Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Star Wars, starry dreams

RS-24 missile (Photo: GlobalSecurity.org)


While we're all waiting breathlessly to hear the fate of Paris Hilton and her looming jail sentence ... the Russians claim they've successfully tested a rocket that is designed to avoid the Star Wars anti-missile shield: Russland testet neue Super-Rakete Der Spiegel Online 29.05.07; RS-24 / SS-X-29? GlobalSecurity.org 05/29/07; New Missile Successfully Test-Fired by Simon Saradzhyan Moscow Times 05/30/07 [The Moscow Times is owned by the state energy firm Gasprom].

That means that even though the Star Wars system still doesn't work, the Russians claim they have come up with an effective counter-measure in the case that after we sink more tens of billions of dollars into the thing, it actually gets to the point it might intercept an ICBM or two. According to the Russian government claim quoted by the Moscow Times, "The multiwarhead missile will be able to overcome any missile defense shield and will serve as the main land component of the country's strategic nuclear triad until the middle of this century, the statement said."

Which has always been the basic problem with the Star Wars concept. The shield, to the extent it's even technically feasible - something yet to be demonstrated in the real world - would be incredibly expensive, while counter-measures are not only technologically less challenging, but also cheaper. Cheaper by several orders of magnitude, in all liklihood.

And, of course, the whole thing means a spiraling nuclear arms race and more uncertainty, not less.

Somebody remind me again, just why is this supposed to be a good idea?



ereading7 said...

Gee, are the repubs getting some help on their fear mongering?  So they can waste yet more money we don't have on arms related development?

bmiller224 said...

Yeah, that seems to be what's happening.  If the President beats his chest and blusters and dares others to "brang 'em on" if they don't like what we're doing, after a while they start branging 'em on.  Which means we have an escalation threat to meet, which means...

But you get the drift.