United States pushes around in Europe

A proposed defense system has Russia and the United States fighting with gusto.

Apparently, the United States and Russia were never informed that the Cold War ended. In an ongoing international, awkward moment, Russia has confronted the United States on its plans for a missile defense system based in Europe, and the United States is ignoring its old foe and pushing forward.

Russia has accused the United States of building the defense system to block Russian missiles, showing tremendous paranoia and almost a nostalgia for a U.S.-Russian arms race. The extensive missile shield would have infrastructure installed in England, Poland and the Czech Republic, but the United States claims it is an essential operation to block ballistic missiles from the Middle East.

Russia’s accusations are unfounded and unusual, but they are not unjustified. It is unclear why the United States has such urgency to place its new defense system, especially considering that Iran lacks the capability to launch missiles that would directly threaten North America.

Regardless, Russia has chosen a bullying strategy of its own. Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have voiced their distrust of the United States’ intents and announced threats to bolster their own offensive missiles, and launch military strikes against the defense system.

The United States has a less than admirable recent history with international policy and needs to slow things down in the former Soviet Bloc. Poland has already started to shy away from the proposal. A former Polish defense minister cited the United States’ involvement in Iraq as contributing to Polish uncertainty about the missile defense system.

Russia technically doesn’t need to be consulted for this type of operation, but when the international community is so tense about the United States’ overseas actions, it can’t hurt to tread carefully.

At this point, it would be unwise for the United States to weaken itself by pleading the Russians for permission – but in the future, a little more tact and diplomacy would be appreciated worldwide.