Of the many moves by NATO to increase their military presence in Eastern Europe, none has been so onerous to Russia as the European missile defense system. Late this week, NATO is making some significant moves in that regard.
Thursday, the system officially went online with the opening of a base in Romania. One day later, ground will be broken on a major additional base in Poland, which will also hold significant missile defense assets.
Though throughout its construction the defense system was repeatedly claimed to have nothing to do with Russia, despite being built overwhelmingly on the Russian frontier, US officials are now openly talking up the “robust display of military power” the system represents as explicitly targeted at Russia.
The missile defense system threatens to at least somewhat reduce the effectiveness of Russia’s nuclear deterrent, though likely only a small amount. Russia sees this as further weakening their general position in the region, as previous nuclear deals designed to assure relative parity were made before NATO absorbed much of Russia’s former alliance, the Warsaw Pact.