Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Target on Poland's Back

Russia's reaction to the agreement between the US and Poland is pretty predictable. Basically, they are threatening to roll over the top of Poland in the event of a nuclear showdown with the US.

Poland agreed on Thursday to host elements of a U.S. global anti-missile system after Washington agreed to boost Poland's own military air defenses.

"The USA is engaged in an anti-missile defense for its own government, and not for Poland. And Poland, in deploying (elements of the system) opens itself to a military strike. That is 100 percent," Interfax quoted Nogovitsyn as saying.
In agreeing to deploy elements of the U.S. missile shield, Poland "becomes an actionable object. Those targets are destroyed in the first order," Nogovitsyn said.

This is not a new position for Poland. They have a long history of being rolled over whenever they got in the way of an expansionist power. Honestly, they probably made about as good a deal as it was possible for them to make.

This is not really about Russian fears that the system actually poses a real threat to their capabilities:

The 10 interceptor missiles to be based at a site in northern Poland compare with Russia's own nuclear arsenal of more than 5,000 ballistic warheads.

This is about national prestige and a newly resurgent Russian imperialism.

I've not been a fan of this missile defense for reasons I'll leave for another time. On the other hand, Russia's move into Georgia needed a real response of some sort. This isn't a bad one given the circumstances.

It would have been unwise to directly involve the US military in Georgia for a range of reasons. It would have been even worse to continue the administration's initial policy of apparent appeasement. I'm glad to see the administration seems to have found a policy with an appropriate level of backbone.

It seems clear that Russia intended to throw a bit of a scare into its erstwhile possessions. In that, they succeeded.