NEWSLINK: ‘No flexibility’ with Putin on missile defense: Romney

Missile Defense Control Room file photo

‘No flexibility’ with Putin on missile defense: Romney – AFP – October 8, 2012 – click here for original article

AFP covers Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s assertive backing of U.S. and NATO missile defense in the face of Russian opposition, most recently articulated in Romney’s recent foreign policy address at the Virginia Military Institute:

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney threw down the gauntlet to Russian leader Vladimir Putin on Monday, saying that if elected president he would show “no flexibility” on missile defense.

“I will implement effective missile defenses to protect against threats. And on this, there will be no flexibility with Vladimir Putin,” Romney said in a major foreign policy speech in Virginia four weeks out from election day.

Romney was alluding to U.S. President Barack Obama’s remark to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, caught on an open microphone earlier this year, that he would have greater flexibility to negotiate on missile defense should he win re-election in November.

While NATO describes its missile defense plans as addressing threats from Iran, Russia responded to partial deployment of NATO missile defense by launching a test of a new Russian ICBM it claims can get past the NATO system.

But Russia apparently fears that most of its nuclear arsenal might be stoppable by NATO missile defense, and one general even tried to assert a right to preemptive strikes, grounded upon his notion that a defensive shield could be a threat:

… much of the [Rusisan nuclear] force is built on technology developed in the Soviet era that Russia fears may become obsolete by the time NATO’s shield becomes fully operational in 2018.

Putin unveiled a massive new armaments program during his successful election to a third term ….

Putin’s predecessor and protege Medvedev warned … that Russia will have to deploy new rockets on the borders of NATO’s European partners such as Poland should its concerns not be addressed.

It has since deployed a next-generation anti-missile radar near the Polish border and begun testing a similar station at the heart of its nuclear arsenal base in the Siberian city of Irkutsk.

The army’s top general Nikolai Makarov ratcheted up the rhetoric further in May by warning that Russia reserved the right to preemptively strike NATO targets once it felt its shield posed a significant threat.

‘No flexibility’ with Putin on missile defense: Romney – AFP – October 8, 2012 – click here for original article