In order to understand missile defense, one must know the history and, above all, understand the perverse logic of nuclear armament and deterrence.
The nuclear deterrent, to which we owe it, that the Cold War never became a hot war, works according to a very simple principle: if I know that I will be destroyed in the event of an attack, then I will not attack. They also said at the time: “Whoever presses the button first is dead in the second.”
The Cold War superpowers therefore signed the ABM Treaty, which prohibited them from developing missile defense systems. They wanted to make sure that neither side could feel safe from a counter-attack by the opponent due to defensive systems.
And there you can already see the sense of a missile defense: it provides a sense of security, so that one could be tempted to conduct a nuclear first strike and thereby destroy the potential of the enemy to such an extent that the weak counter-attack of the enemy by could be neutralized.
So missile defense is by no means a defensive system; on the contrary, it makes a nuclear attack possible. You can hardly fend off an opponent’s first strike. This applies to both the United States and Russia. In the event of a first strike, the entire nuclear arsenal is launched in one fell swoop, which is thousands of missiles, which makes a defence virtually impossible. But after a successful first strike to intercept the sad remnants of the enemy on his counter-strike, this seems possible with a missile defense.
The superpowers of the Cold War took this deceptive security away from the ABM Treaty. However, when Russia was on the ground after the Yeltsin era, the US felt so superior that it terminated the ABM Treaty and began to develop a missile defense system.
Now we come to the details of how such a re-enactment works, because that is important for understanding how Russia has obviously managed to overturn it even before it has been fully installed.
The Us was thought to have intercepted ballistic missiles when developing missile defense. These missiles fly on a ballistic trajectory that is quite easy to predict. So if you observe a rocket launch, you can calculate the course of the rocket relatively quickly and then intercept it by firing a missile that crosses the predicted course of the attacking missile and destroys it.
There were two possible timings for this interception: either relatively shortly after launch, or relatively shortly before the rocket hit. The US was preparing for both.
To hit a Russian missile shortly after launch, the missile defense must be placed as close as possible to Russia’s borders. As a result, missile defence has been deployed in Romania and is currently being deployed in Poland. It was planned to do the same in Ukraine, but is currently excluded.
But these two sites on land are only a tiny part of missile defense. In addition, more than 100 ships are equipped with the missile defense systems or are being built especially for them. This will also allow Russia to be circled from the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Pacific and the Black Sea.
In addition, the missile defense uses the system MK-41 as a launch pad. This system is universally applicable and can fire both defensive missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles, which in turn can carry nuclear warheads. This simultaneously turns the US missile defense system into an attack weapon that can launch cruise missiles in the immediate vicinity of the Russian border, which can attack almost any target in Russia with nuclear weapons within 10-12 minutes.
By the way, this list of MK-41 Deployment of US Mk 41 missile In Romania, an open breach of the INF Treaty, which the US has since terminated, is now legal to erect Tomahawk cruise missiles on the Russian border, which the treaty has previously banned. But even though everyone can read it on Wikipedia, the Western press claims that it is Russia, not the US, that has violated the treaty.
In the meantime, the US has terminated all but one of the Cold War disarmament treaties.
The low warning time when using such cruise missiles makes things so dangerous. When Russia detects suspicious missiles, it has only a few minutes to decide whether or not to respond nuclearally.
And that is exactly the difference with the Cold War: at that time it was easier to threaten oneanother with intercontinental ballistic missiles, which had a longer flight and thus warning time. Today, however, the US is creating a ring of missile positions in Europe and especially at sea around Russia, reducing the time to make a decision to one to two minutes. And these missile positions can, firstly, conduct a first strike with Tomahawk cruise missiles and, secondly, with the defensive missiles, attempt to intercept the Russian counter-attack.
In addition, the US has a highly secret, unmanned shuttle called the X-37, which is virtually unknown, but which has been tested since 2010. Some say it should be able to eliminate enemy satellites, others say it is meant for espionage and others say it should fire nuclear weapons directly from orbit, which would also mean a very short warning period.
And while Obama spoke publicly about nuclear disarmament, he also massively intensified US plans for missile defense and modernization of US nuclear weapons.
Russia, of course, knew the US plans. Not because it had such good spies, but because they were obvious to every expert. The official statements by the US that the missile shield was aimed at threats from Iran and North Korea were absurd from the outset. Then it would have been set up in Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and so on, but not in Europe. Nor would it have required a hundred ships, the planning, ordering, construction and equipment of which any expert could see from the Pentagon’s publicly available budget.
Putin therefore announced back in 2005 that he would not be drawn into a classic arms race in order to develop such an expensive defense system. Russia could not have financed this at all. Instead, he has announced that he will develop missiles that can bypass missile defense. This was ridiculed, because Russia was still on the ground at that time as a result of the Yeltsin era.
However, Putin has followed suit, and in Russia’s 2015 intervention in Syria, Russia initially used cruise missiles that flew thousands of miles from the Caspian Sea over mountains and deserts, then targeted ISIS in Syria to meet and destroy one meter accurately. These new Russian Kalibr cruise missiles were also fired by submarines in the Mediterranean and strategic bombers.
Militaryly, this would not have been necessary, the targets could also have been destroyed “classically” with aircraft. It was a show of force that was intended to show the US that Russia now also has functioning cruise missiles that cannot be reached for US missile defense because it does not use a ballistic missile.
The shock among Western military experts at the time was to be grasped with their hands. Now the US knew that Russia could also reach the US from submarines off the US coast. While cruise missiles can be intercepted with Patriot systems, for example, it is much more difficult and there is no guarantee that it will actually work.
This was explained in detail on Russian television in a very interesting article, so that even the last analyst in Washington would understand that one cannot feel safe in a first strike against Russia in Washington. There, all the “decision centers” of the United States that Russia can reach with such weapons were named. Any US general concerned should know that he is not safe in the event of an attack in his office. This mission, too, must be seen as a clear message to the United States.
It is important to know that there are analysts in both the US and Russia, whose only task is to evaluate speeches by politicians and broadcasts from pro-government TV stations. And on the show, the presenter addressed the United States directly. It is not clearer.
And as if that weren’t enough, Russia has also announced that it has developed hypersonic missiles that fly at ten times the speed of sound and are therefore not achievable for any existing defenses. These are weapons that the US has so far failed to develop.
These weapons, too, have been publicly tested and demonstrated by Russia, and should also deprive the US of the feeling of unassailability. A US expert explained one of the new Russian missiles in a report: “They fly quite low and you think you know what they are doing. Then suddenly it rises steeply, accelerates threetimes and slams from above into the finish. It’s like ice hockey when you see the opposing striker and suddenly the puck is in the goal and you don’t know how he got there.”
None of this protects Russia from a possible US nuclear strike, but it does make it clear to the US that it cannot intercept the counter-attack with its missile defense.
In such a conflict, Europe would be the battlefield. We can only hope that US leaders take Russia seriously and do not believe in the illusion of their own invulnerability. Because no matter how such a conflict would turn out, Europe would be uninhabitable thereafter.
All of this should be kept in mind when you read in the media once again that the US missile defense is a defensive system. The opposite is true, even if the word “defense” suggests otherwise.