August 12, 2022

Russia and Iran Threats Put Missile Defense Back on the Agenda

Featuring Jim Townsend

Source: Foreign Policy

Journalist Azriel Bermant

In much of the West, Putin’s rhetoric on missile defense is dismissed as paranoia. According to Burns, “For many in Russia, especially in Putin’s orbit of security and intelligence hardliners, you could build a Disney theme park in Poland and they would find it faintly threatening.” Jim Townsend, a former U.S. Defense Department official and now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, maintains that the NATO system is designed to deal with a small number of potential Iranian weapons, not to address Russia’s much more potent missile threat. A massive investment in new sites would be required to handle Russia’s stockpile of missiles. Although Poland and other Eastern European countries would support a change in NATO’s posture, any plan to reorient missile defense toward Russia would not obtain a consensus among the bloc’s other members. Even after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, there would be blowback if any reorientation of missile defense were attempted.

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Authors

  • Jim Townsend

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Program

    James Joye Townsend Jr. is an adjunct senior fellow in the CNAS Transatlantic Security Program. After eight years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for European ...