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Russia-Friendly Missiles?

gbi091909.jpgThe words “missiles” and “friendly” don’t often go together, but the people at Boeing have sensed an opportunity for such semantic innovation – conveniently they could also make a lot of money from the silly imaginary missile games being played between Washington and Moscow over proposed defensive sites to be based in Poland and the Czech Republic.  According to this report over at EurActiv, the Boeing brass unveiled a new proposal today which they think should calm any fears in Moscow:  no need to dig permanent silos and bases, when you can just your a ground-based interceptor (GBI) which can be flown in and out of any given country on a C130.

Interesting idea, but the Kremlin is unlikely to go for it.  Various attempts to build a defensive missile system in cooperation with the Russians have been spurned by Moscow (though the Americans failed to grab onto the Azerbaijan counterproposal).  The answer, of course, is not that the ABM sites in Poland or Czech Republic pose any threat to Russia (not even their military officers are genuinely worried about this fiction), but rather that the Americans hope that the Russians see that the only way to get the project canceled is to join the international anti-proliferation effort with regard to Iran.  The Russian worry is that a permanent base so close to their borders could later be used to house offensive weaponry, and otherwise damage their sense of the “sphere of influence.”

The missile issue is a boring distraction.  The ideal outcome for Russia is that we get to keep arguing about it.  The ideal outcome for Washington is that Iran gets squeezed a little more by Moscow (they certainly appear to be in no rush).  No one is really thinking about missiles, Poland, or the Czech Republic, but the eagerness on behalf of East Europeans to house more American weapons and military bases has certainly shot up a few notches since the invasion of Georgia.  This is turn wildly feeds the siloviki paranoia, and so on and so forth…