What. Both sides have ample surveillance systems and methods to see what the other is doing, be they land, air, or space-based. Plus, we can do fun things like this with space-based assets: http://www.mda.mil/news/13news0002.html
If the radar coverage was sufficient then why does the ABM system need a new set of radars?
The number is certainly relevant when the systems are silo-based. If we say 10 silos and put in 10 silos, you're damn sure going to notice if we decide to start dropping fifty more holes in the ground. Except you won't notice holes in the ground, I forgot...because the GMD system is not deploying in Europe. Just AEGIS Ashore, which isn't going to kill an ICBM in its current iteration. PAA-IV proposed for 2021 may give it actual ABM capability, but that's 1) not even tested, yet alone ready for deployment, and 2) not even guaranteed (it might've been cancelled?).
That is OK because the Russians haven't withdrawn from the INF treaty either it is only planned and might be cancelled too.
The point is that the future plans for the system show a growth toward a system capability that will become something that needs to be countered by the Russians if they want to retain deterrence.
Right now it is no threat at all, but future plans and changes could make it a real problem so the Russians are doing you the courtesy of telling you now what the effect of your progress and development will be.
The US claims its goals are security and peace and yet if Russia is forced to developed IRBMs and build more missiles to assure its safety then the reverse of those goals will actually be achieved.
The fact that the US will go ahead with its plans just shows its stated goals are a ruse and its real goals are simply to move US bases in Europe east out of old europe and into new europe closer to Russian borders.
I'd argue that neither side needs to worry. I'm not sold on Postol's calculations either, I don't think the Topols from Western Russia are anywhere near as "vulnerable" as he wants the world to think. At any rate, they've got the range to shoot the western ones on eastbound trajectories, and the eastern ones on western trajectories, making the whole argument pointless before you even factor in SLBMs.
You aren't getting it... noone will know 100% whether these ABMs are effective or not till they are used and by then it is too late, it will mean little to the Russians if every one of their missiles gets through in a war started by a US leader who thinks they are safe behind an ABM system that is fundamentally flawed.
The Russians aren't after the capability to destroy the west, they are after the capability to deter the west from attacking them in the first place. Being able to destroy the west does not mean Russia will survive... on the contrary they know both sides will suffer horrendously... do you think they don't know what it is like to suffer in war?
A US ABM system will directly result in no further nuclear weapon reductions by Russia... theatre or strategic.
Ask most westerners about Scud and they think the Patriot defeated it... we know better, but that doesn't matter.
After decades of building it do you think the politicians are going to be honest about the performance of the ABM system to the people who will likely spend trillions on it?
Do I think the Iranian threat was over-hyped to get systems built in Europe? Yes, although I do buy that they were basically playing preventative defense.
Preventative defence was Germanys' attack on Europe and Japans attack on Pearl Harbour. Spending trillions making an ABM system for a threat that might happen is delusional... if you want to kill someone and they buy a brand new state of the art bullet proof vest that will stop any known projectile... you set them on fire. Money well spent on that vest BTW.
Do I think the most current idea they had for Europe had any sort of realistic impact on the Russian nuclear deterrent? No. Not even PAA-IV. PAA-IV integrated with the at-sea AEGIS BMD though, that'd be a far, FAR different equation.
It doesn't matter what you or I think... it just takes one idiot to get into office in the US (and you seem to have a queue of those
) to think an ABM system will do what it says on the box and we can escalate anything to any level because we are safe... take the BMs out of the equation and our uber stealth fighters should be able to take on 16 Blackjacks and some WWII bombers.
Maybe this really is related to the INF/CFE treaties, but not in the assumed context. Maybe the US wanted an ATBM complex in Europe all along, believing that Russia would drop INF since we dropped the ABM treaty, and doing it in this fashion allowed it to basically preempt Russia's INF withdrawal by getting a potential countermeasure for future SRBM/MRBM systems in place.
Except that if they had stayed in the ABM treaty then they could not build ABM systems in Europe or on their AEGIS cruisers so the Russians would not have any reason to want IRBMs... ICBMs on very high trajectories can still do the job of hitting targets at intermediate ranges... even if smaller shorter range weapons can do it cheaper and more efficiently.