Friday, June 01, 2007

A new arms race?

The Russian goverment has tested a new missile that it claims can overcome a missile defence system.

Russia's hawkish first deputy prime minister, Sergei Ivanov, said the country had tested both a new multiple-warhead intercontinental missile, the RS-24, and an improved version of its short-range Iskander missile.

He said the missiles were capable of destroying enemy systems and added: "As of today Russia has new missiles that are capable of overcoming any existing or future missile defence systems. In terms of defence and security, Russia can look calmly to the country's future."

The missile tests follow months of anger in Moscow over the Bush administration's determination to install parts of a controversial missile defence shield in eastern Europe.

President Vladimir Putin has been incensed by the Pentagon's plans to site missile interceptors and radar shields in Poland and the Czech Republic. The row has contributed to the worst relations between Russia and the west for 20 years.

It seems we are indeed headed for a new arms race. I am not enthusiastic about any country adding to their nuclear arsenal. Putin, in many areas ervolving around human rights violations and all-around thuggery, leaves alot to be desired in my mind. That said, what did Bush think would happen? For years now, Russia and China has expressed concern about a proposed US missile defence system, and not without cause. It further destabilizes the balance of military power in the world. According to Bush:"

"The Cold War is over," Bush told foreign reporters in an interview Thursday that previewed an eight-day trip to Europe next week. "We're now into the 21st century, where we need to deal with the true threats, which are threats of radical extremists who will kill to advance an ideology and the threats of proliferation."

Well, the Cold War was over. Maybe it still is. It was entirely up to Bush. It still mostly is, and it is certainly his administration that has gotten us into the pickle we're in now. As I said, I don't like any example of nuclear proliferation, and certainly if the US reneges on missle defence, I would expect Putin to do likewise with respect to his new missile. However, in a unipolar world, other countries, including Russia, see it as a way of protecting themselves.