back to article US: Missile shield 'deactivated' until Iran tools up

US defence secretary Robert Gates, seeking to allay Russian concerns, has suggested that European elements of the planned American missile shield might be built but not "activated" unless a threat from Iran developed. Ongoing US efforts may in future produce a somewhat functional system of layered defences against ballistic …

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Anonymous Coward

Could they be activated in 45 minutes though?

>hasn't yet introduced complications such as decoys and countermeasures

If you had intoduced decoys and could still hit the missiles, do you?

a) Not tell them, so that they won't put effort into creating decoys.

b) Tell them, so that they know there's no point shooting at you.

Also given that Iran's bomb tech will come from Russia I gues the idea is that they're linking something that the Russians don't like with something the Americans don't like.

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Jobs Horns

Iranian Missile Threat?

They neither have the missile technology or the ability to make nuke warheads, I'm a little puzzled where this threat is coming from.

There's a potential threat, perhaps, but to claim they US is developing this shield to protect themselves is a big fat fib.

It's clearly so they can undermine the MAD setup that ensured the cold war didn't become radioactive, and get away with throwing even more of their military weight around, without fear of reprisals.

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Black Helicopters

Russian Federation aka the reborn USSR

Putin is and has behaved like a communist leader.

I think Russia is a bigger threat now than it ever was before.

Of course they dont want anyone to have the vaguest hope of being able to knock out their ICBMs because they they couldn't use them as blackmail.

Think the threat of nuclear force needs to be turned back on Russia before they start their blackmail and possibly on Iran too.

Perhaps we should just nuke Iran, a large proportion are fundamentalist nutters anyway.

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Coat

Cant see the problem?

If i were el Presidente i would have no problem with Russia selling loads of flash kit to anyone who i planned to blow up in the future. As Russia would make piles of cash from these sales and US arms industry makes piles of cash selling stuff to blow them up and / or designing new kits to defeat the Russian kit. Its like the cold war without the cold or the war (at least Russian vs Us bit). Or to put it another way its like one giant self licking ice cream cone!

Good business all around. In fact i reckon Russian should be allowed to get a shufty on and sell as much as they can as soon as they can safe in the knowledge that battle damage losses will lead to more purchases in at most a few years if not sooner.

Of course this could mean a few extra US forces deaths (not that they appear to care) but i doubt they'll put anyone in harms way when they can use some long range super slinkly death stealth bomb that cost a quadrillion to devlop but makes a real pretty bang.

It wont matter how much kit Iran buys, in the end it'll all get nerfed in some fashion and people make money along the way. In fact i would make it policy to advise the Russians whose going to get nerfed next so they can wheel out the BOGOF offers and the like just before, they need the money and the US arms industry needs the excuse that Al £uida doesn't offer any more.

NB: Ethics have been suspended for this post

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Thumb Down

Guess who missed the point?

El Reg's correspondent has completely missed the point here.

As JonB indicates, the latest American offer is an attempt at linkage. Right now, it is in the Russian geopolitical interest to keep the Americans tied up/tied down in as many places as possible, so that the Yanks get out of the former Soviet satellites - which can then return to the Russian sphere of influence.

One of the places that the US is quite bogged down right now is the Persian Gulf, where a determination not to let Iraq fall firmly into the Iranian sphere is one of the problems that GWB is currently failing to solve. One of the ways the Russians are not helping is by supplying military tech to Iran, and continually promising to finish the Busher reactor (by consistently failing to do so, the Kremlin keeps this particular chip on the table).

So guess what? The Yanks are now offering a climb-down in Central Europe in return for a Russian undertaking not to help Iran get the nukes. Shafting the Poles and Czechs in the process, I note.

Try a geopolitical analysis/forecasting site please. There are some very good ones out there.

P.S. By the way, the US is reputed to know the precise signature of every single Russian sub at the moment... so there would be a LOT of catching up for our red chums to do here. We Brits help keep an eye on them, up in the cold waters to the north-west...

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@AnonymousCoward

Reprisals from who?

I agree with you but I'd like point out that for that sort of plan to warrant a missile shield, obviously they have to believe that reprisals aren't out of the question.

In other words, if Iran doesn't have said technology, than there's no need to build a missile shield under an Iranian ICBM's flight path to undermine MAD. Because if Iran doesn't have that technology, than there is no MAD.

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Thumb Down

They don't have nukes today in Iran

But NK does and is probably willing to share.

The ballistic missile tech is available from several sources and NK again is working on it's own capabilities.

Saying that Iran doesn't have the capability today so don't do anything about it is sticking your head in the sand.

Putting 10 interceptor sites across Eastern Europe in no way affects the MAD scenario between Russia and the US, they could knock out a couple of warheads out of hundreds fired.

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Tom

Other way

What happens if they set up interceptors in the Czech Republic and Poland, but Iran send the missiles around the other way?

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Alert

Putin's back

" The part of the system which (at least ostensibly) has Vladimir Putin's back-up "

Actually, I think you'll find it's got his back up, not his back-up.

Unless of course you think that threatening to target nukes on European cities is a gesture of support...

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Second cousin of Star Wars thrice removed?

So it'll be useful when (if?) Iran or North Korea build 3 stage ICBMs capable of hitting continental America? Seems a bit of a waste of money if that's the case.

They'd be better off spending the money on some ninja death ray or, I dunno, helping build and support relations with all the non-oil producing Muslim nations in the world. Crazy talk I know, but it'd prolly save more lives on both sides of the divide.

Sorry, was having a dream there...

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Silver badge

The Changing BattleScape.......The NeuReal Frontier for Future Victories

Have we not evolved into AMD Intel Cold Fusion Territory ...at the Highest GeoPolitical Levels ..... SMARTer Processor Bonks and Battles?

Levels which leave War Gamers as Definitive Pariahs, even amongst their Own?

Those might sound like two very strange questions, but they are very Real and Valid and Relative to Today's Environment and Advanced Technologies.

And yes, it may also be that In Sanity is such as a MADness turned to Control Order rather than Create Chaos....and that is always only a Simply Complex and oft Dark Matter Issue of Neurological ReProcessing of Signals/Intelligence.

MkUltra Programming ReVisited with Major Breakthroughs in Understanding of Root Directories? Hearts and Minds Programming for Civilianised CampAIgns.

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Who will rid me of this

...awful, venal incompetent administration?

The President has just asked Congress to authorize another $120 brazilian dollars to contain the civil war in Iraq that isn't really a civil war and wasn't America's fault in the first place. Added to that, his administration is poking its pointy little nose into the Turkish/Kurdish brouhaha as Turkey facilitates much of the transport of war materiel into Iraq (so there's a better-than-even chance this conflict's going to get really ugly really soon).

Meanwhile, in a part of the world that the Bush administration hasn't meddled-in for much too long, they're 'planning' to deploy elements of the mythical Star Wars technology (Reagan used this myth to bluff the communists into banruptcy and, based on actual results, it's no less of a myth nowadays than it was it Reagan's addle-pated administration).

Meanwhile again, back in the GoodolUSofA, finances are not good. The sub-prime mortgage fiasco is still bubbling and threatening to cause real recession, jobs are disappearing overseas faster than Roman Polanski and the dollar's on a par with (sob) the Canadian dollar!

And what do we have as an alternative, waiting in the wings? Bill Clinton in a skirt and without the sense of humour!

There's no hope. There's just no hope.

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Black Helicopters

nuke NK too

and be done with it.

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Anonymous Coward

Why should be Russia be annoyed

America wasn't too impressed when USSR setup weapon systems in Cuba now were they.

And don't say that was the Soviets and was different, the American administration is no more trustworthy than the Politburo.

Also there is loads of examples of how the minute you let the Americans build a base you will never get rid of them, Guantanamo anyone, Neo-Imperialism anyone.

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Brazilian Dollars

<quote>

The President has just asked Congress to authorize another $120 brazilian dollars to contain the civil war in Iraq

</quote>

Given the inflation issues in South America at the mo wouldn't that make that the cost of half a loaf of bread? As they said in Spitting Image, cheap at half the price.

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Stop

Well of course there's another viewpoint......

As a Brit who likes the US, most of it's people (parts of the South scare the bejesus out of me though) and most of it's values I have (like many non Americans I suspect) become increasingly disillusioned by the behaviour of the current administration.

Rendition (code speak for kidnapping without due process), Private Contracting (code speak for paying huge premiums to private companies who undertake the war...on behalf of oil companies who fund the elections, all the while linked to senior members of the administration), Human Rights Violations (code speak for you can't do any of that while we do what we want), Appropriate Responsibility (code speak for we'll bang up the soldiers who do the torture while still encouraging the environment that desires torture), On Behalf of your Country (code speak for we want lots of people to go off and fight the war, as long as it's not children of the people who run the administration).

For Condie (who I thought I liked enormously till recently) to go to Russia and criticise them for their election system when George Shrub (who's outstanding incompetence and jobs for the boys behaviour allowed much pain, suffering and death in New Orleans before who could even be arsed to go down and see the problem himself) originally got elected by a minority of the electorate.

There again, a man who's response after being told that heavy jets are flying into Skyscrapers and the countries Military Headquarters is to sit in a chair in a school has indeed shown the depth of his leadership skills.

15 years ago I couldn't have imagined I would even have thought this but maybe a strong Russia would be a great counterbalance to current American expansionism.....because in my humble opinion the current US administration is selling American Values, historical Moral Integrity and Ethical Behaviour well down the river.

Rant mode off......Where's my Paris fix today?

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Black Helicopters

Iran & Nukes..

How do you know for certain Iran does not have nuke capabilities, what because they said so?

NK & Iran have made overt threats in the last few years and whilst i do enjoy a bit of US bashing now and again the people in those countries in question have been brainwashed to hate not just the yanks but us "westerners" as well.

Frankly whilst I would never condone providing carte blanche for our leaders to do what they want, I don't believe them putting preventive and first strike capabilities in play is a bad thing in case someone wants to come along and ruin my Starbuck drinking, prêt eating life :)

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Anonymous Coward

>undermine the MAD setup

You mean it's less mad?

I propose a Single Angry Nuclear Enemy strategy, where there is only one angry nuclear armed enemy state?

Surely a SANE strategy will keep us all safe...

@amanfrommars

>Have we not evolved into AMD Intel Cold Fusion Territory

No we haven't numb-nuts.

>How do you know for certain Iran does not have nuke capabilities, what because they said so?

Because if they'd set one off then we'd have detected it, and if they haven't set one off how would they know it works?

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Flame

brainwashed?

"the people in those countries in question have been brainwashed to hate not just the yanks but us "westerners" as well."

rather a sweeping statement there, Shaun; while there may be some truth in that statement as regards DPRK, you're way off the mark as regards Iran, and just buying into that "all Muslims are fanatics" bull. Iran has a remarkably sophisticated and cultured electorate, who don't really like Ahmenidejad very much, but he gets voted in because he stands up to the West i.e. American bullying - and that's the only plus point that he has for them. If America and its poodles laid off Iran and left them alone, or god forbid! actually tried to develop sensible and civilised relations with them, then the Iranian populace would elect a more conciliatory and pragmatic leadership.

Iran is of course a parliamentary democracy, but because they don't vote as the US/UK would like, they're vilified as an evil and fanatical dictatorship. Iran's been a centre of urban civilisation for thousands of years, and one could argue that America is still barely civilised at all, given the US Govt's behaviour in the last few years.

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@Big Al - Don't forget

That the Gulf Was never happened. And that was when the Great Unwashed did not have the internet. If you don't get this point then your suggestion to

"Try a geopolitical analysis/forecasting site please. There are some very good ones out there."

is irrelevant in the worst case. In the best case YMMV.

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Anonymous Coward

@Tawakalna

>Iran is of course a parliamentary democracy, but because they don't vote

>as the US/UK would like, they're vilified as an evil and fanatical dictatorship

This is actually a reason to dislike the people as well as their government, the people in democratic countries bear a collective responsibility for their governments actions - no matter how stupid and criminal our governments actions might be.

While we would like everywhere to be governed by democracies, once they are there is no requirement to like the decisions of those democracies.

>If America and its poodles laid off Iran and left them alone

What's the US doing to Iran?

- Are they supplying a revolutionary movement with advanced weaponry to help them kill Iranian troops?

- Are they demanding Iran be wiped off the map?

Perhaps Iran should leave the US alone before they get hurt? If you kick a dog it'll bite you.

Big Al's point that you so obviously missed was that following the fall of Iraq, Iran has become more and more influential in the country, something the states would understandably like to avoid, given the rhetoric from Amadmaninajacket.

I don't think he was claiming that the wars against Iraq never happened.

BTW Reg, Why do my comments come up double spaced?!?!!?!?

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Pirate

@JonB

This is actually a reason to dislike the people as well as their government, the people in democratic countries bear a collective responsibility for their governments actions - no matter how stupid and criminal our governments actions might be.

...

that was the rationale behind the 7/7 bombings....

are you implying that 7/7 was justified?

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Happy

Tell Putin we want our money back

The US put at least 50 B. USD into his country.

If he is going to be an ass we want our money back.

No funny money or checks, gold and oil only.

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Joke

This very funny

This very funny since George Bush since 1995 normally utters one set of words and then travels one eighty degrees in the opposite direction with his real intentions!

The saddest part of all about the fallibility of the so called Anti Ballistic Missile System was exposed as a fraud and will fail in real life was more then amply demonstrated by both the former Soviet Union and the Americans in a series of above atmospheric high altitude tests in the early sixties !

Suggest you read about Starfish Prime detonation of a 1.4 megaton device at an altitude of 400k( or 250 miles ) dated July 9th , 1962 at the Johnston Island , with the detonation flash that was clearly visible in Honolulu some 1500k(or 930 miles) away!

The Russian test "Operation K " 22nd October 1962 at an altitude of 290k(180 miles) fused 570k of telephone line(induced line current would exceed 2500 Amps to vaporise that much copper wire ) and also destroyed a power plant at Karaganda all from a single 300 kiloton blast !

Please note that in 1962 some 98% of all Electronic equipment in common use by both the consumer and the military forces used Valves rather then sensitive transistors or integrated circuits!

So the effect of those Electro Magnetic Pulses of those magnitudes induced from both those tests would be one of absolute instantaneous destruction of 99.985% of all electronic equipment in use today quite literally !

Wikipedia link with references = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_altitude_nuclear_explosion

Oh well what an absolute waste of tax payers money on a dead horse , what price absolute stupidity indeed ?

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@Ross

Ross,

it's "$120 brazilian (small b)" because GWB thinks 'brazilian' is the next demoninator after 'gazillion'.

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Mars

@Ross 2

However he is fully aware that not even a brazilian gazillion will suffice given the value for money offered by Haliburton's rebuilding plan - which seems to have trouble getting past the "cowboy security endangering genuine troops" project element to the "actually building something" phase - and may request as much as a kagillion next time round.

Yes, GW is right now puzzling over how allowing untrained, trigger happy 'security' to run around Iraq in US military clothing, using US military-looking weaponry could be causing such a problem. Who on earth predicted that would turn out a tad on the sour side?

The bit that truly puzzles me about Iraq is why we are listening to the people that say it'll get worse if the Americans leave. Remember these are the same idiots that said 'Hussein has WMD', 'They'll greet us as liberators', 'Mission Accomplished' and my favourite 'This isn't a civil war'. So given how monumentally wrong they've been with every, single thing they've said about this fuck up - why are we taking it as read that they're right about that.

Isn't it just as plausible to say with the Americans gone, any excuse for killing innocents will be gone too - leaving the various fanatical groups in a bit of a recruitment conundrum, and looking very bad to the rest of the Muslim world should they continue their activities.

The US troops are not regarded by Iraqis as protectors against genocide, more a liability and contributing factor to all the current mayhem. The only Iraqis that don't want the US to leave are those doing very nicely, thank you, out of diverted dollars to keep the lack of actual rebuilding quiet.

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Unhappy

Why does russia care?

I'm kinda lost why the russians care. Surely when there shooting missiles at america there going to come from the Siberian side? Thats a hell of a lot closer then firing a missile all the way over Europe and the Atlantic!

Or am i missing something here?

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Anonymous Coward

From the Russian POV

What is to prevent the USA from deciding to "pre-emptively" nuking the Russian Federation? After an all-out first strike, how many usable nukes would they have left? A few dozen?

All the talk about how the USA could never stop "thousands" of nukes with their ABM systems somewhat misses the point.

(And remember that the Russian Federation, unlike Iraq, actually is a threat to the USA.)

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Pirate

Shooting missiles at USA

They could shoot the missiles eitehr way round the world of course (if they actually had ICBM technology) - that's why the Yanks are also planning to have interceptors in Alaska and California where they don't need anyone else's permission. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/6720153.stm#map

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Anonymous Coward

Re: that was the rationale behind the 7/7 bombings....

>are you implying that 7/7 was justified?

No, they had a vote in the democracy they attacked.

What they were trying to do was force a minority viewpoint over and above the majority will by the use of violence.

Democracies can and will do bad things, as a collective agreement by the people (or the elected representatives of the people) the people can't hide behind their leadership in the way they can with dictatorships.

You can't decapitate a democracy, if Gordo' or Bush were assasinated (or even Mad Tony, heaven forfend) the government is not toppled, we just pick a new guy. When fighting a democracy you have to hit the people.

You're utterly inane response would have been valid if we were allowed to vote in Iran, they can vote how they want and run their country how they wish, but if they mess us or our allies about it will obviously get a response.

(Cue Crap Analogy Icon)

It's a bit like a small neighbourhood, I don't care how next door run their house, how often he beats his wife, whether he lets his children speak, but if he starts giving the local yobs bricks to throw at my house, starts a big fire of burning tyres in his garden or threatens my friend who lives the other side, then he becomes a problem.

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Silver badge

Dumb Economics

"The US put at least 50 B. USD into his country.

If he is going to be an ass we want our money back.

No funny money or checks, gold and oil only."

Eduard Coli,

I think the very real fear would be if they pay it back in dollars. Would that be funny money?

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Jim
Flame

@Jon B

>>are you implying that 7/7 was justified?

>No, they had a vote in the democracy they attacked.

>What they were trying to do was force a minority viewpoint

>over and above the majority will by the use of violence.

Sorry, but what does the nationality of these idiots matter? The mindset was that a democratic nation (UK) was acting against a multi-national organisation (Islam or "their people"). So, by claiming that to attack democracy you must attack the people, you are providing a justification for the acts of 9/11 and 7/7, no matter how uncomfortable it may make you feel.

However, it is unlikely that you can defeat a democracy by obliterating population. A much more effective method is to subvert democracy through rapid population growth of your minority - once you are the majority then you control the democracy. It is very hard, in a 'civilised' society, to limit someone's right to reproduce. I currently live in a country where this very technique has been successfully used (it can clearly be seen when comparing political rhetoric and demographic data). It is just a little unfortunate that the country is now hopelessly over-populated...

PS Given your point about heads of state, why is no fuss made about the rediculous amounts of resources used to protect completely expendable people? Personally, I feel that tax payers money could find much better uses than excessive personal security of expendable people.

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