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Russian Belligerence Over European Missile Defense May Assist EMD

By | September 29, 2008

      Russian saber rattling and belligerence against U.S. plans to build a European Missile Defense (EMD) system in the Czech Republic and Poland may, ironically, have so worried the Czechs and Poles that they rushed to host the EMD system.

      So says Stephen Blank, professor of national security studies with the Strategic Studies Institute at the Army War College.

      He spoke at the Wilson Institute, a Washington think tank.

      Blank said the United States wasn’t thinking about Russia when the EMD plan was devised, but instead was thinking about shielding Europe and the United States against any possible attack by Iranian missiles.

      Since the Cold War ended, the United States hasn’t focused on Russia, Blank said.

      But Russians still are focused on the United States, and Europe, with Moscow leaders threatening nuclear Armageddon against the Czechs and Poles if they host the EMD system.

      Russians said the interceptors in Poland could knock down Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles, a claim that the Pentagon labels absurd.

      In recent months, Russian leaders have threatened to use nuclear weapons to annihilate any EMD system, if the United States builds it. And that, according to Blank, was a serious blunder.

      Blank said that sort of talk, plus the Russian invasion of nearby Georgia, has raised substantial fears among the Czechs and Poles, so they rushed to offer to host the EMD system, reasoning that a U.S. military presence on their soil would mean Russia wouldn’t dare attack those two former Soviet Union bloc nations.

      Blank’s presentation was entitled "Missile Defenses in Europe: Who Threatens Whom and How?" A summary of his presentation can be viewed at on the Web, clicking on Events, and scrolling to his presentation.

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