Thursday, December 10, 2009

Russia fires missile over Norway in advance of Obama's arrival

Prior to President Obama's arrival in Oslo where he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, Norwegians were treated to an unexpected light show in the evening sky.  Tommy De Seno at Fox News has the best description I have found:

Just prior to President Obama’s arrival in Oslo to accept the Nobel Prize, millions of Norwegians were captivated by an unexplained spiraling halo in the sky. While the president’s most fanatical supporters will herald the light as a messianic celestial event comparable to the star of Bethlehem, his detractors will be equally sure that it is the beginning of the apocalyptic black hole the next three years of Obama’s presidency are sure to bring.

Some scientists are beginning to assure us that the light was generated by a wayward Russian missile -- as if wayward Russian missiles are reassuring.
From the Associated Press:

The failure of a new Russian intercontinental ballistic missile during testing was the cause of spectacular spiraling blue lights in the skies over northern Norway, analysts said Thursday.

Russia's defense ministry said a Bulava missile was launched Wednesday by a nuclear submarine submerged in the White Sea and its third stage suffered an unspecified failure.

Photographs and amateur video footage of the bluish-white in the Norwegian skies have been circulating on the Internet since Wednesday. The ministry did not confirm that these lights were the result of the failed launch but military analysts said the lights were clearly a result from explosion of the Bulava.

This kind of light show comes from a failed missile launch," said Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent military analyst. "Russia has run free fireworks for the Norwegians." [snip]
The missile was fired from the new nuclear-powered submarine, launched earlier this year and undergoing sea trials. Two more subs are being built and the construction of the fourth will start soon.
The new submarines would replace the aging Soviet-era ones, which are approaching the end of their lifetime. The old submarines carry the Sineva missile, which are too big and too heavy for the new type of submarines.
The Russians are developing and testing new intercontinental ballistic missiles and building new nuclear-powered submarines, while the U.S. nuclear weapons program is practically in mothballs.  Baker Spring at the Heritage Foundation writes in a recent webmemo:

That the U.S. nuclear force and its supporting infrastructure are declining is beyond dispute. The following are just several of the many observations regarding the current state of the nuclear posture made by the Strategic Posture Commission in its May 6 report:
•"The infrastructure that supports two-thirds of the strategic deterrent triad -- the SLBMs [submarine-launched ballistic missiles] and the ICBMs [intercontinental ballistic missiles] -- is not being sustained";

•"The process of remanufacturing [nuclear weapons] now underway introduces some uncertainty about the expected operational reliability of the weapons";

•"The physical infrastructure [of the nuclear weapons complex] is in serious need of transformation";

•"The intellectual infrastructure [behind the nuclear weapons complex] is also in serious trouble."
In September, President Obama extended an open hand to Russia when he announced the cancellation of the Eastern Europe-based missile defense program on the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland.  In return, the Russians have conducted a nuclear missile test over the skies of Norway within hours of the Obama's arrival in Oslo.  If this is not a diplomatic slap in the face, I don't know what is.

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