Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Putin touts Russian missile systems

In a statement that sounded more like the Cold War than anything else, Russian President Putin spoke glowingly about his country's latest missile technology which, he says, is "immune" to missile defense systems.

::::::::"Russia ... has tested missile systems that no one in the world has," the ITAR-Tass, Interfax and RIA Novosti news agencies quoted him as saying at a news conference. "These missile systems don't represent a response to a missile defense system, but they are immune to that. They are hypersonic and capable of changing their flight path."

Putin said the new missiles were capable of carrying nuclear warheads. He wouldn't say whether the Russian military already had commissioned any such missiles.


Putin said that the new missiles were capable of changing both the altitude and the direction of their flight, making it impossible for an enemy to intercept them.

"A missile defense system is designed to counter missiles moving along a ballistic trajectory," Putin was quoted as saying.

Putin and other Russian officials have boasted of the new missiles in similar comments in recent years, but they haven't identified them or given any further details other than about their ability to change their flight path on approach to a target.

Most analysts viewed the earlier announcements about "hypersonic" missile systems as Moscow's response to U.S. missile defense plans.

Well, isn't that nice? Considering that no other country on earth has come anywhere close to deploying an anti-missile system of the type Putin speaks of you don't have to wonder too long for whom these missiles are supposed to be deployed against. Gee, Vlad, are you saying you don't like us? And is this move supposed to frighten the US into cowering before the colossal might of the Russian Federation? I'd like to point out that the Soviet Union tried just such tactics and the US did not respond as the Soviets thought they would. We responded by putting even better arms in our arsenal and coming up with new countermeasures. Turns out we came up with countermeasures for weapons that didn't really exist. Think we can do that again?

I'm thinking: yes.

All of which, frankly, is unnecessary although I think I can understand why Putin is doing this. It's just a reminder, though, that not all threats to the US are emanating from a cave in Pakistan.