Why US-Poland missile deal rouses Russian bear
US officials say the system is merely a protection against rogue states like Iran.
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Moscow reacted angrily over the weekend to the agreement between the US and Poland to put a missile defense system comprised of 10 interceptors in Poland. American officials have long maintained that the system will protect Israel and US bases in the Middle East against a rogue nuclear missile strike from the likes of Iran, and does not pose a threat to Russian security. Russia sees the site as a threat and fears greater intrusion into its traditional sphere of influence.
"I think that the Russian argument is a disingenuous one, and everyone knows it," says Chris Hellman, a policy fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, a policy group in Washington. "It really isn't targeted at those guys."
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported this week that Russia is sending launchers for short-range ballistic missiles into South Ossetia that are capable of targeting the Georgian capital of Tblisi. The move hints that Russia isn't planning to remove its troops from Georgia any time soon under the truce agreements announced over the weekend.
Some European allies have not supported the missile shield agreement, for fear it could amp up nuclear proliferation and cause nuclear ripples across the globe, where other countries such as India, China, or even Pakistan must reassess their own nuclear capabilities.