Friday, June 08, 2007


Putin may be an autocratic power-grabbing guy, but he is impressive.

As he spoke, a man threw a handful of leaflets into the air, momentarily disrupting the briefing.

"Outstanding. Well done," Putin said to him in Russian. And then, German: "Young man, give me what you're throwing."

"Now leave us in peace and give us time to answer," he said in German.
I wish I spoke (at least) three languages.

As for his counterproposal to the US missile shield in Poland:

On the surface, though, it appears to me that his offer to put move the shield to Azerbaijan is somewhat disingenuous as that country is heavily Islamic and directly adjacent to Iran. We already have military potential in Afghanistan and Iraq; why would we need a third adjacent country to operate from?

This is all diplomatic posturing in a continuing attempt for Putin to guarantee Russia's importance on the world stage. Also, our putting a shield in Poland ostensibly reduces Russia's ability to attack Europe, if you assume that we'd shoot down their missiles if they weren't aimed at us.

Steveegg also suggests that our missile defense shield is not designed to get the missiles during the boost phase, but later when they're closer to apogee.

I don’t believe the plan for Europe involved engagement of the missiles in the boost phase, so Azerbaijan (or Armenia or Georgia, if Putin were interested in having it in a semi-secure country) wouldn’t be a particularily-good place to put it. OTOH, the airborne laser would work great there, because that is designed for boost-phase engagements.

This would make an otherwise reasonable proposal (closer is better, nyet?) not so good.