Russia, too, has warned that U.S. deployment of a missile defense system is unacceptable, and that Moscow won't renegotiate the 1972 Antiballistic Missile Treaty, which forbids the deployment of further defensive systems by either side. While China is concerned that even the proposed 100 interceptor missiles based in Alaska would neutralize its nuclear capability, Russia fears that even though its existing fleet could easily overwhelm the initial deployment, this would simply be a stage toward developing the full-blown nuclear umbrella proposed by President Reagan during the "Star Wars" years.
And, indeed, that's the way many conservative Republicans see it, too. Both Moscow and Beijing have warned that their primary response to the proposed shield against "rogue" missiles will be to expand their own missile fleets, and they've also got their scientists huddling together to figure out ways of beating the U.S. interceptor system (which, by all accounts, isn't exactly difficult right now, since the system has yet to prove itself able to trump even the most basic decoys and countermeasures used by an incoming missile). But, of course, the fact that a U.S. plan to build a limited shield has the Russians threatening to build new missiles also has Washington's European allies complaining that while they won't be covered by the shield, they're every bit as vulnerable to a new generation of Russian missiles. All this over an interceptor system whose performance in tests leaves many scientists unconvinced that it's more than simply hypothetical.