Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov is confident that Russia has the means to protect itself against the sprawling US missile defense system, which is not just limited to Russia’s neck of the woods.
"We are closely monitoring the work of our colleagues and understand its vector,” Serdyukov said in an interview published in Itogi journal. “Russia’s state military program, which looks ahead until 2020, solves many tasks and will help neutralize threats created by the US global missile defense network.”
The United States, as the military powerhouse behind the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), has refused Russia’s assistance in building the latest leg of it global missile defense system, which Russia warns could spark another arms race without some sort of agreement.
Last year, former President Dmitry Medvedev announced plans to deploy Iskander missiles in Russia’s westernmost Kaliningrad Region in order to counter the threat posed by the US system.
The US missile defense system has neither geographical nor technological limitations. This has some military observers warning that Russia could eventually find itself surrounded by a ring of NATO radar and missiles.
Last year it was reported that Washington was planning a “major expansion” of Asian-based missile defenses, which are ostensibly intended to guard against an unpredictable North Korea, but are most likely being planned with China and Russia in mind.
The US military in 2006 placed a powerful early-warning radar, known as an X-Band, in Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan, with further plans to expand the radar to the Philippines.
When asked whether Russia had the military tools for meeting the challengers of any possible aggressor, Serdyukov’s answer was simple and straightforward: "We have them.”
When pressed for more information, the defense minister responded: “I would rather not go into details, but I can assure you that, in addition to our nuclear deterrent, which is in a very good shape, [Russia is researching] significant high-precision arms projects, among others.”
“We feel confident," Serdyukov concluded.
The unfortunate side of the controversy over the US missile defense system is that it exposes the cynicism behind the Russia-US reset.
Like other unfulfilled promises made by the presidential administration of Barack Obama, including the failure to close Guantanamo Bay detention center, the idea of a reset seems to have been part of a ploy to reduce anxiety – both in Russia and Europe – over its missile defense plans.
While Washington was holding out flowers with one hand, it seems to have been concealing a club behind its back in the other.
Judging by Serdyukov's comments, Moscow was not fooled by the ruse.