America wants to use policy — talks on missile defense cooperation — to make Russia feel better about the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA). But the Russians, who say they think EPAA threatens their ICBMs and thus creates all sorts of arms control problems. say technology — not policy — is the problem.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has continually insisted on legally binding guarantees that US missile defenses are not aimed at it and that would allow Russia access to sensitive aspects of the system. Russia has also threatened to deploy a range of countermeasures against NATO’s missile defenses, including tactical nuclear missile deployment in Kaliningrad and improvements to its strategic nuclear missile arsenal to make it capable of evading missile defense. Whether EPAA is aimed at Russia or technically capable of even potentially intercepting Russian missiles, however, are very different considerations. But the Russians seem to ignore that simple truth that the technology is limited by physics and engineering, not political considerations.
Ironically, moving the technology further away from Russian borders could increase the potential for its successful use against Russian missiles. So, whether or not Russian technical concerns could ever really be assuaged must be questioned.