The anti-missile defense drill that Russia is running with the U.S. and NATO continues and the song remains the same.
In this verse, recently added, the Russians want a pledge that missile defense won’t be used against them:
"We are proposing, and asking for it to be put in writing, that the missile defense system for Europe is not directed against any of the participating states – not NATO, Russia or other European states," [Russian Foreign Minister] Lavrov said.
I just want to be helpful here, so how about this as the suggested language: “I (state your name) do hereby solemnly pledge to avoid the use of a missile defense system against almost all enemies and allies, foreign and domestic, with liberty and fraternity for all. Amen.”
Yes, Lavrov is looking for the written language (he left out ‘with the full-force of the law’) that a missile defense system will never be used against Russian missiles.
First, his implication that such a system would ever be used against NATO or other European states is idiotic on its face: we don’t worry about the threat of UK or French ICBMs.
Next, it would also seem that Lavrov’s assumption of “participation” is a bit undefined and perhaps early to need at this point.
Third, would it seem reasonable to think a missile defense system that would be used to stop an Iranian missile attack would also be used to stop a Russian missile attack? Kinda like ‘friends with benefits’? Or would we instead choose to let Washington DC (or Kings Bay or wherever) just turn to ash even if we have a capability to mitigate or even stop such an attack?
What appears to be missing in the delicate dance of the arms controllers is the benefit the United States or NATO would get out of such a pledge. At this point, the only benefit appears to be the assumption that Russia would quit complaining about missile defense, if only for a while.
The reality is the Russians are still trying to negotiate (better said, trying to posture) on something they have little–approaching zero–power over.
Russia previously sought veto power in the system’s operation – a subject not broached by Lavrov.
Getting Russian leadership to vacate their hollow bad-cop threats is a nice change of pace. In a way, Lavrov has done that.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev used a closely watch pre-election television appearance this week to warn the United States of a return to the Cold War should the shield be constructed despite Russia’s objections.
And the chief of the military’s general staff warned May 20 that the shield’s deployment could lead to a "mad arms race."
“Mad arms race” meaning an angry arms race or meaning a “mutually assured destruction” arms race? ‘Cause the U.S. ain’t racing and a Russian threat to do so is vacuous.
Still, fully-functioning missile defense would reframe the whole nuclear war security discussion from one of mutually assured destruction towards that of assured survival.
How can anyone be against assured survival? After all, it’s for the children…