Barnett on Missile Defense

Tom Barnett is hoping that Obama gently puts the kibosh on the whole missile-defense thing:

The planned missile defense system in Eastern Europe serves no purpose vis-a-vis Russia’s vast remaining arsenal except to provocatively suggest America is aiming to alter the continental correlation of forces — which it can’t.

In reply, Russian president Dmitri Medvedev now threatens to target those planned sites with conventional missiles, putting our newly elected leader in the position of choosing between “caving in” to Russian pressure or standing up to Russia’s idiotic threat to our equally pointless provocation.

With two wars and a global financial crisis in full swing, this is the “crisis” on which American strategists want our future president spending precious diplomatic capital?

Ah, not really. The fundamental, technical problem is that any defense will leak. Proponents believe we can live with one warhead in 100 getting through. The reality is that the one would be a morale breaker. The certainty of retaliation is what keeps things in check. And we have other things we need to do with the money, even in the defense sphere.

Sarkozy: Not So Fast

If Google’s Russian and Polish translations are to be believed, French President Nicolas Sarkozy wants both the US and Russia to cool it on the whole missile deployment/missile defense front for six months or so. In other words, let’s wait for Obama. He also wants a Euro security conference. The Poles apparently aren’t thrilled by any of this.

Things Settle

Lots of low-level stuff on Georgia/Russia.

  • The NYT cottons to the cyberwar. Suspects are plentiful, conviction-level proof minimal.
  • Just like that, the US and Poland do a missile-defense deal. They deny the Georgia fracas had anything to do with it, but no one believes that. The cherry on top is that we promised to help out the Poles “in case of trouble.” The Poles aren’t exactly believers in NATO.
  • Someone in the US Navy may be less skeptical than I about the possibility of its operating in the Black Sea.
  • Andrew Sullivan thinks McCain is hard-wired personality-wise to keep global conflict at a boil.
  • Some look at McCain and see Al Haig. Along with something a little more¬†sleazy, in the form of an adviser who’s been in¬†Saakashvili’s pocket.