Judging by the intensity of Russia's constant opposition to US missile defenses in Europe, one might think that the very survival of the nation is in danger. In reality, though, the opposite is true: The battle over missile defense is so fierce because the stakes are so low. In terms of an actual impact on Russia's security, US defense is largely irrelevant. The intensity of Russia's opposition to the missile defense plans owes more to its internal political circumstances than to anything else -- which is why the current controversy is so persistent despite efforts to resolve it. It is time to acknowledge this and to recognize that, as far as US-Russian relations are concerned, disagreement over missile defense is just an overblown distraction.