Invasion could speed up missile defense plans
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. outrage over Russia’s invasion of Georgia could prompt Congress to speed up plans for a missile defense system in eastern Europe.
As missile defense proponents push congressional Democrats to drop funding restrictions, however, they appear to be bolstering an argument made repeatedly by Moscow and rejected by Washington: that the true target of the system is Russia.
Russia has long been angered by U.S. plans to deploy 10 interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic. Russia says interceptors will target Russian missiles; the United States denies this, saying the system is aimed at countering threats from Iran and North Korea.
After agreeing with the Czech Republic in April, the Bush administration faced hurdles to deploying the system. Negotiations with Poland had bogged down, and the Democratic-led Congress probably would require more testing for the interceptors before they could be deployed.
After Russian troops entered Georgia this month, Polish and U.S. negotiators quickly resolved their differences. The two countries signed an agreement Wednesday.