense missiles could endanger them.

Now Putin came up with an interesting idea.

Why not put these rockets into Azerbaijan? That country is a northern neighbor of Iran. From there, radar surveillance of Iranian missile launches and defense measures against any long range Iranian missiles would be easy to do.

Putin has already cleared the idea with the president of Azerbaijan and there is even a radar site already available on a Russian base. His troops would help to put everything else in place and would make sure that any U.S. personal would be kept well.

"What is not to love with that idea George?"

Of course Putin knows that the original U.S. claims are false.

Iran does not have long range rockets and does not have the capacity, knowledge and intent to build such. They buy their short/medium ranged rockets, or major parts for those, in North Korea.

The U.S. installation plans were a suprise for the Europeans. If the plans were to protect Europe, why didn't the Europeans know about such? Why wasn't NATO involved?

The site in Poland is even quite odd as a defensive site against Russian intercontinental rockets. Those would fly from Russian grounds north over the pole to hit the U.S. - Poland lies west of Russia.

Missiles in silos may be for missile defense or for offensive use as ground-to-ground missiles. The difference is in the warhead and the software. With rockets in silos in Poland, some maintenance could easily change the declared purpose of these.

The only purpose where such a U.S. missile site makes sense is in an offensive capacity against Russia. Nuclear tipped offensive rockets in Poland would leave Russia with a warning time of only very few minutes. The Russians, having been invaded several times with devastating consequences, take any threat against Rodina, the Russian motherland, very seriously.

The INF treaty of 1988 eliminated intermediate-range missiles in Europe. NATO scrapped their Pershing II's and the USSR did away with their SS-20. Russia now fears that Bush or his successors will ignore that international contract just like Bush shredded the Anti-Ballistic-Missile treaty.

The site in NATO Poland is, from the Russian point of view, a deadly threat. But some missiles in Azerbaijan, more or less under Russian military control, should be no problem.

Bush has publicly stated the purpose of the missiles is defense against a threat from Iran. He has offered the Russians cooperation on missile defense. Why would he now reject the Russian offer?

The public, maybe not in the U.S., but in Poland, Chechia and other European countries is against the project. If Bush does not find some plausible reason to say 'Njet' to Putin's offer - and I can't think of one - the project may well be as dead as it should be.

The folks in the Kremlin are certainly having a good laugh now.

Posted by b on June 7, 2007 at 18:58 UTC | Permalink


Great post, Bernhard.

Bush has been shown up for the petulant, condescending fool he is. Also the crudeness and stupidity of the president and his inner circle is on display for the world to see.

There was special crudeness in the disparaging, dismissive attitude toward Russia and its security concerns. But don't be surprised if these hammerheads in the Bush administration keep trying to bull and bluster their way forward with their moronic proposal.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 7 2007 19:46 utc | 1

I think that's quite right. I would add that Putin's show of belligerence over the past week was only to set Bush up for a surprise. He was expecting an argument not a reasonable counterproposal.

It also wins some points in Europe when Russia is seen as the rational problem solver.

Posted by: Lysander | Jun 7 2007 19:46 utc | 2

Next up, Castro offers to provide missile protection to the US against Trinidad and an old naval base.

Posted by: biklett | Jun 7 2007 20:22 utc | 3

I think the Russian's have sussed Bushco out. Carl Rove isn't the only manipulative and cunning political strategist in the world. We'll probably see the US being out manuevered more and more frequently in the style of Putin.

Posted by: iron butterfly | Jun 7 2007 20:30 utc | 4

I have always been perplexed by the missle defense shield in Poland or other Eastern European contries. What could possibly be the purpose? They couldn't even shoot down Saddam's Scuds with any reliability. Why would Poland even agree to keep them? Surely thy are wise enough to know that Russia would object in strenuous terms.

Perhaps the plan is to turn them into offensive weapons as a way to threaten Russia, but why do even that? A few dozen medium range missles in Poland are not going to take out Russia's nuclear missle fleet in a first strike so MAD still applies.

This whole thing makes no sense. My government is drifting off into la-la land.

Posted by: Growth Factor | Jun 7 2007 20:32 utc | 5

A few dozen medium range missles in Poland are not going to take out Russia's nuclear missle fleet in a first strike so MAD still applies.

They wouldn't take out Russian missiles, but the people who'd order them lauched. In a U.S. strikes first scenario, the site in Poland makes perfect sense ...

Posted by: b | Jun 7 2007 20:39 utc | 6

This article from the Asia Times points out much of what you've said b, and puts it in a larger global context. The US has been energetically working to both undermine Russia internally, and to encircle it internationally, this bipartisan effort has continued from the fall of the USSR.
Anyway, a good joke from Putin is always appreciated.

Posted by: Dick Durata | Jun 7 2007 20:55 utc | 7

ooh, baby, baby, where did our love go?

Posted by: catlady | Jun 7 2007 21:01 utc | 8

Obviously, Putin didn't reach the upper echelons of the KGB merely because he had a rich daddy. When I read this this morning, I roared at the logic of Putin's suggestion and corner it backed Bush into.

Posted by: Ensley | Jun 7 2007 21:08 utc | 9

And if Bush rejects the Azerbijan initiative, he can suggest Iraq, where giant US bases are being built. Logical?

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jun 7 2007 21:56 utc | 10

Qualified Islamic terrorists know that the best time for a strike on America is when the administration is beating off fantasizing about ballistic missile defense. We all recall that was the hot throbbin' geostrategic initiative when the 9/11 hijackers were hiding behind trees holding outsized black spherical bombs with hissing fuses like prodigiously conspicuous cartoon spies menacing the astonishingly oblivious Federal security apparatus. Guess it's time to execute Phase II of Operation Make a Fool of The Great Satan.

Posted by: chatter | Jun 8 2007 1:23 utc | 11

It will have to be explained to Bush because I'm sure that he does not play chess,but Putin just said "Check".

Posted by: R.L. | Jun 8 2007 2:34 utc | 12

Azerbaijan: Let's Talk on Missile System

Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said Friday that Azerbaijan is ready to consider proposed joint U.S.-Russian use of a radar facility in the country as part of a missile defense system.
Mammadyarov said the proposal "can only bring more stability into the region because it can lead to more predictable actions in the region."
Funny how all the reports today are without much spin. Bush and his folks haven't found an answer to turn this thing around.

With the climate change "compromise" at the G8 being obvious bullshit, thanks to Bush, Putin's move catches the headlines and he will be the sole winner for now.

Posted by: b | Jun 8 2007 10:17 utc | 13

Ah, the dry humor of Putin.

Since missile shields work lousy the missiles are about two things: offensive missiles to aim at Russia (or other states, should the situation change) and a huge chunk of money for the military industries. Bet some nice kickbacks will arrive at right accounts.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Jun 8 2007 14:10 utc | 14

Of course underlying the discussion is the fact that all the players know that anti ICBM measures are physically impossible (I exclude Bush from knowing this) and the program is just welfare for defence contractors.

Posted by: ed_finnerty | Jun 8 2007 14:31 utc | 15

G-8 Summit Winds Down With Africa Aid Pledge

President Bush missed several meetings this morning, including one on aid to Africa, after falling ill with a mild stomach ailment. He is now “back on schedule,” a top aide said.
Dan Bartlett, counselor to the president, said Mr. Bush awakened “feeling very much under the weather,” and decided to “dial it back a bit” by meeting Mr. Sarkozy in his room. The president rested until noon and then rejoined the leaders for lunch, and expects to continue on with a planned trip to Poland for dinner with that country’s president, Mr. Bartlett said.
So first its his stomach, but he immediatly joined lunch and then its "the weather", consistent sunny 72-80F, no rain and a mild wind.

Maybe Putin did really hit this one out of the ball park and Bush was really, really pissed.

The papers here are specultating ...

Posted by: b | Jun 8 2007 16:48 utc | 16

"defense" contractors my ass.

Posted by: beq | Jun 8 2007 16:53 utc | 17

Putin must have read my post at 10 above. Putin suggests Iraq for missile shield

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Jun 8 2007 17:44 utc | 18

"defense" contractors my ass.
Good point, beq.

Posted by: Ensley | Jun 8 2007 19:14 utc | 19

bush is no match for putin.

Putin must have read my post at 10 above.

no doubt ;)

Posted by: annie | Jun 8 2007 23:58 utc | 20

Just passing through for a minute -- very interesting, b, but just a side note: "under the weather" is an accepted euphemism for "mildly ill" in most (if not all) of the U.S.; the actually meteorological conditions have nothing to do with it.

Posted by: The Truth Gets Vicious When You Corner It | Jun 9 2007 5:56 utc | 21

Yes, # 21, mildly ill. I think b was kidding us--very good! :D And some reports have speculated on a mild stomach virus. Could it be the dread strain CH3CH2OH?

Posted by: Gaianne | Jun 9 2007 6:26 utc | 22

Ah yes, the 26 ounce flu...

Posted by: jcairo | Jun 9 2007 10:50 utc | 23

Bush wants to pay back Poland for his prisons?

Posted by: mattes | Jun 9 2007 19:34 utc | 24

The neo cons want to revive the cold war, if it ever stopped that is, as they can’t attack Iran. They didn’t like Putin’s victory over the ‘oligarchs’ at all at all. Today, Russia is the world’s leading oil producer; and the biggest exporter (Saudi in second place.)

Afaik, Putin grew up without a father. (Or the father was very absent.) He has not spoken to his mother for decades - she is still alive I believe. His only connections with power is that his grandfather, Spiridon, was a cook.

He was personal cook - to Lenin and Stalin! or so says the legend. I think the ‘Stalin’ part is not quite right - he probably worked in some canteen, whatever. (From tee-vee and women’s glossies.)

“Putin” is not a russian name - it is a ‘no name’ - an abbreviation or an invention .. this is trivia supreme..but it means he has a reputation as a self made man without connections (and boy does that count for the EU elites), not a bad thing overall in this situation. (For Russia I mean.)

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 10 2007 15:21 utc | 25

The Ground-to-Ground missile idea does not hold water. The US Navy has Trident missile subs that can creep along the Russian coast and position for very short flight times. There is no good reason to base nuclear armed ground strike missiles in Poland. This is an interceptor site.

Then again this is the Bush administration, they will be out of power before the site is constructed, the next President will nix the thing.

Putin just called the bluff - he has the skill and brain power that Bush thinks he has.

The Russians can get past 10 lame interceptors without a problem - they'd just whack the radar sitea nad blind the system with a barrage of GPS guided cruise missles carrying traveling in at at Mach 3 a minute before they launch. (Just like the USAF would.)

Posted by: DC | Jun 15 2007 13:07 utc | 26

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