Two-Faced — Russia building up missile defenses while seeking to limit U.S. defenses

Another Gertz article with the same subject as a previous post:

Russia is engaged in a major buildup of both nuclear and conventional missile defense systems at the same time Moscow is seeking legal limits on U.S. missile defenses, according to U.S. officials.

The Russian military is developing and deploying an array of new and modernized anti-missile interceptors that are part of a strategic doctrine that calls for defending against what Moscow believes to be an increasing threat posed by offensive ballistic missiles, said U.S. officials with access to intelligence reports.

Additionally, the Russians are upgrading the SH-08 nuclear-tipped anti-missile interceptors that have been deployed around Moscow for more than two decades.

Other new Russian defenses with capabilities against both aircraft and missiles include SA-20 and SA-21 surface-to-air missiles, and a new advanced system called the SA-X-23, an advanced version of the S-300.

Arms control advocates have argued that missile defenses upset strategic stability and complicate efforts to reduce strategic offensive arms. But if that is the case, “why is Russia doing it and why are we letting them do it,” the second official asked.

If that logic is correct, “the Russians are merely getting us to disarm our defenses and disarm our offenses and shame on us,” he added.

Thomas Moore, a former strategic affairs specialist with the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, said Russia plans to create a vast air and missile defense architecture in and among states of the former Soviet Union under the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

“Its recent announcement of the S-300 [air-missile defense] deployments to Belarus are an indicator of things to come,” Moore said, noting that open source reports indicated Moscow has developed a nuclear warhead for the S-300.

Jack Caravelli, a former CIA analyst now with the LIGNET strategic intelligence group, said Russian interest in expanding air defense and missile defenses is part of a larger, across-the-board effort by Putin to enhance strategic military capabilities that was announced during last year’s presidential campaign.

“Russia has the technical capabilities and decades of experience to develop robust defensive capabilities at the same time the Obama administration is pondering even deeper cuts in its strategic forces, on top of the New START Treaty signed with Russia several years ago,” Caravelli said.

Russia is also developing and deploying a new generation of long-range missiles, upgrades that will result in a more modernized force than any systems the United States will be able to match for at least two decades, he said.

“Russia’s planning for enhanced defensive and offensive forces almost certainly also is a reflection of a desire to keep apace of China’s growing investments in strategic offensive capabilities,” Caravelli said.

John Bolton, former undersecretary of state for Arms Control and International Security, said reports of Russian missile defense modernization are troubling.

“If the Russians are indeed improving their existing defenses, while simultaneously leading the Obama Administration down the primrose path of negotiations, it would fittingly embody the president’s naiveté in foreign affairs,” Bolton said. “Moscow must be looking forward to even more ‘flexibility’ from Obama, as he promised Russian President Medvedev last year.”

Obama was overhead during a discussion with Medvedev in Seoul saying he would have “more flexibility” in talks on missile defenses after his presumed reelection in November.

The Russians are continuing to demand legally binding restrictions on U.S. missile defenses as the price for dropping opposition to planned deployments of SM-3 missile interceptors on land in Europe. Those defenses are being planned in phases over the next several years amid concerns that Iran is on the verge of developing long-range missiles.

Full article:  Two-Faced — Russia building up missile defenses while seeking to limit U.S. defenses (Washington Free Beacon)

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