The Nuclear Arms Race Is Back: Russia Furious As US Launches European Ballistic Missile Shield

Tyler Durden's picture

Back in November 2008, then Russian president Dmitry Medvedev made a stark warning to NATO: "Russia will deploy Iskander missile systems in its enclave in Kaliningrad to neutralize, if necessary, the anti-ballistic missile system in Europe."

Several years we followed up with a report that as Europe was ramping up NATO expansion, Russia may have followed through on its warning when as Bild then reported, Russia stationed missiles with a range of about 500 kilometers in its Kaliningrad enclave and along its border with the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

There was not official confirmation at the time however we expect the European ICBM theater will get hot in the coming days because as Reuters reports, the United States' European missile defense shield goes live on Thursday almost a decade after Washington proposed protecting NATO from Iranian rockets and despite repeated Russian warnings that the West is threatening the peace in central Europe.

Amid high Russia-West tension, U.S. and NATO officials will declare operational the shield at a remote air base in Deveselu, Romania, after years of planning, billions of dollars in investment and failed attempts to assuage Russian concerns that the shield could be used against Moscow.

As Robert Bell, a NATO-based envoy of U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter explained "we now have the capability to protect NATO in Europe. The Iranians are increasing their capabilities and we have to be ahead of that. The system is not aimed against Russia," he told reporters, adding that the system will soon be handed over to NATO command.

First agreed by the U.S. government 2007 and then canceled and relaunched by the newly-elected U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009, the missile defense shield's stated aim is to protect North America and Europe from so-called rogue states such as Iran and North Korea. That is part of a U.S. strategy that includes missile interceptors in California and Alaska.

To be sure the Kremlin was not content with this explanation, which is a clear defection from the carefully established Game Theory equilibrium in the aftermath of the nuclear arms race, and one which potentially removes a Russian first strike threat, thereby pressuring Russia.

As a result, Reuters notes that "Russia is incensed at such of show of force by its Cold War rival in formerly communist-ruled eastern Europe where it once held sway. Moscow says the U.S.-led alliance is trying to encircle it close to the strategically important Black Sea, home to a Russian naval fleet and where NATO is also considering increasing patrols."

Worse, the precarious nuclear balance of power in Europe has suddenly shifted, and quite dramatically: despite U.S. assurances, the Kremlin says the missile shield's real aim is to neutralize Moscow's nuclear arsenal long enough for the United States to make a first strike on Russia in the event of war.

The move will also prompt further escalations on both sides: as a reminder, the readying of the shield also comes as NATO prepares a new deterrent in Poland and the Baltics, following Russia's Crimean adventure in 2014. In response, Russia is reinforcing its western and southern flanks with three new divisions.

The missile defense shield relies on radars to detect a ballistic missile launch into space. Tracking sensors then measure the rocket's trajectory and intercept and destroy it in space, before it re-enters the earth's atmosphere. The interceptors can be fired from ships or ground sites. It is being launched despite repeated Russian warnings that its activation would prompt an appropriate response.

The Russian ambassador to Denmark warned a year ago that Danish warships would become targets for Russian nuclear missiles if Denmark joined the shield project by installing radars on its vessels. Denmark is upgrading at least one frigate to house a ballistic missile sensor.

"Ballistic missile defense sites could pose threats to the stability and strategic assets of the Russian Federation," Russia's ambassador to NATO, Alexander Grushko, told Reuters last month.

Meanwhile, Turkey is already hosting a U.S. radar and the Netherlands has equipped ships with radars. The United States also has four ships in Spain as part of the defenses, while all NATO nations are contributing funding. US officials have tried to tone down Russian concerns and dismiss the Russian view as "strategic paranoia", blaming Moscow for breaking off talks with NATO in 2013 that were aimed at explaining how the shield would operate. What is ignored is that at the same time, the US State Department and the CIA were plotting NATO expansion into Ukraine to bring the alliance that much closer to Russia.

The United States says Russia was seeking a treaty limiting the capability and range of ballistic missile interceptors. "No government could agree to that," U.S. adviser Bell said.

Russian officials are concerned about technology that the United States says it does not have, including a missile defense interceptor capable of speeds of 10 km (6.2 miles) per second that could destroy Russian missiles. 

Curiously, the US continues to push the argument that the missile shield is only there to defend against Iranian agressions, despite a historic deal between world powers and Tehran to limit Iran's nuclear program. The West believes Iran's Revolutionary Guards continue to develop ballistic missile technology, carrying out two tests late last year. "They are looking for greater distance and accuracy," said Douglas Barrie, an aerospace defense specialist at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). "They can still miss by hundreds of meters, but that doesn't rule out firing against a city or a very large airfield."

Which is strange considering that on Friday the United States will also start construction on a second site in Poland due to be ready in 2018, giving NATO a permanent, round-the-clock shield in addition to radars and ships already in the Mediterranean. Poland, one can argue, is hardly the target of millitant Iranian clerics, and makes it very clear that this deterrence step is merely aimed at Russia.

But what makes this step particuarly dangerous is that Russia will now be forced to retaliate and since it does not have a comparable defensive technology, Putin will have no choice but to deploy more ICBMs on Russia's borders, which in turn will exponentially escalate the threat of an "inadvertent" launch. Although considering how the "market" responds to newsflow these past few years, this may also be seen as a bullish catalyst for stocks. 

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Looney's picture

Speaking of “nuclear”…

Yuri Baluyevsky, a Four-Star General and the Chief of General Staff (2004-2008), told us in 2002 that Iran already HAD nukes – they bought at least 4 Soviet nuclear weapons in 1991 during the collapse of the Soviet Union.

We, being exceptional and shit, didn’t listen – just like we didn’t listen when the Russians warned us about the Boston bombers.


Sandmann's picture

What about the South African bombs bought by UK and US that David Cameron was supposed to be looking after back in 1989 ?

Latina Lover's picture

This Shit has got to stop!   Out with the fucking Neocons! Trump 2016.

nuubee's picture

So f-ing unnecessary. Why... WHY put up a missile shield when no arms race exists? WHY?? oh.. you wanted your defense friends to make a profit? ah, I see....

knukles's picture

Gonna give a whole new meaning to "flash bang"

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

This is very very good news for MIC segment of economy, is win-win for both Russia and USSA. Boris is predict price of many valuable commodity (LIKE COPPER) is elevate!

boattrash's picture

Well, Obama sure did cause the prices on my brass and lead to elevate.

Perimetr's picture

The conclusions of the article are wrong.
Russia will not put more ICBMs closer to its border, what for? To put them in closer range to interceptors while they are in boost phase?

No, Russia will move to launch on warning status in military crisis.
Or preemptive launch.
Idiot neocons lie about Iranian missiles while they endanger all people and nations with nuclear war.

the grateful unemployed's picture

they're probably working on plans to continue without C&C.. it might involve lots of sleeper cells (remember the movie Telefon) units that will carry out assigned tasks without communication. the situation replicates the plotline of Dr Strangelove, where the American B52 went off communication after attack plan R was launched.

Bastiat's picture

Two words:  "Peace Prize"

What a mockery.

The Saint's picture
The Saint (not verified) Bastiat May 11, 2016 10:52 AM

Poor Puti has his panties in a wad again.  Maybe if he didn't invade countries he wouldn't have so much to be concerned about.

rejected's picture

Let see.

Putin invades,,,,,  when a province votes to re-unify.

The US liberates,,,,, when bombing nations into the stone age. 

Do I have that correct?

Rabbi Chaim Cohen's picture

The opening scenes of WWIII...

USA - Send spy apparatus to play "I'm not touching you" near Kamchatka.

Russia - Pulls out a shiny switchblade and waves it; SU-27 mugs US RC-135. Su-24s buzz the guided missile destroyer USS Cook.

USA - Continues to play "I'm not touching you" over the Blatic sea, continuously .

Russia - MiG31 buzzes US P-8.

USA - Deploys missle shield in Europe.

Russia - Feigns outrage...

Kabuki theater folks, the endgame for the debt crisis.

r0mulus's picture

Why would Russia, with 17% debt to GDP, give two shits about the Wests >100% debt to GDP ratio problem?



Joe Trader's picture

Whether the U.S. or NATO's involved or not - Poland will be spending $40 billion on it's own short & long range missile defence shield. MEADS & Patriot defence systems are being considered. So get used to it.

847328_3527's picture

Everyone in Russia, eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia were minding their own business before Boy Bush invaded the ME and now the Nobel Prize winner continues to threaten Russia and China it is turning to shit there. I am glad the rapefugees are destroying Sweden and Norway; they deserve no less after rewarding the Chief War Monger the Peace Prize.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture


Whether the U.S. or NATO's involved or not - Poland will be spending $40 billion on it's own short & long range missile defence shield.

Poland will be borrowing $40 billion, and wasting it on a missile defense shield. Such an obedient vassal.

Joe Trader's picture

The issue is whether a missile defense system will be placed in the region - NOT it's financing arrangement. Trump will like the net-inflow of funds to the U.S. - that's for sure.

Atavists R Us's picture

Fuck you and the neocon your rode in on, troll. It's Obamanation who wears panties and is into the "lifestyle" thing... ever notice how he really seems to love gripping the handle of the golf club so much?


GadExp's picture

If Russia really was furious, we would see some gloating article on BBC.  


There's nothing there.  I'm pretty sure Russia doesn't care.

BlindMonkey's picture

I'm thinking that Russia has a stockpile of goodies to take out the ships and the land installations.  


Here is some Indian/Russian rocket porn of the Brahmos.  Most of the video shows the launch phase from various platforms but there are enough terminal shots against sea and shore targets to get even McCain excited.  This beast runs at well over Mach 2.  I'm not sure what the upper paramaters of the CIWIS system but since the US has been monkeying around with making the CIWIS capable of targeting small craft and other visual targets, I am betting the performance enhancements have been going the wrong way from intercepting high speed missiles.

crazzziecanuck's picture

"I'm thinking that Russia has a stockpile of goodies to take out the ships and the land installations."


No, they just stick more on subs and have them float around at all times.  If you know there's going to be a shield, the Russians aren't stupid enough to simply say "fuck it, we'll build more and put them on land where that new "shield" can take them out."  If the Americans are foolish enough to dig in and work from a fixed point, then all they have to do is launch from the Indian Ocean, smack dab in the middle of the Pacific, or from the Antarctic and this shield won't do sh*t (except waste money, which is truly the point of the exercise).  I'm willing to bet the Russians can run their ballistic weapons fleet for less money for a decade than the USA can operate this dumb shield for a single year...

You can bet the Chinese are watching this intently too fully realizing what the USA will do to Russia Trump, or whichever puppet is (s)elected, will then do to China.

But hey, go long on MIC equities...

BlindMonkey's picture

The Russian missile boats stick close to home in waters that are easier to protect than the open ocean.  I know the new boats are supposed to be quiet but I'm still betting on SOSUS in the open ocean.

Parrotile's picture

BrahMos ver 1 is Mach 2.8, and Ver 2 (flight testing this year) is Mach 7. Those fixed radars are easy targets for non-terminally guided conventional munitions, whilst the "floating" US - owned radars are just as vulnerable. Don't need a "Battleship" to arouse suspicions - the very capable Kalibr has been shown to be adaptable to "Standard Shipping Container" launch (MAKS 2011 Air Show), which might make detection a little more challenging.

In the meantime Russia has poured a LOT of R&D into fully mobile radars - "Shoot & Scoot", with the latest variant (Nebo-H) having a perfectly good ABM capability (works with the S500 system, yet is FULLY backward-compatible with ALL Russian legacy anti-missile / ADMS equipment).

BorisTheBlade's picture

Correct. Also, there were announcements made that railway missile train being in development once again, the one that can move around as ordinary freight train therefore completely undetected among thousands and then deploy and launch in short time. BZhRK Barguzin, all in Russian, but you get the idea:

Parrotile's picture

Doesn't have to be a goods train either - it would be far from difficult to place such a system in an ostensibly "Passenger" carriage.

So, planning to target Passenger trains? Definitely a War Crime - especially if the train is a "real" Passenger Train, and even moreso if it is an International service.

Yes, Russia would be "breaking International Law" - just as America does, and had got away with so doing, EVERY time. In the event of a real nuclear exchange, Russia would be very well-served to do what is necessary, and I suspect they will most certainly do this

BlindMonkey's picture

Fresh water will be the most valued commodity of this century.  Hedge accordingly.

NoDebt's picture

Putin has done mutiple test of new generation ICBMs in the last year.  Not like he hasn't done some sabre-rattling himself.

NoVa's picture

Meanwhile, Oblamo has been scheming on how to apologize in Hiroshima.

Simply unbelievable how the Hope & Change idiot has "Changed" our country to the worse.

Trump more than EVER

Boris Alatovkrap's picture

When you are bare chest wrestle and take down bear in woods, you are not need sabre to rattle. When you are whimpy mother-denim boy king wear helmet to ride bike, you are need sabre to rattle to mute out sound of knocking knees.

Ignatius's picture

Boris spent some time in school.  They don't mince phraseology at Moscow Trade and Technical.

ClydeCrashcup's picture

Is all beside point, Soviet invaders will be crush by Latvia SS-420 potato launcher.  Is no defense against barrage of hot potato.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

Gaze upon the Riga Motorized Potato Cannon Brigade, ye mortals, and tremble.

ClydeCrashcup's picture

Will be erect 50m tall statue of Victory Tuber in Livu Square, to singing of "Forward Potato!".

modifythephasevariance's picture

U.S. rattles sabre... Europe reduced to radioactive cinders

Why the fuck don't the Europeans throw the 'mericans out before it's too late?


TheMeatTrapper's picture

I do not care if Europe lives or dies. They, along with everyone else needs to pull their own weight and take care of themselves. 

BlindMonkey's picture

Good.  Killing off Europe is a job that has been left to the muzzie invaders.  They seem to be quite up to this task.

Footprint's picture

Islamic immivasion problem solved? 

lincolnsteffens's picture

Boris is need to have name change to Boris Notmuchkrap

Crash Overide's picture

Look how close Russia put it's country to all those US military bases... are they trying to provoke the USA?

boattrash's picture

...and I was hoping that my Grandkids would never have the drills at school,you know, the one when you're told to get under the desk, don't look at the flash, and kiss your ass goodbye...

Well' I think my daughter is about to pull 'em out and home school them anyway.

chunga's picture

I think she'd be a lot better off home schooled boattrash.

War on this, war on's time for a war on FRAUD!

boattrash's picture

Wifey home schooled her son (for the most part, I was at sea) from 8th grade to completion. I urged her to for a long time. Our only regret is not having started sooner.

My daughter seems to be getting closer to diving into it every day, but like most, she still has that "nervous apprehension".

the grateful unemployed's picture

This Shit has got to stop!   Out with the fucking Neocons! Obama 2008.

any_mouse's picture

Cheney announced his support for Trump to be POTUS.

allamerican's picture

cheney and mccains little project- inert piece of iron.

Shemp 4 Victory's picture

While Cheney is evil, he's not stupid. Everyone knows he's backing Hillary.

If he claims to place his support behind Trump, it's because he believes this will throw some votes to Hillary.