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Feb 6, 2012 | 22:02 GMT

2 mins read

Possible Russian Counters to U.S. BMD in Poland

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(Stratfor)
Possible Russian Counters to U.S. BMD in Poland
Tensions between Moscow and Washington can be attributed to one primary issue: ballistic missile defense (BMD). The United States' BMD systems are scheduled to become operational in Romania in 2015 and in Poland in 2018. It is not that Russia is concerned with the technical aspects of U.S.-led missile defense systems eroding or neutralizing Russia's nuclear deterrent. Rather, BMD means a physical U.S. military presence in the region, showing Washington's security commitment to Central Europe against a strengthening Russia. The United States claimed that the systems are intended to counter the rising threat from Iran, so in response, Russia offered to integrate its BMD system with NATO's system. According to Moscow, such integration would strengthen Western defenses across Eurasia — indeed, all the way to East Asia. However, Washington rejected the offer, thereby confirming Moscow's suspicions that the BMD system is more about Russia than the Iranian threat. Accordingly, Russia made threatening gestures against the United States and its allies, ranging from support for Iran to the deployment of missiles on the borders of Central European countries. Russia's goal was to attract Washington's attention and shape the view inside Europe — particularly Western Europe — that Russia had offered the West partnership in missile defense but was being forced to take countermeasures against the United States.

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