And Obama is helping him right along. Golts makes clear that the present U.S. shield capacity does not even threaten Russia:
It is a purely political story. The American strategic missile-defense system cannot now or in the foreseeable future threaten Russia’s nuclear potential. At present, the Americans have deployed about 50 missile interceptors that could — and many experts doubt this — potentially intercept five to 10 warheads. Russia will have more than 1,500 nuclear warheads. So we are talking about a political game.
Yet, Putin believes he can manipulate Obama into abandoning the possibility to expand shield technology and thus save Russia from the disastrous “Star Wars” arms race instigated by Reagan that ultimately brought down the USSR without a shot being fired.
And there is more. Russia is building a natural gas pipeline called Nord Stream whose purpose, according to Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, a former foreign minister of Denmark, is “to enable Russia to interrupt gas supplies to EU member countries like Poland, the Baltic states and Ukraine, while keeping its German and other West European customers snug and warm.” Once this maneuver has been completed, Russia will have a choke hold on the entire former Soviet space, from Georgia to Lithuania, and will be able to combine military and energy threats to force this territory back under the Russian jackboot.
Putin has no reason to believe Obama will ever take a stand on any issue. He has no reason to believe he has anything but a free hand to lay waste in former Soviet space while imposing a final crackdown on civil society within Russia itself (Putin is moving aggressively to cut his nation off from Internet access and will likely soon return to formal power as some type of “president for life”). And once Putin has consolidated his malignant regime in a neo-Soviet state, assuming oil prices remain high he will be able to fund a new cold war against the democracies of the West.
It’s not hard to imagine that Obama, like Chamberlain at Munich or FDR at Yalta, genuinely believed that the force of his personality and his good intentions would cause Russia to respond to unilateral concession in the spirit of brotherhood with concessions of its own.
One wonders if Obama has any understanding at all of what it means to be a career KGB man like Putin, spending decades marinating in the acid of anti-American hatred. From all appearances, Obama knows nothing about the string of political murders that have shadowed Putin from his first days in the Kremlin, including most recently the attorney Sergei Magnitsky.
And that means big trouble for democracy and freedom, and for American national security.