- The Washington Times - Monday, April 13, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

A letter printed recently in The Washington Times (”Hot heads should chill out,” Wednesday) demonstrates clearly that the media, including your paper, are not informing Americans properly in regard to missile defense and the plans to deploy a system in Eastern Europe.

The Russians know that the proposed system is no threat to them for an obvious reason — An anti-missile missile is designed only to intercept another missile (one assumes the latter is not launched from Russia). Such a system cannot be configured in any militarily significant way to deliver a nuclear payload to a target in Russia. This the Russians know also.

The missile-defense system is primarily intended to protect against a missile launched by Iran against the United States or its allies in Europe. As such, it is a strategic defense system. Russia's threat to station surface-to-surface missiles on the Polish border is a hollow threat and makes no sense, militarily speaking. As long as no defensive missiles are launched at Russia, Russia will not attack unilaterally the missile base in Poland or the associated radar facility in the Czech Republic; doing so would equate to a strategic attack against the United States itself. Russia knows this, and even the Soviet Union would not have contemplated such a pre-emptive strike.

Russia's pronouncements on this issue constitute political gamesmanship: They do not want Poland and the Czech Republic to be drawn further into a strategic alliance with the United States, which offers them a measure of security beyond what they already attain through membership in NATO. Deployment of the defensive missile system is a win-win situation for the U.S. and its NATO allies.

RONALD J. SAKOWSKI

Haymarket, Va.

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