Putin: Russia will “counter” US missile shield

Angered about the ballistic missile defense system the US is building in Eastern Europe, Vladimir Putin promised to “do something.” Oleg Shchedrov of Reuters reports:

President Vladimir Putin on Friday renewed criticism of U.S. plans to deploy a missile shield in Eastern Europe, saying Russia would take “appropriate measures” to counter the system.

Putin told Czech President Vaclav Klaus at a Kremlin meeting that the proposed missile shield would be used to track Russian military activities.

“These systems will monitor Russian territory as far as the Ural mountains if we don’t come out with a response,” Putin told Klaus. “And we will indeed do this. Anyone would.”

“We will not get hysterical about this. We will just take appropriate measures,” he said, without elaborating.

Read the whole article at the link above. It’s hard to imagine just WHAT “measures” Putin can take, or why he feels threatened by a missile-defense system in the first place (following Reagan’s famous gesture, Bush has offered the protection of our missile defenses to Russia, too). Even with the price of oil and gas at a long-term peak, Russia can’t afford to maintain its ballistic missiles and defense systems, much less upgrade them.

He may attempt to blackmail us by threatening to withdraw from cooperative arms control operations, or even to use energy as a weapon as he has tried recently with Ukraine and Georgia. In either case, though, his hand is weak – and that may just be the problem. The former KGB goon misses the “good old days” of the Cold War when the world lived in fear of the Soviet Empire. Too bad, Vlad.

Key al Qaeda leader in US custody
Political judo, part one: rolling with the punches