Thursday, June 7, 2007

Don't worry about US missile system, Mr. Putin, it doesn't work

President Putin need not worry about the US missile defense system as it does not work, according to a group of US scientists.

The Union of Concerned Scientists made this statement even President Bush prepares to meet with his Russian counterpart tomorrow in Germany.

"The defense system couldn't stop a Russian nuclear attack on the United States," Dr. David Wright, a physicist and co-director of UCS's Global Security Program said. "The defense system couldn't stop a Russian nuclear attack on the United States. It could be easily overwhelmed by the sheer size of the Russian nuclear arsenal, destroyed by an attack on the system at the same time Russia launched its own missiles, or foiled by decoys and other countermeasures."

In the days running up to the G-8 Summit in Germany this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been denouncing US plans to build a missile defense system in Central Europe and threatened to target Europe with Russian missiles if the plan went ahead.

"Because the system is vulnerable to decoys, it also wouldn't stop a missile attack from the Middle East," Dr. Wright added. "If Iran or other states in the region develop long-range missiles and deliverable nuclear warheads, they would certainly equip those missiles with countermeasures that could render U.S. defenses ineffective."

President Putin expressed his disappointment at the fact that while Russia has removed all of our heavy weapons from the European part of Russia and put them behind the Urals, Europe is being pumped full of new weapons systems.

He emphasised that for the first time in history there are elements of the U.S. nuclear capability on the European continent.

"How do they justify this?" Putin asked. "By the need to defend themselves against Iranian missiles. But there are no such missiles. Iran has no missiles with a range of 5,000 to 8,000 kilometres. In other words, we are being told that this missile defence system is there to defend against something that doesn’t exist. Do you not think that this is even a little bit funny?"

Russian military experts believe that this system affects the territory of the Russian Federation in front of the Ural mountains and Putin explained that he has no choice but to respond to the new threat posed by the US missile system.

"Russia's reaction may seem nonsensical, so does the U.S. decision to invite such a reaction by planning to field a system that won't work," Dr. Wright said. "Moreover, as long as the United States maintains a nuclear warfighting posture—keeping thousands of nuclear warheads ready to be launched within minutes at Russia's nuclear forces—Russia will find such defenses threatening, despite evidence they won't work."

Dr Wright urged Bush to have a bilateral dialogue aimed at reducing the nuclear arsenals of both the former cold war rivals.

"The best way to increase US security would be to take steps to dramatically cut US and Russian nuclear arsenals and reduce the chance they would be used," he said. "Instead, the proposed European missile defense site, by inflaming passions and strengthening hard-line Russian thinking, worsens a real threat while offering a false promise against a possible future one."

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