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Obama canceling Star Wars radar missile boondoggle in Europe





handfleisch
Quote:
AP sources: US to reveal Euro missile defense plan

By ANNE GEARAN and DESMOND BUTLER (AP) – 42 minutes ago

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is expected to announce Thursday that it will shelve many of the components of a European missile defense plan that has been a major irritant in relations with Russia.

Obama's top military adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the administration was "very close" to the end of a seven-month review of a missile defense shield proposal, an idea that was promoted by the George W. Bush administration. Mullen would not divulge its results.


http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g9DDGIUcpNOK9eEn8fpm73W_rG7wD9AOU17O0

Looks like the last vestige of Reagan's wacky, wasteful welfare-for-military-corporations scheme is meeting its endgame. Sanity prevailing, if very belatedly.
deanhills
Perhaps not an endgame, but rather an adjustment. Perhaps also too early to come to any conclusions as details are still sketchy:
Quote:
A Pentagon spokesman confirmed a "major adjustment" to the missile defence plans in favour of a more versatile system better able to cope with the short- and medium-range missile threat from Iran.

"This does get away from the big fixed-based radar and field concept and focuses on a layered versatile adaptive system," the official said, indicating that intelligence suggested that Iran was now focused on shorter range missiles rather than intercontinental rockets.


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article6838058.ece
Bikerman
handfleisch wrote:
Looks like the last vestige of Reagan's wacky, wasteful welfare-for-military-corporations scheme is meeting its endgame. Sanity prevailing, if very belatedly.

I predict that there will be a 'backlash' from those involved. The name that springs most readily to mind would be John Bolton. I'll bet he is licking his pen and booking media interviews as I type this...
deanhills
You are right, John Bolton has already started commenting:
Quote:
Diplomats in Moscow say Russian hardliners could read the shield backdown as a sign of U.S. weakness. Far from doing the bidding of the United States, they may instead press for further gains to shore up Russian power in the former Soviet bloc.

That view was shared by John Bolton, a prominent hawk in the Bush administration.

"I think this is a near catastrophe for American relations with Eastern European countries and many in NATO," he said. "I think it was the kind of unilateral decision that the Bush administration was always criticized for and I think the clear winners are in Russia and Iran."

http://www.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUSLH51098820090917
Moonspider
Missile defense technology is far from dead. We will continue to develop and improve our capabilities in this area, and deploy those systems as deemed necessary. This move in Europe does not in any shape or form signal an end to "Star Wars," merely an adjustment to our defense strategy and posture in Eastern Europe.

To Bolton's comments, I don't see this move by the Obama Administration as a significant victory for Iran. I believe the ballistic missile threat to Europe from Iran to be minimal. However I do agree with Bolton that this is a huge political victory for Russia. The United States will (and already have) make statements to mitigate that political damage, claiming that this move has nothing to do with Russian concerns and everything to do with threat assessments and evolving technology.

I'd be willing to bet that the administration will throw a carrot to Poland and the Czech Republic to try to mitigate the political damage there as well, while sending a singal to Russia that, although we cancelled the planned missile defense system, don't think the United States is agreeing with Russia's concept of it's special sphere of influence.

Respectfully,
M
jmi256
handfleisch wrote:
Quote:
AP sources: US to reveal Euro missile defense plan

By ANNE GEARAN and DESMOND BUTLER (AP) – 42 minutes ago

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is expected to announce Thursday that it will shelve many of the components of a European missile defense plan that has been a major irritant in relations with Russia.

Obama's top military adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the administration was "very close" to the end of a seven-month review of a missile defense shield proposal, an idea that was promoted by the George W. Bush administration. Mullen would not divulge its results.


http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g9DDGIUcpNOK9eEn8fpm73W_rG7wD9AOU17O0

Looks like the last vestige of Reagan's wacky, wasteful welfare-for-military-corporations scheme is meeting its endgame. Sanity prevailing, if very belatedly.



I think the threat of Star Wars made sense during the Cold War because it basically caused the Soviet Union to spend additional money on trying to neutralize the system. Whether it would work or not from a technical standpoint or whether the US/NATO would be able to implement the program from a political standpoint wasn't all that important either. One of the reasons we won the Cold War was because the West basically forced the Soviet Union to spend a large amount on defense that it just didn't have. The successful free-market economies of the West were able to absorb these costs, while the failing socialist/communist economies of the Soviet Union and its allies were barely able to produce enough to feed their citizens.

Given the current nature of the threats we face, I don’t think the program is now needed, so it makes sense to halt it. In the future I think we’ll see nuclear threats from smaller and more geographically diverse set of players, so I think a missile shield (unless it blanketed all of the US) really isn’t needed.
Bikerman
Moonspider wrote:
To Bolton's comments, I don't see this move by the Obama Administration as a significant victory for Iran. I believe the ballistic missile threat to Europe from Iran to be minimal. However I do agree with Bolton that this is a huge political victory for Russia. The United States will (and already have) make statements to mitigate that political damage, claiming that this move has nothing to do with Russian concerns and everything to do with threat assessments and evolving technology.
Do you not see any duplicity here? Bush was clear that the project was aimed at defending against Iran and other 'rogue' states. Russia was frequently ridiculed for suggesting that the programme was aimed at them.
It may well be portrayed as a victory for the Russians, but why is that such an alarming prospect? I regard it as a victory for common-sense. Bolton, to me, displays the sort of mind-set that got the US into the Vietnam quagmire. The 'don't show weakness' macho approach to international relations might have been appropriate during the cold war (though I am far from convinced about that). It doesn't seem appropriate now. The Russian notion of a 'sphere of influence' was entirely logical during the cold-war. The USSR was surrounded on all sides by 'western imperialists'. Nowadays the argument is more 'economic' than 'military' in nature - I don't think that even Bolton would suggest that Russia represents a clear and present military threat to the US.
I did a little research into the 'Star Wars' project a couple of years ago. It seemed to me then, and I haven't changed my opinion, that the entire project was based on very bad science. The proposed radar couldn't possibly do what was being claimed, and even if it could, the targeting technology wasn't up to the job. I thought then, and I think now, that the entire project was more to do with posturing than any real attempt at a realistic missile defence system.
handfleisch
Bikerman wrote:
Do you not see any duplicity here? Bush was clear that the project was aimed at defending against Iran and other 'rogue' states. Russia was frequently ridiculed for suggesting that the programme was aimed at them.
It may well be portrayed as a victory for the Russians, but why is that such an alarming prospect? I regard it as a victory for common-sense. Bolton, to me, displays the sort of mind-set that got the US into the Vietnam quagmire. The 'don't show weakness' macho approach to international relations might have been appropriate during the cold war (though I am far from convinced about that). It doesn't seem appropriate now. The Russian notion of a 'sphere of influence' was entirely logical during the cold-war. The USSR was surrounded on all sides by 'western imperialists'. Nowadays the argument is more 'economic' than 'military' in nature - I don't think that even Bolton would suggest that Russia represents a clear and present military threat to the US.
I did a little research into the 'Star Wars' project a couple of years ago. It seemed to me then, and I haven't changed my opinion, that the entire project was based on very bad science. The proposed radar couldn't possibly do what was being claimed, and even if it could, the targeting technology wasn't up to the job. I thought then, and I think now, that the entire project was more to do with posturing than any real attempt at a realistic missile defence system.


Anyone notice how little mention there has been of the Czechs opinion? Czechs were consistently about 70% opposed, and they have good historical reasons to not want foreign troops in permanent bases on their soil. So this could be seen as a victory for the will of the people.

I agree with Bikerman's list of factors above, and it's almost funny to have Bolton proclaiming it a "near catastrophe" (he would be an expert on catastrophes, that's for sure.) But two other motives behind the missile radar project were money and base location.

Moolah: A primary goal in so many of the military boondoggles (like the Iraq invasion) is a simple tunneling of taxpayer money into the military industry that holds sway in the US. It doesn't matter how feasible something is or not -- in fact, the less feasible, the more money can be squeezed out of R&D. The Star Wars money tunnel has reached its end, but there are plenty more.

Base location: Two new military bases in Europe near Russia would have been two new pawns in the game of spreading US military might as far and wide as possible. Perhaps that's an antiquated notion at this point.
ocalhoun
handfleisch wrote:
the game of spreading US military might as far and wide as possible. Perhaps that's an antiquated notion at this point.

That 'notion' is exactly the one thing that makes the USA's military great; worldwide presence, ready to respond to anything, anywhere, anytime (with a little advance notice).

There are many antiquated things in the military, but that's not one of them.
Bikerman
ocalhoun wrote:
handfleisch wrote:
the game of spreading US military might as far and wide as possible. Perhaps that's an antiquated notion at this point.

That 'notion' is exactly the one thing that makes the USA's military great; worldwide presence, ready to respond to anything, anywhere, anytime (with a little advance notice).
I think you must be jesting.
a) The US doesn't have any such 'presence'. It does indeed have military bases in 63 countries with a total of about 1/4 million personnel, but that is, thankfully, not a 'worldwide' presence.
b) Much though it might like such a presence, I doubt that it would mean that the US was ready to 'respond to anything, anywhere, anytime'. The record would tend to indicate that this is wishful thinking.
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
handfleisch wrote:
the game of spreading US military might as far and wide as possible. Perhaps that's an antiquated notion at this point.

That 'notion' is exactly the one thing that makes the USA's military great; worldwide presence, ready to respond to anything, anywhere, anytime (with a little advance notice).
I think you must be jesting.
a) The US doesn't have any such 'presence'. It does indeed have military bases in 63 countries with a total of about 1/4 million personnel, but that is, thankfully, not a 'worldwide' presence.
b) Much though it might like such a presence, I doubt that it would mean that the US was ready to 'respond to anything, anywhere, anytime'. The record would tend to indicate that this is wishful thinking.

It's worldwide in that from those 63 bases, military force can be projected pretty much anywhere on the globe within hours. If the emergency warranted it, overwhelming force could be brought to bear in less than a day...
What other military in the world can do that? (As effectively as the USA can...)
Bikerman
ocalhoun wrote:
Bikerman wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
handfleisch wrote:
the game of spreading US military might as far and wide as possible. Perhaps that's an antiquated notion at this point.

That 'notion' is exactly the one thing that makes the USA's military great; worldwide presence, ready to respond to anything, anywhere, anytime (with a little advance notice).
I think you must be jesting.
a) The US doesn't have any such 'presence'. It does indeed have military bases in 63 countries with a total of about 1/4 million personnel, but that is, thankfully, not a 'worldwide' presence.
b) Much though it might like such a presence, I doubt that it would mean that the US was ready to 'respond to anything, anywhere, anytime'. The record would tend to indicate that this is wishful thinking.

It's worldwide in that from those 63 bases, military force can be projected pretty much anywhere on the globe within hours. If the emergency warranted it, overwhelming force could be brought to bear in less than a day...
What other military in the world can do that? (As effectively as the USA can...)
Oh....certainly the US has overwhelming military superiority worldwide...no question. The thing is, however, the notion that it can 'bring it to bear' is a nonsense. It can't even deal with a few thousand Taliban in Afghanistan. You are trapped (as many people are) in a notion that modern warfare is the same as in generations gone by. It really isn't. I thought that most Americans had realised this, particularly after Vietnam...
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
Oh....certainly the US has overwhelming military superiority worldwide...no question.

Thank you, that was the only point I was trying to make.
Quote:
The thing is, however, the notion that it can 'bring it to bear' is a nonsense. It can't even deal with a few thousand Taliban in Afghanistan. You are trapped (as many people are) in a notion that modern warfare is the same as in generations gone by. It really isn't. I thought that most Americans had realised this, particularly after Vietnam...

Why is that though?
There's a reason you don't see the kind of wars from generations gone by anymore... If there was one, and the USA was involved, it would be over quickly and decisively... Therefore nobody starts conventional wars with the USA.
If this capability died off, some might again dare to start such wars, but while it lasts, they'll use the only strategy that works against a larger, faster, more advanced foe: guerrilla warfare. As surveillance technology gets better, even guerrilla warfare becomes too bold: they have to resort to insurgency and/or terrorism... more properly spy/counterspy work, not military.
Bikerman
ocalhoun wrote:
There's a reason you don't see the kind of wars from generations gone by anymore... If there was one, and the USA was involved, it would be over quickly and decisively... Therefore nobody starts conventional wars with the USA.
Are you serious? Tell that to the Vietnamese. Tell it to the Taliban. Are you suggesting that the USA isn't involved in a 'full on' war in Afghanistan at the moment?
You are still thinking in old terms about warfare. It isn't like that anymore. The days of one army nicely lined-up against another are long gone, and any army that planned on that basis would be stupid (and whatever I might think about the US military, I don't think they are stupid).
ocalhoun
Bikerman wrote:
ocalhoun wrote:
There's a reason you don't see the kind of wars from generations gone by anymore... If there was one, and the USA was involved, it would be over quickly and decisively... Therefore nobody starts conventional wars with the USA.
Are you serious? Tell that to the Vietnamese. Tell it to the Taliban. Are you suggesting that the USA isn't involved in a 'full on' war in Afghanistan at the moment?
You are still thinking in old terms about warfare. It isn't like that anymore. The days of one army nicely lined-up against another are long gone, and any army that planned on that basis would be stupid (and whatever I might think about the US military, I don't think they are stupid).

Exactly. The Afghans and the Vietnamese are not stupid.
Did they plan to have a 'full on war'? Yes, perhaps. But when planning for that contingency, they planned for guerrilla wars.

Dominance can't prevent guerrilla wars, no more than it can win them.

And the two current wars have greatly changed US military planning.
However, that can't be taken too far. They have to balance the capability to fight guerrillas with the ability to fight strong, advanced armies. The enemy will always attack where you are weakest. Right now the USA is weakest against guerrillas, but if we focused so much on guerrillas that we became weaker against a strong, advanced enemy, then any country in a war with the US would adopt the strategy of a strong, advanced military, and hope that they were strong enough and advanced enough to pull it off.
deanhills
Moonspider wrote:
I'd be willing to bet that the administration will throw a carrot to Poland and the Czech Republic to try to mitigate the political damage there as well, while sending a singal to Russia that, although we cancelled the planned missile defense system, don't think the United States is agreeing with Russia's concept of it's special sphere of influence.
Looking at it politically, I would imagine this helped to boost Obama's ratings with his own party, who have accused him from following the previous's administrations status quo. He has been working hard on that after his holidays, and maybe this was another effort to get his party in line behind him. However, he probably rattled a few cages with regard to foreign policy with Russia, and it may cost him a number of friends on both sides of the Atlantic with regard to trusting his dealings with Russia.
Moonspider
handfleisch wrote:
Quote:
AP sources: US to reveal Euro missile defense plan

By ANNE GEARAN and DESMOND BUTLER (AP) – 42 minutes ago

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is expected to announce Thursday that it will shelve many of the components of a European missile defense plan that has been a major irritant in relations with Russia.

Obama's top military adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the administration was "very close" to the end of a seven-month review of a missile defense shield proposal, an idea that was promoted by the George W. Bush administration. Mullen would not divulge its results.


http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g9DDGIUcpNOK9eEn8fpm73W_rG7wD9AOU17O0

Looks like the last vestige of Reagan's wacky, wasteful welfare-for-military-corporations scheme is meeting its endgame. Sanity prevailing, if very belatedly.


The missile defense system plan was not scrapped, just altered. I believe this alteration to be partly due to a reassessment of the threat and partly to assuage Russian concerns with the long range missile defense system.

We don't get everything we may have once wanted, but we get all we can without upsetting the Russians too much while keeping the young nations in the former Eastern bloc content. And we can save face by stating that the change is based upon a new threat assessment.

"Czech PM Backs New US Missile Defense Plan"

Missile defense is not dead, nor will it ever die as long as there are offensive missile systems.

Every new military technology creates a response (new technology and/or changes in tactics or strategy). As long as there are bullets, there will be research and development of better body armor to mitigate damage to personnel. And as long as there are missiles capable of delivering warheads long distances, there will be research, development, and deployment of better missile defense systems.

Respectfully,
M

http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-10-23-voa46.cfm
deanhills
Moonspider wrote:
Missile defense is not dead, nor will it ever die as long as there are offensive missile systems.
Am glad as this is confirmation of what I had thought as well, but only after I had really read the news reports VERY carefully. Obama has a way with news releases where they are not lies, but they are obviously heavily slanted to make him look good. I remember when the story was released to the media it was a couple of weeks before the Security Council nuclear disarmament meeting of which he is the Chair. Both he and Hillary have also been working on getting the Russians to support sanctions against Iran. In the end they could not get the Russians' support for the sanctions.
Moonspider
deanhills wrote:
Moonspider wrote:
Missile defense is not dead, nor will it ever die as long as there are offensive missile systems.
Am glad as this is confirmation of what I had thought as well, but only after I had really read the news reports VERY carefully. Obama has a way with news releases where they are not lies, but they are obviously heavily slanted to make him look good. I remember when the story was released to the media it was a couple of weeks before the Security Council nuclear disarmament meeting of which he is the Chair. Both he and Hillary have also been working on getting the Russians to support sanctions against Iran. In the end they could not get the Russians' support for the sanctions.


Yes, for whatever reason the deployment of the missile defense system did not make as many headlines as the cancellation of its predecessor. Maybe it didn't have the conflict angle necessary to make a good story. Maybe there were more seemingly pressing matters that day in the news. Who knows. I'm not conspiratorial so I won't claim that the White House had anything to do with it. But I think it did work to their advantage politically.

As for Russia and Iran. It's a different topic in another thread, so I won't expound too much on it here. But I never trusted the Russians to follow through on that, nor the Iranians to hold true to any agreements (if any) they ever make. We'll all just go through the niceties of diplomacy without ever actually accomplishing anything, at least from our perspective. The Iranians are accomplishing a great deal.

Respectfully,
M
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