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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Star Wars, Part II: The Final Conflict

You wouldn't think it would be possible for a country so recently destroyed by a futile attempt to compete with the mighty economies of the West in a space-based arms race to once again launch itself into exactly the same crazed behavior -- but then again, you wouldn't think it would be possible for a country to once again empower the same KGB that murdered more of its citizens than its foreign enemies. Yet, this is Russian reality. America alone has an economy at least 12 times larger than Russia's and twice the population, and America is part of the NATO alliance that confronts Russia with resources that completely dwarf Russia's. Yet, Russia's deluded, pathological "leaders" want Star Wars, Round II. The Associated Press reports:

Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov on Tuesday called for the development of space-based defence systems to defend against 'any scenario of events,' less than a month after Moscow tested two new missiles perceived as a response to US missile defence plans. 'It's possible to expect that in the foreseeable future the main goals of war will be achieved on account of air and space intelligence and strikes,' said Ivanov, who is considered a possible successor to Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2008. 'Although the likelihood of military actions against Russia in the foreseeable future is minimal, we must be ready for any scenarios of the development of events,' he added during a meeting of the Russian government's Military-Industrial Commission in Moscow, Interfax said. Ivanov did not elaborate on what sort of systems would need to be created. He added that Russia had approved an outline for long-term air and space defence in April and that 'concrete, practical steps' needed to be taken to carry out that document and 'create an effective, consolidating and coordinating mechanism for the conducting of an entire complex of works in the sphere of air and space defence.'

The country's most prominent satellite effort to date has been its Glonass system of satellites designed as a Russian answer to GPS. Russia wants to have 24 satellites orbiting by 2010; currently, 17 are in orbit, but some of them do not transmit a signal. Six launches are planned for 2007. Ivanov's comments came months after China destroyed one of its own orbiting satellites with a rocket, becoming the first country to attack a satellite since the Soviet Union and United States did so in the early to mid-1980s. Both before and after Beijing's test-launch in January, China and Russia have been among the most vocal opponents of space weaponry, calling for the United States to ban the use of space weapons. The two nations told the Geneva-based Conference on Disarmament in February that 'the notion that introducing the threat of force into outer space could be a sustainable way of securing strategic advantage and legitimate defence objectives is fundamentally flawed.' Ivanov on Tuesday said it was 'not a secret for anybody that in recent decades space and air apparatus have been widely used for reconnaissance and attack during conduct of military actions.' Russia last month tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and a short-range strategic missile, an action Putin hinted was related to Russia's opposition to US plans to construct a missile defence shield in Europe.

Kremlin leaders have promised Russia would find an 'asymmetric response' to the missile shield, which Washington says is directed at Iranian and North Korean rockets. Putin last month said a new arms race had begun. Ivanov in February said Russia's 300 billion-ruble (11.3 billion- dollar) 2007 military budget would allow for 17 ICBMs and four 'military space apparatuses,' which he did not elaborate on. Russia's coffers are flushed with billions amid high oil prices, and Ivanov in February said five trillion rubles (188 billion dollars) would be put toward military equipment by 2015.

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