The word “hysterical” has multiple meanings. In the past couple of days, Dmitri Medvedev has personified a couple of them. ”Hysterical” as in “hysterically funny”: the folk dancing display. ”Hysterical” as in “unmanageable emotional excesses”: his shrieking about US missile defense plans. To wit:
President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia was prepared to deploy Iskander missiles, which officials said have a range of up to 500 kilometers (310 miles), in the Kaliningrad exclave that borders EU members Poland and Lithuania.
Using rhetoric reminiscent of the Cold War, he said the weapons systemsmight also be deployed in the south – close to Russia’s foe Georgia and NATO member Turkey – and be used to eliminate the missile defense systems.
. . . .
If the West pressed ahead with the plans, “the Russian Federation will deploy in the west and the south of the country modern weapons systems that could be used to destroy the European component of the U.S. missile defense.”
“One of these steps could be the deployment of the Iskander missile systems in Kaliningrad,” Medvedev said in a televised address.
Medvedev ordered the Russian defence ministry to “immediately” put radar systems in Kaliningrad that warn of incoming missile attacks on a state of combat readiness.
He said that Russia’s ballistic missiles would be given the capacity to overcome missile defense systems, as well as “new highly effective warheads.”
. . . .
“If the situation does not develop well, then Russia reserves the right to halt further steps in disarmament and the corresponding weapons controls,” he said.
He also said the problem could lead to Russia quitting the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) for nuclear arms cuts with the U.S. that Medvedev signed with President Barack Obama in April 2010.
This is actually just the latest in Medvedev’s hysterical outbursts: he gave pretty much the same speech several years ago, right down to the last jot and tittle. Iskander yadda yadda Kaliningrad yadda yadda new warheads that can evade defenses blah blah.
Medvedev reflects Russian beliefs that the ABM systems to be deployed in eastern Europe (with a radar in Turkey) is aimed at Russia. He claims international support for this view:
Appearing stern [LOL--Medvedev is well, hysterical, when he tries to act all butch and stuff] before a Russian flag on state-run television, Mr. Medvedev said Russia has long objected to the plans, declaring that officials in some countries openly say that “the whole system is against Russia.”
Some countries? Like who? Syria? North Korea? South Ossetia?
Look. US defense spending is sometimes wastefully stupid, but if the real objective of US ABM systems was to neuter Russia’s nuclear deterrent, this would be the most colossally stupid waste in history. Interceptors based in Europe (including SM-3 systems aboard Aegis cruisers) would be not only woefully inadequate in terms of numbers, but completely misplaced to deal with a Russian nuclear strike. They would be in a tail chase for missiles launched on a polar trajectory. Far beyond their capability. They would be useless against SLBMs, which is a focus of Putin’s fantastical profligacy in defense spending.
No, a less wasteful plan intended to defeat Russian ICBMs would focus on CONUS-based systems, and continuing to develop the Aegis/SM-3 systems, not on systems in eastern Europe.
Given that this is just a repeat hysterical outburst, one wonders about the timing. The most straightforward explanation is that this is boobushka bait for the upcoming Duma elections, and the presidential “election” to follow. Or that Putin wants a pre-text and rationalization for his desired military spend-a-palooza, and his sock puppet is delivering the message. Coming from Barry’s burger buddy Dmitri, it is a clearer signal that this the more confrontational stance is uniformly endorsed by the entire elite.
It could also reflect a Russian calculation that US budgetary woes will constrain its military spending, and that some pressure applied at this time could lead to American retrenchment on an issue that obsesses Russia, and another American abandonment of eastern European countries that stuck their necks out for the US. Especially at a time when the US has signaled that it’s military focus is shifting to Asia, and specifically China.
So, how’s that Reset working, BHO? Syria? Iran? And the Conventional Forces in Europe thing?:
The U.S. will no longer share data with Russia on conventional weapons, in what the State Department said was an expression of frustration over Russia’s refusal to comply with the data sharing and inspection provisions in the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty.
“The U.S. will not accept Russian inspections of our bases under the CFE and we will also not notify Russia of the annual data called for under the CFE and it’s our understanding that a number of NATO allies will do the same thing,” State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said today.
The move comes after the failure of talks meant to revive the treaty that governs the placement and number of troops and conventional weapons. Russia stopped adhering to the CFE in 2007, refusing to accept inspections or provide information to the other 29 countries that are party to the treaty.
But of course, on the other side of the ledger there’s . . . . And, uh, . . . . And what about, er.
Give me a minute. I’m sure I’ll think of something.
Anybody want to participate in a pool as to when Putin next appears in military uniform? He is definitely of the bad attention is better than no attention school of thought, and will no doubt attempt to exploit the chaotic world situation to attract as much attention as possible from his bête noire.