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US ABM Shield in Europe: Degrading Confidence

17.10.2007 13:15

A. Novik

In spite of all efforts of the Russian leadership to find a constructive solution of a problem in the sphere of ABM defense in Europe, and thus provide for strategic stability through negotiations, the United States persistently promotes deployment of the third position area of its global ABM shield in Poland and Czechia that poses an actual threat to the Russian system of nuclear deterrence.

In October 2007 the Russian State Duma adopted a special declaration "On Consequences of US Global ABM System deployment in Europe" that according to State Duma Deputy Academician Andrey Kokoshin "reflects attitude of both Russian expert community, our politicians and our people in general towards this problem".

A. Kokoshin noted that Moscow is going to continue its efforts to find a solution of this problem that would contribute to international security and strategic stability through negotiations. This is the main purpose of a proposal made by the Russian parliament members in their declaration to their colleagues in the USA, Poland and Czechia to hold an inter-parliamentary conference on the problems associated with deployment of the US global ABM systems in Europe.

However, the situation in the recent months probably develops in accordance with a scenario when "nobody wants to hear us" - the United States persistently continues implementation of its plans. To promote this crazy project the American Congressmen made a European tour to discuss this problem in Warsaw with Polish Foreign Minister A. Fotyga, in Prague with Czech Premier M. Topolanek and in Brusses with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

A delegation of the American Congressmen made a statement that fully supports the plans of the American Administration to deploy the ABM systems in Poland and Czechia. The Congressmen also emphasized that "the recent statement of the Russian leadership with respect to deployment of the ABM systems in Europe is invalid, Russia has no right to veto the security of the USA and its allies".

The American parliament made a special faction to support the ABM shield in Europe. The faction is headed by Republican Trent Frenks. Speaking at an annual international ABM conference in Maastricht (the Netherlands) T. Frenks said that the US ABM shield in Europe is supported by both parties in the US Congress, and the US Defense Budget for 2008 provides funding of the Radar installation in Czechia and construction of GBI silos in Poland in full scope.

T. Frenks also claimed that both Russian proposals on the ABM shield "cannot substitute the US plans". Simultaneously Under Secretary of State Daniel Fried and General Henry Obering, Director, Missile Defense Agency, alleged that the ABM systems in Europe do not pose a threat to Russia and are designed only to defend America and Europe against Iranian missiles.

In so doing, they made a hypocritical appeal to find options of a "combined" US - Russian ABM system for joint defense against Iranian missile treats. According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, "they invite us to fight against a hypothetic threat and meanwhile make a real threat to our security".

A reality of this threat was once again confirmed by American scientists. Six leading American physicists claimed that the White House misleads its NATO allies stating that the expected installation of the radar in Czechia and deployment of the GBIs in Poland do not pose a threat to Russia.

The scientists came to a conclusion that the Radar in Czechia and GBIs in Poland may detect and destroy Russian ballistic missiles, and endanger the Russian system of nuclear deterrence. The scientists believe that it would be better to deploy the ABM systems closer to the Iranian border in order to neutralize the threat from Iran. The physicists also denied an allegation of the American militaries that the GBIs in Poland will not accelerate to a proper velocity to neutralize the Russian missiles, and therefore they do not pose any threat to Russia.

According to these scientists, the GBIs may accelerate up to 9 km/s, and this velocity is enough to intercept Russian ballistic missiles. The conclusions of the American scientists were supported by US National Scientific Fund prize winner R. Gervin who is one of the main developers of the hydrogen bomb, and who was a member of the Senate Rumsfeld Commission (The Commission To Assess the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States) in 1990.

The woks under the project in Poland and Czech Republic are in progress. A regular round of talks on this problem just ended in Poland. According to Polish Foreign Minister Vitold Vaszczykovski due to these talks Poland and USA became radically closer to signing an agreement on establishment of a US interceptor base in the Polish territory.

A "significant progress" in the negotiations was also confirmed by US Under Secretary of State John Rood leading the American delegation. It is expected that an agreement on this subject between Poland and USA will be signed within two-three months. In so doing, Poland wants to conclude a long-term agreement that ensures benefits of Poland in the spheres on security, political and technical cooperation with America. According to Polish Premier Yaroslav Kaczynski deployment of the US ABM base in Poland will provide guaranty to Warsaw that Poland will be never within the Russian sphere of influence.

Preparation of a draft agreement on installation of the radar in the territory of Czechia is also in progress. First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic Tomas Pojar said that "the document is discussed successfully, 12 of 18 items have been reviewed". It is expected that the talks will continue until the end of the next year. Meanwhile it is planned to launch a wide-scale information campaign to convince two-thirds of Czechs in the expediency to deploy the US ABM radar in Czechia. The Government provides 1.7 million Czech Korunas for the campaign.

The American project in Europe enjoys a powerful support of NATO. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer once again criticized the Russian stand with respect to deployment of US ABM systems in Eastern Europe. "We should continue our discussions with Russia. The Russian severe critics of the US plans gave a bias to the NATO-Russian debates that seems to me unproductive and useless", Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said at the International ABM Conference in Maastricht.

According to the NATO Secretary General, the Russian "warnings to our Czech and Polish allies should not sound in Europe today". The head of the Alliance believes that "the statements of the Russian party mislead Europe about the key problem how to ensure European security in the epoch of missile technology expansion". Such horrifying Russia! Simultaneously he expressed hypocritical readiness of NATO "to listen any concerns of Russia with respect to the ABM shield".

The talks of the Russian and American ministers of defense and foreign ministers on this problem held in Moscow on October 12 also failed. The American party once again abandoned the proposal of the Russian party to freeze the deployment of the third global ABM position area in Eastern Europe.

In a word, Russia failed to transform the US plans to build an ABM shield in Europe into a project enhancing confidence between our countries. All Russian proposals to find an alternative option to the crazy project were rejected by the United States.

Pentagon expects to mount the first GBI in the US ABM base in Poland already late in 2011, and the tenth one - in 2013. The US ABM systems in Czechia and Poland should be completely ready for operation in 2014.

It is clear that in such situation the proposal of the RF State Duma Deputies to their colleagues in the USA, Poland and Czechia to hold an inter-parliamentary conference on the problems associated with deployment of the third US global ABM system position area in Europe also remains illusive.