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U.S. Missile Defense Against Iran Makes China/Russia Mad, Might Not Even Work

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the do-we-blame-george-lucas-for-this dept.

China 408

An anonymous reader writes "The United States, since the 1980s, has been trying to make missile defense work. Billions of dollars spent, tons of political capital spent, and not a lot to show. The U.S. does have two viable options: the SM-2 and SM-3, although neither are perfect. The U.S., with European allies, has been deploying missile defense in Europe to block a possible strike from Iranian nuclear tipped missiles (even though they have not made nukes or the missiles to carry them). One problem: such defenses could, in theory, also block Russian and Chinese missiles. Russia is now planning to make more missiles to counter such defenses and could pull out of the New Start Treaty. They may also stop helping U.S. forces to supply themselves in Afghanistan. Is this all worth it for something that might not even work?"

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408 comments

Quite the opposite (5, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419279)

The big problem is not that it makes Russia mad, but that with further development it could make America not MAD. Without mutually assured destruction, the nuclear peace will come to an end. It's like the US is deliberately trying to force a WW3. It's about time to realise that the cold war is over.

Re:Quite the opposite the opposite (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419341)

if the cold war is over why you're bringing up mutually assured destruction thing? its a cold war artifact, unless you're really trying to say that cold was is not over and we need to continue those treaties like in the past?

Re:Quite the opposite the opposite (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419557)

Barack Obama is a stuttering clusterfuck of a miserable failure.

Re:Quite the opposite the opposite - OT (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419705)

Barack doesn't stutter. I think you misspelled "George W. Bush."

Re:Quite the opposite the opposite (3)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419873)

Yes. He's the one that ordered development of missile defense... except... wait... he wasn't. This all began under Reagan (I'll wager it's certainly been considered earlier). So WTF with Obama? I don't understand this blaming of the current president for technology that's been under development for the last three or four of them.

Re:Quite the opposite the opposite (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39420137)

I blame Obama because Russia asked for the shield to be extended over Russian territoru, and he turned them down.
I think that decision was stupid; you will protect all your EU democratic allies but not Russia? Not even the western half ot it? Talk about giving the middle finger.

Perfect solution. (5, Funny)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419733)

Outsource ABM systems manufacture to China.

Re:Perfect solution. (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 2 years ago | (#39420041)

Oh come on mods, that's funny...

Re:Quite the opposite (3, Insightful)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419357)

Haaaaaa. Wow. Because the US, today, really is going to use nuclear assets on Russia. Ok. No. You're just insane.

This is all economics. Russia and China are mad not because of anything relating to war, but because the US is selling things to countries that lessens the value of the things that Russia and China want to sell to different countries.

Think about it. Think about it. No not too hard, you'll hurt yourself.

Yeah. The countries that these missile defense systems are aimed at stopping from aggressive attacks? Those countries buy their hardware from Russia and China!

Money, world go round, etc etc etc.

Re:Quite the opposite (2, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419609)

>>> the US is selling things to countries that lessens the value of the things that Russia and China want to sell to different countries.

Flat wrong. Russia asked to be part of the shield and buy anti-missile missiles direct from the U.S. just like the Europeans are doing. But the U.S. turned them down (President Obama said "nyet"). So your theory doesn't fly.

Re:Quite the opposite (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419765)

Did he, now? [citation needed]

Re:Quite the opposite (2, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419833)

Flat wrong. Russia asked to be part of the shield and buy anti-missile missiles direct from the U.S. just like the Europeans are doing. But the U.S. turned them down (President Obama said "nyet"). So your theory doesn't fly.

Not relevant. What Russia/China want to sell (and in fact have a long history of doing exactly that) is not a ballistic-missile shield (which they don't possess) but ballistic missile systems (which they do) and which are rendered considerably less valuable if there is a semi-universal anti-ballistic system. Of course, it won't impact China or Russia's ability to blow up the planet: thousand of missiles with thousands of warheads assures no ABM system in existence right now could do that (not to mention the radioactive fallout from their destruction alone would be rather terrifying).

Re:Quite the opposite (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39420015)

Russia asked to be part of the European missile shield (so it would cover both the EU and the RF), which that disproves your claim they are fundamentally opposed to the idea.

Re:Quite the opposite (1)

Pieroxy (222434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419771)

That said, seeing how the US messed with the middle east for decades and is apparently not decided to stop, it kinda looks like only WWIII is going to stop this whole insanity.

I honestly don't see what else is coming unless the US start realizing that the best way to not antagonize people is to let them alone.

Re:Quite the opposite (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39420017)

The US, and the Europeans, you mean, right?

Wait - I'm sorry - did you really think the partitioning of the Ottoman Empire after world war 1, and the decades of meddling by western powers, were only done by Americans?! That's a real hoot!

You might try learning some history before you blame the problems in the middle east solely on America.

Re:Quite the opposite (2)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419777)

No. You're just insane.

Don't look at me. I'm not telling the assholes to do this. I didn't even elect any of them. They've stopped looking at election results as as any kind of mandate or direction on policy long ago. Plus enacting laws to stop and search me for any reason, and jail me without any need to see a judge at all, for as long as they want? Sheeat, the constitution & bill of rights is just an annoying peice of paper to them now. They've all gone rogue as far as I'm concerned. And they have all the guns.

Re:Quite the opposite (1)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419845)

the US is selling things to countries that lessens the value of the things that Russia and China want to sell to different countries

You wanna qualify that? Last I heard China was selling things so cheaply wholesale industries are moving out of the US, for quite some time now.

Re:Quite the opposite (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419997)

Na, they just don't like the US causing nuclear proliferation. You said it yourself, the US will never attack Russia because even with a missile shield enough nukes will get through to send both sides back to the stone age. North Korea and Iran thought they would be safe from the US and Israel if they had even a couple of long range nukes, but now it looks like they need lots.

All that will happen is countries want more nukes and Russia and China end up spending vast sums of money developing their own nuke shields. Yeah, they make some money selling the tech, but nothing like what it cost to develop.

Re:Quite the opposite (5, Interesting)

demachina (71715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39420013)

Not sure how this rambling mess made insightul but I assure you "selling stuff" is not the major issue. It may be "a" issue but it is way down on the list.

The U.S. doesn't have to use nukes to acheive their goals. All they need is A) a credible first strike offensive capability Russia and China can't stop and B) a credible defensive capability that has the potential to stop Russian and Chinese weapons.

It is extremely tacky on the part of the U.S. to be developing defensive missile capabilities on one hand while they are asking Russia to reduce its arsenal with START treaties, making it more vulnerable to a defensive shield.

If the U.S. has a credible chance of winning a nuclear war, it doesn't have to fight one to win. It wins when it can dictate global policy on everything, economics and economic systems, commodities(oil), who runs which third world country, etc. and no one can say NO. Russia in particular is furious the U.S. toppled a close ally in Serbia with military force, and is on the verge of doing the same to Russia's allies in Syria and Iran.

If the U.S thinks it can win any confrontation, it can start dictating terms without ever resorting to an actual military confrontation.

When the Soviet Union collapsed the U.S., especially the neocons, began proclaiming the U.S. as the worlds sole remaining superpower and acting accordingly. If they ever develop a real shield against nukes they will be even worse. That's why the Reaganauts and the Neocons keep spending staggering sums trying to develop one.

To counter my own argument it is totally NUTS for the U.S. to think they CAN develop an effective shield against nukes. There are simply to many countries with them, too many ways to deliver them and they are too smal. You have low flying cruise missiles, hypersonic air breathers, stealth, a tramp steamer or fishing boat sailing in to the harbor of a major coastal city, a pack mule walking across the Canadian border, etc.

Re:Quite the opposite (1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419365)

MAD only works if all the powers are rational and interested in living. When one party has no problems with suicide because they are eager to meet their god in a blaze of jihadi glory then its time to spend a hell of a lot more on ABM technology.

Re:Quite the opposite (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419469)

MAD only works if all the powers are rational and interested in living. When one party has no problems with suicide because they are eager to meet their god in a blaze of Rapture glory then its time to spend a hell of a lot more on ABM technology.

There, fixed that for you.

Re:Quite the opposite (3, Insightful)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419681)

Except your stupid attempt at humor ignores a massive difference between Christian and Muslim ideals. Muslim suicide bombers are hailed as martyrs, and they get to go to Heaven. Christian ideals see murderous suicide as a sin, which cannot be forgiven because you are dead, thus sending you to Hell. The idea of the Rapture is that you ascend to Heaven before the Apocalypse, rather than as/after you cause it.

I'm not particularly religious, but I can recognize which side is crazier than the other; it's not even close as one still lives in the Dark Ages, while the other has finally slithered into the present, or near-present.

Re:Quite the opposite (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39420113)

The Islamic world is definitely considerably more prone to crazy, yet this doesn't mean we should ignore the Christians who appear eager to speed-up their messiah's return. Coaxing Russia in to war would certainly please those who think their invasion of Israel to be a prophetic precursor to the end of this wretched age of sin. Those think the guys who supplied the US Military with rifle scopes, complete with Bible verse references, are not crazy? Even if Christians aren't busy loading up with ball bearings before climbing aboard packed buses, don't understimate their craziness or the risk that their actions could spark off something pretty big.

Christians in the western world are generally physically less aggressive, but look at the Christians in Africa and the Balkans. You remember the Serbian Christians and their massacre of Bosnian Muslims? I don't give exclusive blame to religion for these things. Given nothing else to get parochial and violent over, these fucknuts will be out killing people based on their choice of ketchup. Religion, like many ideologies or worldviews, is a great excuse to get some shooting and raping on.

Re:Quite the opposite (1)

JackieBrown (987087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419687)

If that correction was true, then why didn't we launch under Regan or Carter?

Re:Quite the opposite (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419823)

Goddamn right. These fucking Christian war monger fucks here in the United States are just as responsible for the current state of the world as the "terrorists" we're fighting. Israel is basically egging the Iranians on with their bullshit, like the little shit-talker that always seems to orbit the playground bully, and here's the fundies in the U.S. playing the role of idiot bully that a lifetime of Christianity has trained them for oh so well.

So fucking sick and tired of these fundamentalist fucktards on all sides of the issue. It's 20-fucking-12 and people are still trying to kill each other over their particular flavor of magic fucking sky fairy mythological bullshit. It's fucking ridiculous. I realize I'm only a very small minority of the population, but on behalf of all of us that have evolved beyond the point of needing bedtime stories to sleep at night: grow the fuck up already. You're a fucking embarrassment to your fucking species and millions of years of evolution.

Re:Quite the opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419931)

Profanity is the attempt of a lazy and feeble mind to express itself forcefully. -- some dead guy

Re:Quite the opposite (0)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419581)

You still don't understand the big "Muslim" world (AKA sheiks, kings and princes) has too much invested in this world to really hurry to the next one, do you. Also, suicide attacks are not religiously motivated.

Re:Quite the opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419753)

Also, suicide attacks are not religiously motivated.

That is just pure bullshit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-voIhc8WLjo

Re:Quite the opposite (1)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#39420025)

And here you just supported my claim. The killing might be religiously motivated (that done by the US is - at least GWB said so). But suicide attacks are materially motivated (a promise of the "martyr's family's prosperity). Were "Divine Wind" attacks religiously motivated? Hm?

Re:Quite the opposite (5, Interesting)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419657)

Therein lies the problem. Russia and China should be buying into the ABM system, not the other way around. Who knows what crazy thing will happen if north korea goes to the next level of crazy, or pakistan or saudi or egypt, algeria, or the like.

An ABM system isn't so much a problem for today. It's a problem for '10 years from now the next guy in charge of somewhere could be completely mental and we can't risk them shooting first'.

In 1930 the nazi's weren't in power, or, well, in anything. 10 years later they were dancing in Warsaw and Paris. One of these days Iran, North korea, algeria, egypt, saudi are all going to suffer dramatic political upheaval. I have no idea what that upheaval will translate into (which is sort of what's going on in algeria and egypt at the moment) and nor does anyone else. But a nuclear armed north korea, that decides it wants to blame their friends in china and russia for whatever is wrong with them this week is far more dangerous to the world than a north korea who are pointing big guns at south koreas big guns. Iran, under the ayatollahs may be willing to play by MAD rules (with israel and saudi) but if that government starts to fall can you still count on that? Will they go down in a blaze of glory and take the conspirators (Saudi) and the infidels (Israel) with them? Will they be replaced by someone for not being conservative enough and for having not launched a war with israel?

The world can play out in very strange ways. ABM might be a waste of money. But it might not. And that can be said of fire trucks, aircraft carriers and police body armour. How much ABM should be 'worth' in the grand scheme of things I really don't know, but I'd tend to think it should be more than a few grad students pontificating on forum posts when they should be working (says the grad student pontificating on a forum post).

That doesn't mean ABM is the only measure we should ever rely on, or that ABM won't be so absurdly expensive that it can't work. But I don't really know what the crossover point is on cost, or how much more or less value you get against a relatively abstract potential future threat.

Re:Quite the opposite (5, Insightful)

bkmoore (1910118) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419689)

MAD only works if all the powers are rational and interested in living. When one party has no problems with suicide because they are eager to meet their god in a blaze of jihadi glory then its time to spend a hell of a lot more on ABM technology.

Normally don't reply to AC, but that is a dangerous assumption that is probably not correct. Middle-eastern dictators yell "death to Israel, death to America" so much so that it's the most tired, worn-out cliche in the world. The Iranian people don't even believe it any more. The greatest fear of Iran's leadership is that they have lost their legitimacy in the eyes of the people, and they need a confrontation with an external enemy to deflect criticism about their own mismanagement of the country.

When we make assumptions, i.e. Iranians are a bunch of suicidal maniacs bent on Armageddon, we limit our abilities to find the best answer to solving real political problems. Yes, a nuclear Iran is a very bad thing. But another middle-eastern war wouldn't be much better, and might be even worse. We need to honestly evaluate the situation and develop our plans based upon sound assumptions. We tend to build up all these third-rate dictators in our heads to be the next Adolf, go to war, then find out the emperor never had any clothes. I have seen way too many false assumptions driving plans in my day and I have the scars to prove it. Let's all cool down and get this one right.

Re:Quite the opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39420081)

I doubt you have studied on the Iran-Iraq war. That Jihadi stance is precisely the stance they took and the rhetoric they are using today echoes what they used during that war, except now it is exclusively directed at the US and Israel

Re:Quite the opposite (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 2 years ago | (#39420133)

I think he was talking about America. Re: Mittens and TheFrothyMixtureOfLubeAndFecalMatter both belonging to extremist cults/sects.

Re:Quite the opposite (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419699)

Nice stereotyping. Iranians and Pakistanis have no more interest in dying than you or I do. In fact it is MAD that keeps these two Muslim countries peaceful, because both Iran & Pakistan know if they nuked either Israel or India, then those countries would turn Iran/Pakistan into a nuclear wasteland.

Re:Quite the opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419461)

I'm more suspicious at the fact that China and Russia are mad that their missiles can't hit France, the UK etc... The U.S. has a tangible reason for wanting the missile defense, North Korea, Iran, other unstable countries trying to achieve nuclear perfection and long range missiles. Even more suspicious that those unstable countries are allies, or "close friends" of China and Russia.

The U.S. does a lot of things wrong, I feel that they are not in the wrong on this one.

Re:Quite the opposite (1)

chispito (1870390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419465)

I don't follow the logic here. The world is full of countries that would not assure mutual destruction if we were to wage nuclear war on them. What about AMB technology is going to seriously change the status quo? Besides, all our efforts have been aimed at stopping relatively few missiles from a rogue state, not at providing a useful screen against the hundreds of missiles a major nuclear power could bring to bear.

Re:Quite the opposite (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419851)

Which is why I stressed that it requires further development. This could be one of three things: one, the US tells the truth and the goal is to defend against small rogue nuclear powers; two, this is another bluff like SDI; three, this is the first step in development of a large-scale missile defence system. Knowing America's past intentions the third option can't be ruled out. And if indeed the truth is the first one, then the US should be more willing to compromise and knowing how sensitive this topic is should try to get above any suspicions instead of playing it hard and walking out from the discussion with Russia.

Re:Quite the opposite (1, Insightful)

PickyH3D (680158) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419477)

The missile shield has no hope of countering the ICBMs that Russia currently maintains. However, there is a realistic hope to stop a stray missile--say, from a corrupt regime fixated on self-destruction. MAD still exists, but CGAD (Crazy General Assured Destruction) does not with such a system.

This is all posturing, particularly from two of the least moral nations in the world: Russia and China. And, unsurprisingly, they are both backers of a nuclear Iran, which just sounds wonderful considering the frequency of their "death to America" and "death to Israel" proclamations. Regardless of your position on the great Satan and Israel, those are not exactly inspiring statements, nor are they convincing anyone when they turn around and suggest that their nuclear lust is purely for civilian electricity.

Re:Quite the opposite (4, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419785)

>>> they are both backers of a nuclear Iran, which just sounds wonderful considering the frequency of their "death to America" and "death to Israel" proclamations.

When did these statements happen?
Citation please.
Oh and before you drag-out that tired "wipe Israel off the map" quote..... the phrase wipe off the map does not exist in the Iranian language. It was a very poor translation. What was actually stated by the Iranian president was this: "In a few years the government of Isreal will collapse and fade into history." Somewhat similar to what Reagan said about the communist government of Russia.

Re:Quite the opposite (0)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419511)

The big problem is not that it makes Russia mad, but that with further development it could make America not MAD.

I think you might be right, but not for the reason you might believe.

Let's imagine that Iran hurls a bunch of warheads at Tel Aviv and maybe some other Israeli cities. I don't think that's terribly likely, but lets just roll with that for now. Do you think that the US would reply with nukes? I think it's about 50/50, yet it needs to be 100% for MAD to work. Unlikely as it might be, Iran might actually feel that they can get a first strike in on Israel without nuclear retribution. Put a missile defense shield in place, no matter how patchy, and the equation changes - now the idea that they might be able to totally destroy Israel in one burst is more of a question, and either Israel or the US or some other party may very well return the favor.

I don't worry about MAD with China or Russia because I don't think they have anything to gain by using a nuclear weapon on the US, and MAD never caused Russia to refrain from conventional military buildup, so I don't see why it would work on China.

Re:Quite the opposite (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419933)

Wow the ignorance on this topic is amazing (probably from pro-war propaganda on NBC, FOX, CNN... in other words the defense corporations). Iran doesn't even HAVE a missile capable of reaching Israel. The only missile that has the necessary carrying capacity for the weight of a nuke only goes 100+ miles. They have longer missiles that reach 1000 miles, but that's still far short of Israel, and those only carry a few pounds of TNT/conventional bombs. So why on earth are you worried about a missile strike that is beyond Iran's capability?

Besides Israel has 300+ nuclear weapons. They don't need the U.S. to act because in the event of a war, Israel will have already turned Iran into a wasteland, long before our soldiers arrive on the scene. They are more than capable of wiping-out their Arab neighbors (which is why they don't attack).

Final thought: Iran is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty with the U.S., England, France, and so on. Israel is not. There's nothing to hold them back.

Re:Quite the opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419637)

The cold way is over for now, but Putin's never-ending reign over Russia should give us some pause. Maybe he'll stay happy being an unofficial dictator or maybe Russia will be gearing things up in the future. That Berlusconi -- who had a stranglehold over his country's media -- lost Italy gives Putin another reason to tighten his grip and find or create a major enemy he can hold up in order to silence, or have silenced, his many critics. I don't think American kids need to be watching "Duck and Cover" videos in school yet, but the cold war's buried body is starting to twitch.
 
In the end, though, I suspect this is mostly not so much a matter of military strategy as it is of justifying military funding. (Yes, this is a surprise ending.)

Re:Quite the opposite (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419763)

. It's like the US is deliberately trying to force a WW3.

Best comes to best, the US will start up a new arms race.

Arms race: Making your economies strong since forever.

Re:Quite the opposite (2)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419913)

Are you nuts? Russia has thousands and thousands of nuclear missiles on land. They have a bunch of nuclear missiles on submarines. No matter how accurate the SM-2 and SM-3 missiles get, we just don't have enough to prevent the Eastern seaboard from getting wiped out, not to mention the fact that they don't do jack shit against submarine-based missiles.

Now China might get pissy about this, but it's not like they were a real nuclear power to begin with.

Political, and not tech (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419287)

This is purely a political article, without even a significant tech angle. Who votes for (Firehose) these articles for Slashdot? Not I. You might as well make it a poll.

Re:Political, and not tech (4, Insightful)

stevew (4845) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419329)

I concur - the simple facts are that we have a hand-full of anti-missile missiles. Russia has hundreds. They can overwhelm the system trivially. The system is only good against bad actors with a small number of missiles, i.e. North Korea and potentially Iran. Russia is more likely pissed off about the Radar near their borders being able to see stuff they shouldn't, but they use the anti-missile aspect of it as the whipping boy.

Re:Political, and not tech (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419427)

This is purely a political article, without even a significant tech angle. Who votes for (Firehose) these articles for Slashdot? Not I. You might as well make it a poll.

So say we all

Yes (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419333)

Considering the government has to spend my tax dollars frivolously, hell look at the bank bailouts.

Re:Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419409)

The bank bailouts were profitable - it was the car bailouts, the mortgage quangos, and AIG that lost money.

AIG might be profitable in the end, but the car and mortgage bailouts will be money pits (particularly the latter).

As for the blurb:

One problem: such defenses could, in theory, also block Russian and Chinese missiles

Um, let me get this straight: China and Russia are furious that someone might block their missiles? What were they expecting?

Share (1)

dtmancom (925636) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419339)

How about just give them the same technology? They wont need to build more offensive missiles if they have their own method of blocking incoming missiles.... unless their motives are less than honorable.

If we didn't give them the technology, perhaps America's intentions are less than honorable.

Re:Share (1)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419441)

The technology could probably be used as a stepping stone for developing ways to beat it plus have lots of offshoot possibilities. It's not like they're going to agree not to backward engineer it in a Eula.

Re:Share (1)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419701)

How about just give them the same technology? They wont need to build more offensive missiles if they have their own method of blocking incoming missiles.... unless their motives are less than honorable.

If we didn't give them the technology, perhaps America's intentions are less than honorable.

Reagan is that you? That strategy worked so well when you discussed it with Gorbachev in the 80ies!

Speculation both ways (1)

Dan East (318230) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419343)

(even though they have not made nukes or the missiles to carry them)

Are you sure about that? You know they are working very hard towards both ends, right? You did see the news the last couple days about Iran launching another "satellite" into orbit next month?

And now, the stupid answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419347)

"Is this all worth it for something that might not even work?"

No. Absolutely not. We'd be much better off simply asking these other countries to be nice to us, since their track record when it comes to human rights and honest negotiation is far better than ours.

It's clear that the biggest problem -- nay, the only problem -- in the world when it comes to international relations is the United States. As we cannot do anything right, we should simply disarm ourselves and adhere to more principled and nuanced entities.

Re:And now, the stupid answer (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419505)

Or we could have been spending 30 years and countless billions on things that actually work versus flushing the money down the toilet on something that will never realistically work and burning diplomatic goodwill at the same time? No that's stupid and your Rush Limbaugh-esque response is clearly what was meant.

Re:And now, the stupid answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419745)

Ah, so quick with the name-calling. Clearly if I disagree with your worldview, then I must be the drooling, drug-addicted Hitler du jour. I suppose it would be too easy to assume that I am a vicious warmonger with no concern about waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars. Heck, while you're at it, why don't you imagine me kicking a few kittens while dumping antifreeze into a nature preserve?

Do you find it disconcerting: that noise that is caused when both of your brain cells rub together and permit you to vomit stupidity on the Internet?

Re:And now, the stupid answer (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419825)

Translation: I still have no arguments beyond ad homs. This system has never and will never work despite 30 years of protestations otherwise.

Re:And now, the stupid answer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39420065)

[Citation Needed]

Also, if your skin is so thin that you cannot handle a comparable response to your initial "Rush Limbaugh" ad hominem attack, you should stay in the basement.

Maybe I'm missing something (1)

morphotomy (1655417) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419367)

Maybe I'm missing something, but how it it a "problem" that the system is able to block missiles from Russia and China?

Re:Maybe I'm missing something (1)

Desler (1608317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419527)

The problem is that it won't work and we are wasting money and political capital on a system that after 30+ years has not shown itself to be viable on any realistic scale.

Re:Maybe I'm missing something (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419549)

The basis of not having a nuclear exchange during the Cold War was that it was impossible to nuke your enemies without getting nuked in return. An effective anti-nuke shield makes it plausible to launch a "winnable" nuclear war. And if you're the one without the effective shield, you're suddenly feeling defensive and cornered and you've got a lot of nukes laying around.

Re:Maybe I'm missing something (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419987)

Maybe we shouldn't give our police or military troops body armor either since it may anger criminals or terrorists.

Clearly what is needed (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419393)

is a cryptographic protocol between the ballistic missile and the interceptor:


Scenario 1:
US missile shield: Who are you? And what do you want?
Incoming missile: Huh?
US missile shield: **BAM**

Scenario 2:
US missile shield: Who are you? And what do you want?
Incoming missile: I'm a Soviet missile here to wipe out New Jersey. Here's a message digest signed by my private key.
US missile shield: Oh... well, OK.

Scenario 3 (imposter):
US missile shield: Who are you? And what do you want?
Incoming missile: I'm a Soviet missile. But you see, I'm afraid the dog got a hold of my...
US missile shield: **BAM**

Yes. (3, Insightful)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419413)

Is a system that could save millions of lives without infringing on our freedoms worth it? Yes. How could anyone think otherwise. These missile defense system can not feasibly be used offensively. If someone gets mad at us for wanting to be able to defend ourselves, isn't that their problem?

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419531)

"Is a system that could save millions of lives without infringing on our freedoms worth it? Yes. How could anyone think otherwise."

My guess is that the individual asking the question either has a very poor command of history. I wouldn't be surprised if they are under 30 (and thus have very little firsthand knowledge of the Cold War) and come from a middle-to-upper-class background that has provided them with the luxury to ask such stupid questions without actually requiring said individual to exercise any critical thinking skills.

Re:Yes. (4, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419967)

Yeah, except you're unable to succinctly counter his perfectly reasonable point, and instead resort to good old fashioned cowardly ad hominem attack, with a side helping of class baiting. Occupy Slashdot, Man! Yeah!

Re:Yes. (2, Interesting)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419589)

It's their problem right up to the point they decide they should start a nuclear war with you that they might win (or lose less than you), rather than face an enemy you can't nuke, but who can nuke you, and thus dictate terms to you. Better death than slavery, say.

Re:Yes. (2, Insightful)

obi1one (524241) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419651)

Is it worth it if it drives other countries to invest more in their nuclear arsenals to ensure that their missiles wont all be stopped? The end result is that China and Russia can still nuke anyone they want, and there are a lot more nuclear weapons in the world, increasing the chances of theft, accident, and proliferation. And you have to wonder, if the US gets a working missile defense system, how long will it be before other countries get one working? Meanwhile, this whole process antagonises 2 countries that are essential in nuclear non proliferation efforts, particularly efforts related to countries this defensive system is being built to stop. It is not a cut and dry awesome idea like you seem to think.

Re:Yes. (0)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419959)

if the US gets a working missile defense system, how long will it be before other countries get one working?

That would be great! I don't wan't to nuke anybody! I don't want anybody to get nuked! Why would I be bothered if someone else developed a missile shield?!

Re:Yes. (1)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419737)

Is a system that could save millions of lives without infringing on our freedoms worth it? Yes. How could anyone think otherwise. These missile defense system can not feasibly be used offensively. If someone gets mad at us for wanting to be able to defend ourselves, isn't that their problem?

The problem with missile defense is that is shifts the balance. Nuclear War doctrine is all about balance, if one country is immune to missile strikes then that country could ostensibly launch its own strike with impunity.

Nuclear doctrine is weird like that, it's quite different from normal war.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419893)

Nuclear doctrine is weird like that, it's quite different from normal war.

Its not weird at all, thats how school bullies operate - target those too weak to defend themselves.

Re:Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39420111)

Who is the bully in your scenario? The USA who now can nuke others with impunity because they cannot defend themselves/retaliate?

Defenses help everyone. (1)

ChucktheMan (1991030) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419927)

We could restore the balance by reducing our inventory of offensive weapons, to everyone's (I think) satisfaction. Thus we have defenses against the psycho-islamists without unduly alarming rational self-defenders.

Re:Defenses help everyone. (1)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39420051)

Unless you eliminate all offensive weapons that is not going to fly. The whole argument against missile defense is that not only does it shift the balance so that a nuclear power with a well developed missile defense system could potentially launch a first strike without fear of reprisal.

Another argument against missile defense is that it provokes an asymmetric response, that is the easiest way to get around a missile defense system is to either launch more missiles or stick MIRVs on your missiles, thus a missile defense system could potentially drive an arms race, and don't want another one of those.

Re:Yes. (3, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419909)

It is an offensive weapon, the offence part being the fact that the mutually assured destruction of the US is no longer assured. If the missile shield worked as advertised the US would be free to nuke other countries with impunity. The whole point of other countries developing their own nuclear capabilities was to protect themselves from nuclear attack, and if the US acquired such a system everyone else would be forced to develop their own.

So even if the system did work it wouldn't be long before someone figures out how to thwart it, and a new arms race begins.

This seems to be a common theme for the US: destabilize the world in the name of self-defence.

Re:Yes. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#39420027)

Think about what you are saying. There is no way the US could ever launch a nuclear attack on anybody with impunity.

Re:Yes. (1)

Jessified (1150003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39420075)

If the US shared the tech allowing equal defense for all maybe China and Russia would feel better.

It's never been about anti-ballistic missles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419473)

1) The US military (and all of US policy) is off balance. The US military was built to fight World Wars, then maintained to fight the Cold War. Now that those events are over, it lacks purpose and is off balance while it's trying to figure out it's purpose again. In short, US foreign policy has an identity crisis, and has had it for the past 20 years.

2) Once designed, it's far cheaper to build lots of missles and overwhelm ABM systems, so if Iran had a decent missle that could hit Europe (they do not but they do have good medium range missles), then they could build a ton of them and overwhelm anything we could put up.

So why do we keep pursuing it? Because an ABM system has lots of technology associated with it, like radars, the missile itself, etc. That tech needs to be guarded, so usually the US Army stations a battalion at the base where it's located. Put enough of these around Central Europe, and you're back to the containment strategy used against the USSR, just as Russia is reasserting itself in the former Soviet nations and China is expanding into SouthEast Asia.

This happened in Poland last year; we were going to build an ABM site in Eastern Poland but backed out when Russia complained. Russia complained because they're trying to influence their former Soviet states and reestablish their sphere of influence. If Poland has an ABM site (and subsequenty a base full of US Army personnel), then if Russia wants to push around Poland they way they did to Georgia in 2008 they run the risk of bringing the US into the fight. So they discourage any ABM sites going up to keep US troops out of their backyard.

Three probs (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419479)

Two probs:

1) "block a possible strike from Iranian nuclear tipped missiles" I'm going to take a wild guess that culturally they Might prefer using a Toyota pickup truck or a shipping container or a standard passenger jetliner as a delivery vehicle. In the US we've forgotten why we're fixated on missiles, its because the USSR couldn't realistically, say, drive a truck over here with a H-bomb, so it ends up being missile vs missile.

2) SM series is "standard missile". Its really hard to specify how much work went into ballistic missile defense vs plain ole blowing stuff up. So political types will charge it as either thousands to billions depending on which axe they have to grind. So.. that vim editor... how much money was spent on editing Python? Well, you could evaluate what percentage was used in the field for Perl vs Python. Or you could look at bugs filed. Or some BS about test suites. Fundamentally its just a pretty darn useful editor. Much as a SM is a pretty darn useful wide envelope missile. It is emphatically not a "ballistic defense only" weapon.

3) There's endless rumors and BS about how SM series can be hacked into hitting seaskimming cruise missiles, but fundamentally you're better off with fast acting projectile weapons. You don't get much warning...

I would assume "they" would put their bomb into the vehicle "we" (well, we as in we are merely a province or whatever of Israel, always acting exclusively with their interests in mind, according to our leaders) are least suited to defend against. I suppose with the possible exception of WWII era strategic bomber, I can't think of a less likely delivery vehicle than a ballistic missile. I would guess its almost infinitely more likely that an off the shelf Iranian submarine gets as close to the USS Enterprise as physically possible before the deadman switch is released, or a shipping container is delivered to the port of L.A. or whatever thats marked as Couscous but actually glows instead...

There ARE interesting things for Iran to do with ballistic missiles. Nuke is not one of them.

Re:Three probs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419717)

I would assume "they" would put their bomb into the vehicle "we" (well, we as in we are merely a province or whatever of Israel, always acting exclusively with their interests in mind, according to our leaders) are least suited to defend against. I suppose with the possible exception of WWII era strategic bomber, I can't think of a less likely delivery vehicle than a ballistic missile. I would guess its almost infinitely more likely that an off the shelf Iranian submarine gets as close to the USS Enterprise as physically possible before the deadman switch is released, or a shipping container is delivered to the port of L.A. or whatever thats marked as Couscous but actually glows instead...

We already have defenses against those things. We don't have any against ballistic missiles. (Actually, technically the US does [wikipedia.org] and has for a few years now, but most of Europe/Israel don't).

Posted AC to preserve previous moderation (it does that, right?)

Re:Three probs (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419773)

We already have defenses against those things.

We have a defense against toyota pickup trucks and passenger jetliners and submarines? News to me.

About Russia... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419491)

You have to understand that anything the US does makes Russia, or rather its "national leader", mad. The anti-American rhetoric on the Russian TV today is virtually identical to that during the height of the Cold War. It is also worth pointing out that today the level of state control over Russian TV is not much lower than it was back then.

To the Russian leadership the US is the whipping boy. According to them, the US State Department has organized and financed the protests against massive election fraud that are happening in Russia as we speak. According to them, all the problems in Russia are not caused by corruption and total disregard for the law or human dignity, but by the US. Therefore, anything the US does on the international scene will be immediately labeled a threat to Russia and loudly condemned.

Re:About Russia... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419685)

Very well put.

Read the English Pravda website. That is what a lot of people are believing and swallowing every day.

And people complain about Fox News...

Troll article (4, Insightful)

petsounds (593538) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419517)

Editors, this article is a complete troll. This has nothing to do with "News for Nerds", and it's not even newsworthy.

For the record, it was recently published that President Obama is in talks with Russia to give some classified tactical information [reuters.com] about United States nuclear missiles in return for Russia's approval of the missile defense systems.

"Something that might not even work?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419519)

Then why are Russia and China mad?

Russia ASKED to be part of the missile shield (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419523)

President Obama flat turned them down. President Medvedev was not happy, and recorded a very stern video explaining why rejecting Russia was bound to escalate tensions along the EU-RF border. (In other words he didn't like hearing "no" to being part of the missile shield.)

I can't figure it out. Why would President Obama say no to a potential partner and ally in this endeavor? It was the kind of thing I would expect from Bush not Obama.

Re:Russia ASKED to be part of the missile shield (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419775)

Because that would be like Russia joining NATO.

Re:Russia ASKED to be part of the missile shield (2)

demonbug (309515) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419911)

President Obama flat turned them down. President Medvedev was not happy, and recorded a very stern video explaining why rejecting Russia was bound to escalate tensions along the EU-RF border. (In other words he didn't like hearing "no" to being part of the missile shield.)

I can't figure it out. Why would President Obama say no to a potential partner and ally in this endeavor? It was the kind of thing I would expect from Bush not Obama.

Actually, the U.S. and NATO offered to include Russia in the missile defense shield in the form of sharing early warning data (I don't believe they intended to share the actual missile intercept systems) around Fall 2010. Russia resisted, and came back a year later demanding that NATO legally bind themselves to never aiming the system towards Russia, which the U.S. and other NATO countries rejected. Most recently there has been some noise about sharing technical data with the Russians to assuage their fears, but I haven't seen any concrete information on what exactly was being offered, or even if there if there ever actually was a formal (or informal) offer.

Quick answer (1)

isotope23 (210590) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419525)

Boromir's answer -

One does not simply stop the "Star Wars"

No not worth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419537)

Peace is much cheaper, you just have to stop pissing each other off,and that doesnt cost anything.

Oh great... (1)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419569)

Are we going to be having another arms race now all of a sudden?
I thought Reagan and Gorbachev figured out back in the 80ies that missile defense was a terrible idea, since it's trivially overwhelmed by an 'asymmetric response', that is one side just launching A FUCKTON of missiles.

Re:Oh great... (1)

ChucktheMan (1991030) | more than 2 years ago | (#39420087)

Every defensive missile turns a ~95% certain kill of 20-30 million people into a chance they might live. Count me in on that. If I am forced to bet my life on something a slim chance is way better than no chance at all. The fact that no defense is perfect does not mean that we should abandon defenses. I would prefer to complicate any enemy calculus of military activity as much as possible. If we give someone something that is certain to work, we can guarantee that they will use it at some point. If there is uncertainty in all their military courses, they may choose a negotiation rather than genocide. Let them try to guess which of:

missiles,

stealth bombers,

conventional aircraft,

submarines,

air craft carriers,

stealthy helicopters,

heavy helicopters,

seal teams,

special ops HI/LO jumpers,

or

lying diplomats

we will respond with.

leverage to money (1)

u64 (1450711) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419619)

It's all about the money.

Everyone *knows* they wont fire on each other. That would be suicide, regardless of any "defenses".
So it's all for show, to get leverage aginst the other. Something to bargin with, to take off the table in negotiations
regarding existing things that costs money.

*That* is why Russia and China is sobbing uncontrollably. They lose a bit of influence. Dictatorships are keen
on the whole 'control' thing.

It's a Defensive System Folks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419641)

I question the motivation of the original poster.

This system is for defense. It shoots down incoming missles. It does not present a threat to other countries in any way, unless they aim at us.

Why, exactly, should we be worried that Russia and China are upset that we have a defensive system in place?

A nice old "fuck off" to both countries would be very appropriate in this situation.

Re:It's a Defensive System Folks (1)

WillgasM (1646719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39420009)

It's a threat because cold war era logic dictates that the only thing keeping either of us from hitting the button is assurance that the launch would be promptly detected and the other side would launch in retaliation, leading to our mutual destruction. If we knew we were protected by some impenetrable missile defense shield, our button finger might get itchy. I'm not saying I agree with the logic, but obviously someone still does.

re "not a lot to show" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39419671)

While you can argue both sides, I have read the theory that missile defense led to the winning of the cold war. I.e., it was the final straw regarding convincing Soviet leadership that competing was too expensive for the USSR economy. So I am not sure that I accept the premise of the question.

I think MWD will be used in my lifetime but think it is extremely unlikely they will be delivered by 1960s style ICBMs.

Might not? Try will not (5, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419891)

At one point, I worked in the mil side of weapons at Boeing.

The correct answer is not "might not". It's "will not".

Everyone in the industry knows what actually does work, and what we're talking about for the EU is not in the "workable" solutions choices.

Unless you think a 10 percent success rate with 90 percent getting through if they use all standard countermeasures is a "good thing". In real world operations with real weather, not faked tests.

Not that Iran could hit the broad side of a Polish barn - that's a fiction too.

No system is 100% (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 2 years ago | (#39419903)

When dealing with missile systems, nothing works 100% of the time, nor do they hit a target every time it's fired, to think otherwise is pure fantasy. This isn't Quake or Unreal.

The first thing to remember is that the United States isn't the only country working on these systems. The Russian Federation has a ring in place and is expanding their advanced S-300 and S-400 deployments around cities, India is working on systems with tests scheduled for this year, the Japanese have access to all of the Patriot and Standard R&D and test data and are adopting them too, Israel is working on SRBM and MRBM interception missiles.

Even when dealing with nuclear weapons, no warhead hits the target directly or close enough to destroy it 100% of the time, this is why when dealing with force and counter force calculations, multiple warheads are targeted at a point.

Adding interceptor weapons, something the Russian Federation already has batteries of around Moscow and St Petersburg, to the US arsenal gives the US a chance to intercept a small decapitation strike, or to attrit it enough that it isn't guaranteed to be 100% effective.

For small nuclear arsenals like North Korea or a nuclear Iran, a battery of interceptors could be better than ~70% per interceptor, eliminating a small arsenal's threat value. For medium sized arsenals like France, Great Britain, Pakistan, India, Israel and China, interceptors would make them devote more of their force and counter force warheads into a strike.

The Russian Federation getting so upset by a handful of interceptors either means their current ICBM and SLBMs are very vulnerable to boost and post-boost interception or they only plan on using a handful of missiles in decapitation strikes, which is the only thing US ABMs could deal with in regards to the Russians.

Iranian Nuclear, er medical program (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39420069)

"block a possible strike from Iranian nuclear tipped missiles (even though they have not made nukes or the missiles to carry them)"

Why would the US need a system to defend against the Iranian nuclear medical program? Alright, so all the medical facilities are buried hundreds of feet under mountains, and ok, so the Iranian government won't open them up to inspection - but it's all about patient's rights you see. They are protecting the privacy of the patients being treated at the facility, and hundreds of feet below a mountain is the perfect place to store confidential medical records.

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