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Missile Defense: The Russian Reaction

The row over U.S. intentions to deploy elements of its missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic has the potential of bringing U.S.-Russian relations--not to mention bilateral arms control--to a new low. Russia has disapproved of the scheme ever since the United States first went public with the system about two years ago. But despite sounding angry, Russia remained calm, arguing that it already possessed the technology to deal with the interceptors the United States planned to place in Eastern Europe.

Recently, however, Moscow decided to up the ante. Clearly inspired by the assertive and rather confrontational presentation given by President Vladimir Putin at a conference in Munich on February 10, Russian generals started painting a picture of a much harsher response to the possible deployment.