US May Deploy Patriot Missile Battery To Baltic Region, Argues Its Defensive Step

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US May Deploy Patriot Missile Battery To Baltic Region, Argues Its Defensive Step

A US soldier stands in front of a Patriot missile system at a Turkish military base in Gaziantep on February 5, 2013. Source: AFP 2017/ BULENT KILIC

The US military may deploy a long-range Patriot missile battery to the Baltic region later this year as part of a military exercise close to the Russian border.

“We are here in a purely defensive stance. Everyone knows this is not an offensive capability. For anyone who says otherwise, I would just say I have too much respect for the Russian army to think that they actually believe there’s any offensive capability,” US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis commented on the issue but declined to confirm the specific deployment.

According to US officials, the Patriot surface-to-air missile system could be deployed in the region during the July air defense exercise set to be held there.

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  • chris chuba

    So then Russia can keep mine laying ships deployed in the English Channel and North Sea arguing that this is strictly a defensive weapons system.

    And this is how the arms race continues. It started with a NATO building up military forces on Russia’s borders and European logistics in an overreaction to Crimean reunification with the Russian Federation, the gift that keeps on giving. It justifies all future NATO actions.

  • John Mason

    This is going too far, why Russia never told them to back off or else is a mystery. Give the US/NATO 2 days to retreat 500km west or they will be attacked. Bet they will retreat.

    • Barba_Papa

      If the Baltic countries want the US to deploy a Patriot battery, on their own land, they have every right to do so. That comes as part of being an independent nation state. And there’s nothing Russia can do about other then either commit an act of war or use harsh language.

      The same applies in reverse also. If Russia wants to deploy S-400 batteries along the Baltics and in Kaliningrad, or even tac nukes, they have every right to deploy whatever the fuck they want on their own territory. Seems fair, right?

      • John Mason

        No and Wrong. Those weapons stationed at the Baltic states do not belong to them but the US. Russia owns their own weapons and does not place them on their CSTO members. Recall Cuba?

        • cortisol

          Yes, and Nato has the ability to override Baltic states national sovereignty regarding the use of territory and military assets. In other words there is no Estonia or Latvia, only Nato, which has publicly declared Russia as an enemy. Russia has not declared Nato as an enemy. So who would potentially be the attacker is quite clear.

      • DJ Double D

        What about US reaction to the Cuban Missiles? What about NATO and EU reactions to Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad?

        • Barba_Papa

          Equally hysteric and illegitimate. Like I said, their territory, they can do whatever they want. The USSR had the permission of the Cuban government. Which was no more different then the US placing missiles in Europe at the time.

      • JPH

        No it ain’t. The US has been trying to create a “First Strike Capability” as defined under MAD as the possibility to launch an attack ans survive the counterattack by downing those Russian missiles. So you “defensive” system actually destroys the nuclear balance and facilitates such “First Strike Capability”.
        That’s why the US retracted from the 1972 ABM treaty in 2002. That’s also why Putin for instance objected to placing ABM systems in Eastern Europe under the idiot pretext to defend ‘against Iranian missiles’. The US is now stationing Aegis on Shore in Romania and Poland. Destroyers like the Cook (ABM capable) are present in the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea.
        So your line of reasoning falls short. Do realize that such ABM capability aimed at intercept during boost or coast phase before MIRV bus separation would be five to ten times as effective as trying to intercept during the terminal phase. As such ABMs are terribly destabilizing and greatly increasing the risk of nuclear war. Even during the heights of the cold war that fact was recognized by both parties.

        • Jesus

          Present day NATO ABM capability is outside of the range of Russian ICBM sites. SS18 has enough range to be programmed to fly on trajectories avoiding the ABM sites. The new Sarmat can be given a trajectory to fly over the South Pole and attack US from every conceivable direction.

          These ABM platforms are succeptible to destruction from missile attacks prior to a first strike attempt. BTW the US first strike capability will be attempted with Trident warheads launched from submarines in N. Atlantic.

          • JPH

            Sarmat was developed in response to the US effort to achieve a “First Strike Capability”. To avoid being forced to develop systems like Sarmat Putin during the 43rd Munich Security conference in 2007 made it abundantly clear that Russia was not deluded on US intentions. In order to avoid precisely such wasting of money on both sides the 1972 ABM treaty was developed and signed. Putin tried to appeal to US sanity, but alas no such sanity had found a place in the US mindset of hegemony.

            So Sarmat wasted the whole US effort indeed. But still such ‘defensive’ capability facilitating an offense by mitigating the inevitable response is destabilizing and as such completely irresponsible. Also placing it so close to the Russian border was identified by Russia as a Cuba crises level provocation and now the US starts whining when they get buzzed in Black Sea waters or in the Baltic. Idiots.

          • Jesus

            It would be hard to be a hegemon without proper weaponry, 100 ktns warheads with super fuses is wishful thinking considering available Russian air defenses can shoot down MIRV warheads.
            Saramat was the next logical upgrade of SS-18, it can pack a powerful punch to be a first strike weapon using conventional or nuclear weapons.
            The Cuban crisis involved deploying offensive weapons in Cuba, while the ABM sites are supposed to be defensive, with the possibility of using the same launcher for Tomahak GLCM?

        • Barba_Papa

          I’m not denying that the US has and seeks to deploy such capabilities. But the point remains that the Baltic governments have legitimate given the US permission to do so. And while you can huff and puff about the injustice, only by shrewd diplomacy or force of arms can you force another nation to do your bidding. And Russia persuing a military solution is both against international law, it’s also not smart as the US is a superpower, whereas Russia is only a great power.

          So shrewd diplomacy better be it. Or develop similar military capability so the advantage becomes moot again.

          • Solomon Krupacek

            no! there are international agreementas about numbers of weapons, some limits.

          • JPH

            “Russia persuing a military solution” What do you mean with that statement?

      • spanner48

        Well: yes and no. Each country has the RIGHT. But, as we realised after the Cuban Missile Crisis, it is wiser to hold offensive nuclear weapons well back from front lines, so that the temptation to “use them or lose them” is reduced.

        Remember those cheery Cold War decades [1955-85] when the US forces in Germany had jeep-mounted Honest John rockets with a 20 kiloton nuclear warhead and a 15 mile range, right in front of the East German border?

    • Jesus

      The Patriot is an inferior system, and the allied batalions deployed in the Baltic states are a token symbol of NATO presence in the area, there is nothing to get excited about. NATO forces in the Baltic could be quickly defeated by a Russian attack.

      • cortisol

        Yeah, I don’t think Russians really care about a few posturing battalions or obsolete F-35 fighters other than as public PR. What they care about is the system called Thaad sitting in Poland and Romania, presented as ABM, also known to vertically launch cruise missiles, almost certainly deployed with the intention of trying to hit missile silos and give much less time to react than otherwise there would be. Anyway we will get a new longer range Iskander soon as counter. Also the reports about US deploying nukes in Poland and Estonia is worrying, or at least preliminary training of their pilots to drop them which almost certainly means eventual deployment.

        • Jesus

          The THAAD is an anti missiles system intended to to intercept missiles in various stages of flight, currently the THAAD in Poland and Romania does not have the range to reach missiles silos deep in Russia. Russian ICBMs could be fired and have flight trajectories bypassing or totally avoiding the THAAD or Aegis systems.

          • cortisol

            According to the RT article Thaad uses almost the same launch system as US navy to launch cruise missiles. That’s why I assume it’s then possible to shoot cruise missiles from them. Tomahawk range could easily reach silos in Tatischevo, Teykovo (700-800 miles) or even heavy missile sites in Dombarovsky (~1300 miles) from East Poland or Romania. I don’t know if it’s true or not but Putin in 2015-2016 marked it as a threat so it is apparently perceived as one.

            https://www.rt.com/news/342812-abm-europe-russia-threat/

    • Thegr8rambino

      That is exactly what I was thinking Putin should tell them! Like years ago!!! “withdraw all your forces within x amount of time or I will begin targeting all nearby NATO bases”

  • cortisol

    Offensive and defensive are two sides on the same coin. Defensive increases offensive capability by reducing enemy ability to destroy the defendors offensive capability. This is basic knowledge to anyone including Jim Mattis.

  • Alex Black

    No problem, well within the range of the iskander.

  • Solomon Krupacek

    ayyayy, now is problem, that jeltsin destroyed the friendship with cuba.

  • jim crowland

    Thank you Mr president and the Western Democracies. Anything to deter outrageous fantasies of the Russian Madman. (Sorry I know this is a Pro Russian site but it is suppose to be of “free speech”. Now please proceed with the usual insults)

    • chris chuba

      There are less confrontational ways to deter a theoretical invasion of the Baltics that do not require advanced deployment of weapons.

      1. Let Russia know that an invasion of the Baltics will result in the loss of their NG market in western Europe. This can be replaced by LNG imports from the U.S. and M.E. Sure, the Europeans would have to pay 2x or 3x the going rate for natural gas but hey, these are our NATO allies and that’s what you do for them.

      2. Let Russia know that their maritime transport is now in danger of being attacked. Russia would be at a disadvantage not being able to traverse the Atlantic or Pacific ocean in peace.
      These steps would only be taken in the event of a Russian invasion of the Baltics. The Russian populace would not be willing to endure hardship for an invasion but shoving military up their nose like we are doing now is a different story.