Meanwhile Russians and Chinese are separately planning sending men to the moon. The Russians say they plan a permanent moon base. You will recall that the Russians recently claimed the North Pole and one can assume they will do the same with the moon. Meanwhile back on earth, some leading US technical authority thinks it would be a good idea to allow the Russians to help us pick a site for missile defense radar sites in areas that they control. This sounds like moon thinking.
Is our technical expert aware that the Russians have recently decided to use oil pipelines as political weapons? Where is good dot-joining when we need it? Could it be possible that some future Russian commissar might say to the US ," the road to your radar site is temporarily closed for repairs. We will call you when it is fixed, how about a nice cup of tea?"
U.S. specialist favors Putin's missile logic
By Rachel Kaufman
September 1, 2007
A leading U.S. technical authority on missile defense said this week that geography and topography would make Azerbaijan a better site to defend the United States and its allies from terrorist rockets than would the locations in Eastern Europe preferred by the Bush administration.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, a harsh critic of the original U.S. basing plan, has strongly pushed for the Azerbaijan site. U.S. officials cite a potential missile strike from Iran — thought to be seeking nuclear arms — as a key reason a shield is needed.
U.S. planners continue to express deep doubts about the Russian plan, but a senior Russian official said yesterday that American, Russian and Azeri specialists had agreed to meet in Baku on Sept. 15 for another round of technical talks on the issue.
The Baku meeting would discuss "the joint use of the radar and the question of anti-missile defense as a whole," Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Naryshkin told Agence France-Presse on a visit to the Azerbaijan capital. U.S. and Azerbaijan officials did not confirm the Sept. 15 date, but acknowledged that expert discussions have been held.
Theodore Poston, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at MIT, said he favored NATO member Turkey as a possible location for interceptor missiles.
The most effective system to guard Europe from a terrorist missile would allow a U.S. missile-interceptor system to work with Russian radar already situated in Azerbaijan, Mr. Poston said at a Washington conference on missile defense Tuesday.
A joint system, he said, would combine the strengths of each system, and balance out their weaknesses.
Mr. Putin has argued that U.S. plans to establish a radar base in the Czech Republic to guide interceptor missiles based in Poland would directly threaten Russia's national security by neutralizing its nuclear arsenal. Bush administration officials counter that the modest system is no threat to Russia's vast nuclear stocks.
Mr. Putin expressed his anxieties at a meeting with President Bush before the June Group of Eight summit in Germany and made a surprise offer that the United States use a former Soviet base in Gabala, Azerbaijan, instead.
Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, who heads the Pentagon missile defense agency, said the Azerbaijan radar site is too close to Iran to replace the system planned for Eastern Europe.
The Russian radar could track a missile early in its flight from Iran, but would have trouble directing interceptor missiles once the missiles were launched, he said.
"It's like having a car coming at you on the [highway]," the general said in Huntsville, Ala., on Aug. 16. "By the time you see it, you wouldn't be able to react to it."
Mr. Poston said the main issue in the U.S.-Russia talks is trust.
"People don't trust us; not only the Russians, but a lot of people," he said.
Some in the Bush administration argue that Mr. Putin floated his alternative plan as a way to undercut the U.S. effort. Gen. Obering said he could not judge the "sincerity" of the Russian offer, but noted that technical talks have proceeded despite the doubts.
Mr. Poston said there is a strong geographical argument for placing a ground-based interceptor in Turkey or Azerbaijan.
An interceptor placed in either location would be closer to any potential launches — from neighboring Iran or from Central Asia — and would work well with the curvature of the Earth, he said. Missiles could be intercepted more quickly.
Mr. Poston said it would be best if Russia and the United States could work out a joint plan, but added that a ground base for the missile shield in Turkey could be perceived as a threat by the Russians.
"If the Russians could somehow be assured that that wasn't the case, my guess is they might well be happy to work with us," Mr. Poston said.