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Phantom Threats and Other Absurdities

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President Obama is in Portugal this weekend for the NATO summit primarily to discuss the situation in Afghanistan (more on that later).

Russia, although not a member of NATO, was invited and in attendance at the conference.

Though the meeting was billed as intending on focusing on the war in Afghanistan, in a separate action, the 28 member body agreed on Friday to build a mobile anti missile defense system that is supposed to defend all NATO countries from an attack; and this with the full cooperation from the Russians.

This is an interesting development in itself as Russia just two years ago vehemently objected to any plan that would put anti ballistic missiles in Europe seeing it as a threat aimed at them. Yesterday's agreement, which had no country specifically designated as a threat, (a demand put forth by Turkey to get it to sign on) was still clearly aimed at Iran.

But even with this new agreement the projected "mobile" system, (though different than the "fixed" anti ballistic missile system offered by the Bush administration that would have had missiles in Poland and radar in the Czech Republic) which could to be moved as necessary (as well as to be at sea) there are facts that pointedly expose the fallacy of any type of anti ballistic missile system namely:

1.        There can be no anti ballistic missile system developed (fixed or mobile, now or ever) that can defend against   the multiple, independently targeted, reentry vehicle (MIRV) that is in today's nuclear arsenal of all countries that possess nuclear weapons. The whole idea of developing MIRV's was that they couldn't be deterred once launched. A MIRV is essentially multiple war heads that separate from the initial rocket after its launch that is designed to overwhelm any anti missile defense system so even if one offensive missile could be intercepted (which in tests under perfect conditions has proven unreliable and unsuccessful in taking out even one missile) multiple war heads would still hit the target. MIRV's were behind the nuclear standoff that became known as MAD (mutually assured destruction) that served as the primary deterrent in the "Cold War" between the U.S. and the USSR. It is the reason there has been no nuclear war. [1] With MIRV's there can be no anti missile system that can succeed.

2.        Iran has no nuclear weapons. Iran has conventional missiles that are capable only of carrying conventional weapons. So there is no nuclear threat, imminent or otherwise, coming from Iran.

So what NATO has done is have an agreement on an anti ballistic missile system that can never succeed against a threat that doesn't exist.

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That is the absurdity that was reached yesterday. Then let's add in the absurdity of NATO, whose main reason for being (deterring an attack by the USSR) ended when that country ceased to exist with its demise in 1991, thus unceremoniously ending the Cold War.

Finally there's the absurdity of fighting a war in Afghanistan by the U.S. and NATO against an enemy (al Qaida) that no longer has a presence in the country that has morphed into a war against an indigenous foe (the Taliban) that mainly fights against us and NATO because of the occupation of its country.

So in summary, beyond the "theatrics" in Portugal this weekend, what there is in reality is a meeting of an organization that has no purpose for being (no USSR) agreeing on something that cannot work (an anti ballistic missile system) fighting in a war where the enemy (al Qaida) no longer reside. Hmm!

Absurdity has to do with something nonsensical, preposterous, futile, ridiculous et al.

Sadly, that's the charade we're witnessing in Lisbon this weekend.      

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[1] It is fully acknowledged that a world without any nuclear weapons is what is needed. But until the world comes to its senses and eliminates the scourge of these weapons "MAD" remains the operable deterrent against the unthinkable.


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... by Vaikunthanath Kaviraj on Monday, Nov 22, 2010 at 3:44:34 PM