Opinion » Columnists
Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Missile Shield: In Defiance of All Logic

It has been proposed that billions of hard earned dollars of tax payer money be spent on the outrageous notion of making the U.S. invulnerable. Yet millions of Americans have NO health care! The proposed missile shield is not necessary, defies all logic and most experts question the Bush Administration’s rationale for it. The plan is being pushed by pro-war neo-conservatives in the Bush administration who have always wanted to increase tensions with Russia.

According to the Bush Administration, the shield is intended to guard against an attack from either Iran or North Korea. Such thinking ignores the fact that neither nation is capable of such an attack any time in the foreseeable future. Furthermore, neither nation in their recent history has attacked any of their neighbors.

An analysis must be made of what the real reason for the missile shield is. One possibility is that the U.S. is planning an attack on Iran. The second more likely reason is to use the missile shield to gain a strategic advantage over Russia, extending all the way into the Urals their ability to probe into the heart of the Russian Federation. Vladimir Putin has warned that the missile shield will “turn Europe into a powder keg.” The shield is clearly aimed at Russia. There is no other logical explanation for such a system.

Czech and Polish citizens oppose the plan and they are currently working to get a referendum vote on the issue. Certain that a referendum vote would kill the deal, the governments of Poland and the Czech Republic are both trying to find ways to deny their citizens any say in the matter.

In a most astute move as a seasoned chess player, Vladimir Putin made counter proposals that the United States use a Russian-controlled radar in Azerbaijan, near the Iranian border, instead of putting a shield in Europe. He also offered to use another radar in Armavir in southern Russia. Moscow has proposed creating a unified missile defense system by 2020 with equal access to the system’s controls for all parties involved. These proposals caught the Bush Administration off guard until they were able to invent some excuses for rejecting the proposals.

History

Since the 1991 dissolution of both the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, NATO has yet to figure out that its mission has been a total failure. NATO has served to be a major destabilization factor in Europe. Unfortunately, institutions such as NATO have a way of trying to perpetuate themselves by finding new reasons to exist, even if it means violating their own charter, for example the recent aggression against Yugoslavia. The U.S. continues to maintain what has become a permanent military presence in Europe. Some 300,000 U.S. military personnel are still stationed in places like Ramstein, Germany, and Aviano, Italy.

Not so long ago there was a Cuban Soviet missile crisis. The United States felt justified to threaten nuclear war if nuclear weapons were not removed immediately from the region, yet today, the US administration intends to instal missile technology on Russia’s doorstep.

Conclusion

Perhaps someone would care to explain why Russia should accept the Bush administration's insane and illogical idea of positioning an antiballistic shield so close to its borders. The U.S. missile shield is strategically meaningless. Even American analysts find it extremely provocative to put an unproven system of unreliable defense against a threat that does not yet exist, in places where it most assuredly will be interpreted as hostile by Russia.

The West has broken all promises not to move the NATO infrastructure toward the East. Yet with its primary threat – the U.S.S.R. and the Warsaw Pact no longer a factor, NATO continues to expand. This ridiculous expansion is taking place against the backdrop of the European Union's initial move toward establishing its own military alliance for collective security.

Former Vice President Al Gore is quoted as saying, “The pursuit of ‘dominance’ in foreign policy led the Bush administration to ignore the UN, to do serious damage to our most important alliances, to violate international law, and to cultivate the hatred and contempt of many in the rest of the world. The seductive appeal of exercising unconstrained unilateral power led this president to interpret his powers under the constitution in a way that brought to life the worst nightmare of the founders. Any policy based on domination of the rest of the world not only creates enemies for the US and recruits for al-Qaida, but also undermines the international cooperation that is essential to defeating terrorists who wish to harm and intimidate America”.

For Al Gore, “Instead of ‘dominance‘, we should be seeking pre-eminence in a world where nations respect us and seek to follow our leadership and adopt our values…With the blatant failure by the government to respect the rule of law, we face a great challenge in restoring America's moral authority in the world. Our moral authority is our greatest source of strength. It is our moral authority that has been recklessly put at risk by the cheap calculations of this willful president.”

One has to wonder why the wise words of Mr. Gore go largely unheard and unheeded.

Moscow’s offer of a joint missile shield has been turned down. This has confirmed that the Americans intend to pursue their own plans to put a missile “defense” in Eastern Europe and it proves that they are determined to exclude and obstruct Russia from involvement despite Moscow’s sincere and genuine offer of complete cooperation.


“I think the Russians, after a period now of just saying no, no, no to what we intend to do in terms of missile defense, decided to come up with some of their own ideas,” Condoleezza Rice said in an interview with CNBC on Saturday. “Now, we don't agree; we believe that we still need to continue to move forward with the Czech Republic and with Poland.” Ms. Rice added that anti-missile defense could still be an area where “U.S.-Russian cooperation could make a gigantic leap forward.” What type of cooperation could she possibly be referring to given the Bush Administration’s obvious hard headed intransigence in rejecting Mr. Putin’s proposals?

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov said that a European missile shield would be a threat to Russia’s security as the U.S. radar would be aimed at Russia, monitoring its territory up to the Ural Mountains. The proposals pose "an evident threat" to Russia and "draw a new dividing line – like a new Berlin Wall," Ivanov said in an interview on Rossiya TV. "If our proposal is not accepted, we will take adequate measures. An asymmetrical and effective response will be found. We know that we will do this," Ivanov was quoted by Interfax as saying. He reminded that if Russian offers are not accepted, the Kremlin would consider deploying new rocket units in the European part of the country including the westernmost region of Kaliningrad.

Action

It is time for peace groups to engage in citizen diplomacy to prevent a full scale resumption of the Cold War. It has also been proposed that the countries participating in Washington’s plans be ostracized by the peace loving people of the world. Messages of protest should be sent to officials of those countries involved informing them that there will be consequences if they participate. The incompetence of the Bush administration is putting the citizens of the world in more danger than any terrorists or “rogue states” ever will. Americans and citizens of Europe should make their voices heard about the proposed missile shield, which threatens not only European security and stability, but also that of the world.

Lisa KARPOVA
PRAVDA.Ru
USA/CANADA