Tuesday, 9 September 2008

All at sea


Regarding missile defence, some commentators prefer sea-based interceptors to the interceptors planned for deployment in Poland, reasoning that a sea-based system is less provocative. Matthew Yglesias posts on the subject here

According to this BBC News story from last month, the planned deployment of 10 interceptors in Poland is part of a larger deployment that includes 44 land based interceptors in Alaska and California, and 130 interceptors on ships, so the sea-based element would already seem larger just in terms of numbers.

If Russia’s given reasons for objecting to Polish based interceptors were genuine, wouldn’t one expect Russia to be even more concerned about the sea based system? There is quite a lot of sea around Europe, with no locals to object, so the potential for a sea based system to scale up to the point where it might pose some strategic challenge to Russia’s nuclear deterrence of 4,000 warheads would seem to be greater than the couple of handfuls of interceptors destined for Poland.

All of this casts further doubt on Russia’s objections to Poland accepting the interceptor deployment, and indicates that what they dislike is not the physical abilities of the actual interceptors, but what they represent in terms of further integrating Poland with the West, and the implications of that integration for other Eastern European countries.

Earlier post on Yglesias and missile defence here.

Above: detail from an as yet unfinished colour version of this Airforce Amazons page.

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