Nov. 8, 2013

Missile Defense in Romania, and the Russians Don’t Like It

Russia isn’t a big fan of the new U.S. Aegis Ashore system in Romania.

The Aegis Ashore missile defense system being built in Romania by the U.S. and with the cooperation of that country’s government is giving Russia a case of the vapors. The Russian government claims that this system is directed against them – an argument they have used to protest the development of any missile defense in Europe. But it’s not true. The Romanian defensive battery is designed to protect Europe from Middle Eastern ballistic missile launches.

Just the same, Russia is promising to deploy its own S-400 and S-500 anti-aircraft and missile technology in response to the U.S.-Romanian system. It’s a political move that Russia is hoping will spur the U.S. to limit or cancel its plans, and it has worked in the past. The U.S. under Obama has cancelled or severely reduced anti-missile defense plans before – most notably in Poland, which was a slap in the face to our allies there.

This new system is scheduled to go online in 2015, but it’s difficult to know if that will actually happen. Russia has worked in recent years to re-establish a sphere of influence in Eastern Europe, and Barack Obama’s weak-kneed foreign policy has allowed them to do it. And perhaps the “flexibility” he promised the Russians upon his re-election means that he’ll cave once again.

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