Sunday, April 29, 2007

U.S. Missile Defense Plan Is Damaging International Security

A Proposed U.S. Missile Defense Plan for Europe is Already Damaging International Security and Stability. Relations With Russia Are Being Set Back By Decades.

"The U.S. Is Raising the Risk of Mutual Destruction"-- Russian Pres. Vladamir Putin

A proposed U.S. missile defense system for Europe is already causing international instability. Relations between Russia and Europe have reached their lowest point since the demise of the Soviet Union.

At a time when the U.S. can least afford a new diplomatic crisis, the neo-cons have created yet another problem for the country. The Bush administration (without the knowledge of the American people and with no debate), has plans to put a missile defense system, including an early warning radar system, in Eastern Europe. Such a move is very likely to trigger a new arms race and has set back U.S.- Russia relations by 20 years.

The plan calls for interceptor missiles to be hosted by Poland and the Czech Republic. However, there is no good reason for such a system. Any benefits are far outweighed by the consequences. Russia has already stated that it will counter this move. Russian President Putin has announced that Russia may no longer honor a long standing European Security Treaty, called the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty or CFE treaty. The treaty is one of the bedrocks of European stability. The treaty limits the number of troops and the amount (and type) of weapons that can be deployed in the border areas between Russia and Eastern Europe. The treaty basically created a large demilitarized zone, and was designed to prevent arms races, and accidental military clashes.

This move by Russia (to possibly pull out of the CFE treaty) will likely pave the way for a Russian military build-up of some kind in Europe, which could include the deployment of nuclear weapons. Of Course the U.S. and NATO may respond...and then there could be a tit for tat situation that spirals almost out of control.

The U.S. claims that the system is not aimed at Russia, however, there is no other logical explanation for it. No other nation would require this kind of U.S. Plan. Iran does not pose such a threat at the moment. And even if it did, the U.S. has other options, such as mobile naval based TMD systems and other systems that could deal with such a threat.

This U.S. initiative is reckless and is already having a negative impact on international security. It is another example of Bush administration incompetence on the world stage. Luckily there are several European governments that are weary about the U.S. and its anti-missile plan. They are not enthusiastic about a new arms race and instability on their continent. Hopefully these countries will be able to kill this deal before it kills us. This plan does nothing to increase our security.

For Russia, this is yet another threat in a long lost of threats that it sees from the U.S. Russia has already seen U.S. meddling in the conflict in the Russian region of Chechnya, the invasion of Iraq of which Russia had economic interests, the attack against Russia's ally Yugoslavia, the U.S. push for Kosovo independencs, the U.S. threatening Russian interests in Iran, an out of control expansion of NATO right up to Russia's doorstep, basically in an effort to surround, isolate & intimidate Russia and as a symbolic way to humiliate Russia. The proposed additional NATO nations offer nothing of military significance, just like the newest NATO members. Many of these countries are unstable and have known disputes with neighbors. Bringing these countries into NATO actually raises the risk of a military confrontation, rather than deterring one. Ukraine and Georgia are the newest countries nominated for NATO membership. These are two very unstable countries with a lot of political, and ethnic turmoil. But I believe that the European and U.S. defense industries are at least partly behind this. Each new NATO country has to have new upgraded military hardware that matches up with the U.S. and the rest of Europe....big business for the defense industry.

Russia has also seen U.S. meddling in its disputes with Georgia and Ukraine, and is still upset about the U.S. withdrawal from the ABM treaty. Let's put this into perspective. If the U.S. had a former giant foe who was making alliances with one country after another, moving closer to our borders and even surrounding our territory, Americans would not only be nervous but would be pretty upset and angry. But let's consider that the same rival was also invading other countries (as the U.S. is doing today) putting military force at the heart of its international political strategy....if Americans were facing this, they would be in a panic. So the Russian reaction (so far) is not surprising or unreasonable....and should have been predicted by policymakers in Washington DC who are paid six figure salaries to know this ahead of time.

The Peace and Anti-War community in the U.S. and around the world must make this missile defense dispute a top priority. Hopefully European governments will get an earful from their citizens, encouraging Europe to scrap this plan.
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