Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Finding holes in the US Missile Defense Shield

In an interesting commentary in Le Monde, French historian Alexandre Adler calls out some obvious inconsistencies in the US plans to deploy its missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. The bottom line in his article is something that has been discussed and concluded numerous times and claims that Russia's position is justified as it sees no basis for the system, it sees no threats, it sees no justification for such rapid action.

But Mr. Adler brings into point the fact that although NATO countries have agreed with the US regarding the need for the system, the missile defense system will be under US management.

The envisaged system will form part of the US strategic forces, not those of NATO, taking all right of inspection or discussion from the European allies, as well as from the Russians, represented in Brussels by a liaison mission whose importance was once deemed to be considerable.

Despite US promises to give the right of inspection to Russian military officials of the planned missile defense sites, the fact that the system will be out of NATO jurisdiction means Russia will have little say in what happens next to the system as it will not be able to use its position in the Russia-NATO council (Russia fears most the future expansion of the missile defense sites). The military aspects of the system are also briefly analyzed in the Le Monde commentary:

Thanks to the radar system set up on Czech territory, the two main Russian intercontinental missile bases would at last be covered by permanent means of observation; currently, only satellites, whose field of vision remains random, enable the United States to monitor the silos. That means quite simply that the United States would acquire an antiforce first strike capability whose nightmarish threat had, however, disappeared at the end of the eighties.

Mr. Adler suggests the US use the proposal by Vladimir Putin regarding the Gabala station in Azerbaijan; yet we are all aware of the slim chances for that scenario. The military aspect of the US defense shield is still not clear. Some military observers say it will not work in Poland and Azerbaijan or Turkey is a good location, others have a diametrically different position. This concerns both Russian and European observers. The last aspect continues to make the US missile shield issue balancing predominantly in the political sphere of observations.

1 comment:

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