In the 1980's the US Department of Defense, under president Reagan, launched the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), more commonly known as Star Wars. The goal was to set up a defense against (nuclear) missiles based on directed energy weapons, for example lasers. The term Star Wars also refers to the ambition to have it based in space or at least high up in the sky. This programme was however ridiculously expensive and never finalised, in 1993 it was abandoned. Today there are ground-based anti-missile missiles in use. The US has such installations in Europe, which has angered their former Cold war enemy Russia. It has been considered a shift in the power balance. Now discussions are underway to expand this programme and cooperation between Europe and the US is set to increase. These deepened ties are somehow considered a threat by Russia, in the sense that Europe is clearly deepening its ties with USA and in doing so alienating Russia.
Showing that this is not primarily a guard against Russia, NATO has now invited Russian leaders to talks about cooperation and some believe Russia may also be included in the missile shield. However, the Russian people seem to be reluctant to cooperate with NATO, their former enemy. This cooperation seem a bit doubtful in days where Russian nationalism is growing and the leading team with Medvedev and Putin turn away from democracy and seem determined to regain the old glory, in various ways.
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