Welcome Back to the USSR
Whom do they think they are kidding?
Last Thursday, Col.-Gen. Vladimir Popovkin (pictured) of the Russian army said on television: “We don’t want to wage a war in space, we don’t want to gain dominance in space, but we won’t allow any other nation to dominate space. If any country deploys weapons in space, then the laws of warfare are such that retaliatory weapons are certain to appear.”
Now, where have we heard that before?
As the Associated Press reported: “President Bush signed an order last year tacitly asserting the U.S. right to space weapons and opposing the development of treaties or other measures restricting them. Bush also had pushed an ambitious program for space-based missile defense, and the Pentagon is working on missiles, ground lasers and other technology to shoot down satellites.” Perhaps president Bush looked a little more deeply into the soul of Vladimir Putin than it first appeared! Hooray! Bush is also spearheading a major new missile defense system in Eastern Europe, and has turned a deaf ear to Pooty-poot’s pathetic effort to derail the project.
Let’s get this straight: Russia is a nation with no significant strategic allies and an economy less than 1/12 the size that of the United States alone (the U.S. is the “any country” Col.-Gen. Popovkin was referring to), to say nothing of America’s many and powerful strategic allies in NATO and beyond. The puny economy Russia does have is entirely — entirely — dependent on a price of crude oil over which Russia has absolutely no control (and out of which it will inevitably run, oil being in finite supply), and it is burdened by one of the most massive demographic crises any nation has ever seen, ranging from AIDS to smoking to toxic pollution to unhealthy vegetable-free diets to horrific murder rates. Russia loses up to 1 million from its population every year due to this crisis; America freaks out over losing a few thousand soldiers in Iraq over the course of several years.
So it’s ridiculous — ridiculous — on its face for Russia to suggest that it can compete with the U.S. in a space-based arms race if it wants to. The USSR couldn’t manage it, and the USSR was twice as large as Russia and had Warsaw Pact allies (granted, at gunpoint). Only someone who is utterly insane would suggest that Russia go right back down that road, and insanity appears to be the common currency of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
In other words, it’s not that Russia doesn’t want to dominate space, it’s that it can’t do so. If it could, it would, and it would make the world pay through nose. As the AP states: “When China tested an anti-satellite missile in January, Putin said that the move was a response to U.S. plans for space-based weapons.” Undoubtedly Putin would have liked to make reference to a Russian missile, but he couldn’t because there wasn’t one. Not until 2009 will Russia even start testing a satellite system to detect missile launches. Russia can flail around all it likes, just as the USSR did, but a space-based arms race is way out of its price range. That’s why Col.-Gen. Popovkin said: “It’s necessary to legalize the game rules in space.” Russia wants to somehow convince the U.S. to let it off the hook so it doesn’t have to enter such a race, and it’s getting desperate.
But Russia’s provocative, anti-American actions are so many and ham-handed and crude, it’s going to be pretty difficult for Russia to convince even a stupid American president that it has benign in intentions after it supplied nuclear technology to the fanatically anti-American dictator of Iran, missiles to defend the technology from Western attack, and U.N. security counsel vetoes to block Western economic sanctions. After it dumped huge quantities of assault rifles and attack planes on the equally crazed anti-American despot in Venezuela. After it supplied money and diplomatic cover to the terrorist regimes of Hamas and Hezbollah. After Putin himself routinely comes out with hostile anti-American rhetorical blasts from the past. And when one remembers that Putin himself is a proud KGB spy who is utterly gutting American values from Russian society. How anyone could possibly look at all that and then do anything other than scoff at Russian claims of benign attitude is incomprehensible. Russian hatred for America seeps out of its pores.
In short, Mr. Putin, fool us once, shame on you, fool us twice, shame on U.S.! Just now, you’re waking up to the actual reality of renewed military provocation of the world’s most powerful country, waking up from the reverie of your hatred-fueled fantasies induced by the total lack of any form of real information, much less debate, in the country whose journalists you’ve killed, whose TV stations you’ve taken over, and whose opposition political parties you’ve destroyed — just like in the USSR. You’ve convinced yourself, just as your Soviet predecessors did, that we in the West are so “inferior” to your Slavic super race that you can spew out any kind of ridiculous lie and we’ll swallow it whole.
It’s not going to happen.