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U.S. Missile Defense Against Iran Makes China/Russia Mad, Might Not Even Work 408

Posted by Soulskill
from the do-we-blame-george-lucas-for-this dept.
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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U.S. Missile Defense Against Iran Makes China/Russia Mad, Might Not Even Work

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  • Quite the opposite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hentes (2461350) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @05:24PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kreigaffe (765218)

      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 aggr

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>> 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Baloroth (2370816)

          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

          • by nedlohs (1335013)

            A missile shield just means you need to buy more missiles in order to overwhelm it. Hardly a bad thing for the sellers of missiles.

        • by Kreigaffe (765218)

          That just means Russia doesn't 100% trust the people they're selling their military hardware to. You must've missed the point. If I sell you a bat, you might value that bat, but if someone sells the guy you want to hit with that bat an anti-bat shield.. well, you'd probably not be interested in my bat very much anymore, and I've got a BUNCH of bats and NOT a lot of money. You see the problem now, right.

      • by Pieroxy (222434)

        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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        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 s

      • by demachina (71715) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @06:12PM (#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.

        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          Obama is a neocon (just in case you hadn't noticed). He loves war just as much as the last guy.

    • by chispito (1870390)
      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.
      • by Hentes (2461350)

        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

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PickyH3D (680158)

      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 frequen

      • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @05:55PM (#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.

        • by PickyH3D (680158)

          Just to avoid you jumping on any particular news group:

          http://letmegooglethat4u.com/?q=Khamenei+february+3 [letmegooglethat4u.com]

          Just to be clear: only an absolute moron believes the Iranian government. From stealing their election from the people by stuffing the ballot box, to calling for the destruction of both Israel and the United States, to denying the existence of the Holocaust, to denying the existence of gays in Iran: Iranian leaders are on the wrong side of every single issue. As a nation that literally sponsors terroris

    • 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.

    • by lahvak (69490)

      The problem is that it does not make Russia mad. The problem is that it makes Russia, or at least some Russians, very happy. Russian leaders have been spinning it as an attack on Russia by the evil west. Russian military have been using it as an excuse to ramp up military spending. And Russian defense industry uses it to justify producing more and more nukes and conventional weapons. They know very well that we are not going to nuke them, and that any talk about nuclear balance is really just a nonsense

      • by Hentes (2461350)

        The Russian defence industry is very different from the American one. Russia have lost the last weapons race, and wouldn't have better chances in a new one. They make plenty of money from selling weapons, stockpiling it would cause them a huge loss. The Russians wouldn't want a weapons race unless they feel that it's necessary.

  • by g0bshiTe (596213)
    Considering the government has to spend my tax dollars frivolously, hell look at the bank bailouts.
  • (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?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @05:30PM (#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. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @05:32PM (#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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jjohnson (62583)

      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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by obi1one (524241)
      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
    • by f3rret (1776822)

      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. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @06:03PM (#39419909) Homepage

      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.

      • by mosb1000 (710161)

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

        • by russotto (537200)

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

          Here's a way:

          "Someone" fires an apparently crappy-ass nuclear missile from a submarine in the Persian Gulf. The submarine is pursued and destroyed by the US Navy. It goes off somewhere relatively unimportant in Israel. All signs point to Iran, or so they say, and Israel goes nuclear on Iran.

          Only thing is, the original sub was CIA.

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

      • by TheCarp (96830)

        Might be cheaper too if we had them build it... why not? If it ever gets used, it already failed miserably. May as well not work as work.

    • by kandresen (712861)

      > 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?

      I believe you are completely missing the point here... Try imagining it the opposite way for a second: China and Russia is setting up an missil shield that US cannot penetrarte - all to protect their own citizens in

      • by mosb1000 (710161)

        I doubt the US would rush out and start building a bunch on new missiles if Russia or China were to build a missile defense. We might build a missile defense for ourselves though. The cold war is over. That kind of insane thinking doesn't dominate politics these days.

    • by mellon (7048)

      Missile defense systems are actually offensive weapons, because they enable the country that operates them to engage in a first strike without fear of reprisal.

      Of course, all of this is extremely hypothetical: the ROI on a first strike is so far in the negative that you'd need a telescope to see the bottom of the pit. Nobody benefits from a first strike. Not even Iran.

      What this is really about is what every other military boondoggle is about: money for the military-industrial complex. Missile defense

  • Three probs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @05:35PM (#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.

    • > 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...
      This part of your post is inaccurate and I hope to correct your understanding here. The Standard Missile is not usually intended for defending against tactical missiles. The Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) is. The RAM is preferred over the Gatekeeper/CIWS gattling type systems since the RAM has
    • Disclaimer: I've spent thirty odd years studying nuclear and strategic technologies and related issues.

      "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 bein

  • About Russia... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @05:36PM (#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: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by petsounds (593538) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @05:38PM (#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.

  • Boromir's answer -

    One does not simply stop the "Star Wars"

  • 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.

  • by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Tuesday March 20, 2012 @06:02PM (#39419891) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • Ok. If they don't work, then why is Russia/China so concerned about them to the point of increasing their Missile arsenal?

      There has to be something there if those countries want to invest billions/trillions of their respective currencies in weapon systems that will most likely never see war and would just eat more money they could be investing in other systems, say a Competing missile defense system that has the potential of saving lives vs an missile offensive system which does nothing but kill lives.

  • As usually, the Slashdot editors have missed trivial fact checking. The summary states that Iran does not have nukes or the missiles to carry them. The first part of this is true (for the next year or two) but the second is not. Even a casual Google search brings up a wealth of links detailing Iran's ballistic missile program.

    For example:

    • http://www.iranwatch.org/wmd/wmd-iranmissileessay.htm
    • http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/39332.pdf
    • http://iranprimer.usip.org/resource/irans-ballistic-missile
  • It will "work" as in provide money to line the pockets of all the contractors. And the contractors do the same for the politicians....so it definitely "works" already.

    However to "not work" it would have to fail. For that to happen, it would actually have to miss a missle.... which would require one be actually fired. So its unlikely to work unless the politicians here are so fucking stupid.....fuck....

  • Does this mean it is now politically incorrect to celebrate Yuri's Night in USA? So far, in SF bay area there is not much scheduled. I miss all the wild and zany people at YNBA held at Ames Research Center.
  • Is this all worth it for something that might not even work?"

    Short answer: YES!
    Longer answer: HELL YES!

Nothing is more admirable than the fortitude with which millionaires tolerate the disadvantages of their wealth. -- Nero Wolfe

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