I recently read Obama's entire speech in Prague, The Czech Republic, regarding nuclear weapons proliferation. Naturally, he is opposed to it, and his speech was resounding, including many applause interruptions. Good speech, but I was looking for something and when I found it my blood began to boil.
To bring readers up to speed, the U.S. is intending to build an ABM system in Eastern Europe. Ostensibly, the purpose of this system is to prevent Iran from attacking Eastern Europe with nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. The system involves a radar site in The Czech Republic and the missile site in Poland. In the form of a geography review both The Czech Republic and Poland are within Russia's sphere of influence.
With all that as a backdrop, here is what Obama said at one point. "Iran has yet to build a nuclear weapon." That's what he said alright, but he omitted mentioning that Iran does not have a ballistic missile capable of reaching Eastern Europe, Israel, sure, but not Eastern Europe. It should be noted, Russia has both capabilities. Try to imagine a Russian ABM site in the Yukon Territory right in the path of the preferred polar route of U.S. ballistic missiles aimed at Russia. That will give you some appreciation about how Russians feel about an American system in The Czech Republic and Poland.
What followed was what I was looking for.
Obama then stated, and I quote, "So let me be clear: Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile activity poses a real threat, not just to the United States, but to Iran's neighbors and our allies. The Czech Republic and Poland have been courageous in agreeing to host a defense against these missiles. As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven. (Applause.) If the Iranian threat is eliminated, we will have a stronger basis for security, and the driving force for missile defense construction in Europe will be removed. (Applause.)"
Now this profound paragraph begs two questions immediately. First, why is the audience in Prague cheering? Second, someone needs to explain to me how Iran can eliminate a threat which does not exist. Obviously, some salient facts are in order and they will be listed not necessarily in order of importance.
The ABM system is not proven technology. It is much like trying to hit a bullet with a bullet due to the speeds involved.
A U.S. ABM system in The Czech Republic and Poland makes both nations a target. A Czech citizen stated that he has no fear regarding an Iranian missile hitting his country. He does have some concern over a Russian missile launch, noting that The Czech Republic is a staunch NATO ally, as is Poland, both for over ten years. There is another factor, one of which Americans are near totally oblivious. The US, in an attempt to appease Russia may allow a contingency of Russian troops to stay and monitor things. That is what is bothering most of the Czech people. Especially those who are old enough to remember Soviet domination of the Czech people. In any case, most of the Czech citizenry hate the Russians for a multiplicity of reasons. Russian troops on Czech soil again is abhorrent to them.
Contrary to Obama's message of curtailing the proliferation of nuclear weapons, ABM systems are not a deterrent to nuclear proliferation, but actually encourage it, particularly in the realm of medium range nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles. The highly accurate Russian SS-21 Iskander missile provides an example. In his article entitled Barack Obama, Meet Team B, Scott Ritter writes, "... once upon a time there was a document called the anti-ballistic missile treaty, signed in 1972 between the United States and the former Soviet Union, which recognized that anti-missile defense shields were inherently destabilizing, and as such should not be deployed. The ABM treaty represented the foundational agreement for a series of strategic arms limitation and arms reduction agreements that followed. President Obama was 10 years old when that treaty was signed. He was 40 years old when President George W. Bush withdrew from it, in December 2001, and set in motion a series of events that saw arms control between the U.S. and Russia completely unravel."
Even assuming the reliability of ABM systems, which is a stretch, they can be overwhelmed by the multiplicity of targets. Hypothetically, if a nation fires 50 missiles at Prague and Warsaw, some missiles in this barrage will get through regardless of the system's proficiency.
The idea that Iran will launch against Prague or Warsaw is ludicrous. So, what then was the purpose of this system? The purpose of this system was ill-defined during the Bush administration, but essentially it was to provide some sort of American hegemony over Russia during a forgetful era when America's leaders thought this was a really great idea because America was supposed to dominate the 21st Century. Thankfully, that era is now over. Isn't it?
Recently, SecDef Robert Gates stated that he wanted to "profoundly reform" the way the Pentagon does business. In essence, he wanted to rid the Pentagon of futuristic weapons systems that were developed during the Cold War with the USSR, like the F-22. Such systems no longer have a target audience, so to speak. Unfortunately, he failed to mention the costly and useless ABM system in Eastern Europe. The proposed system was conspicuous by its absence in the Gates' report.
This system must be abandoned forthwith. This scheme was hatched during the Bush administration, and it is now an anachronism. It will not help in our talks with Iran. Reason: Why in the name of Heaven would Iran attack Eastern Europe even if it had the capability? The system will damage our relations with Russia unnecessarily and could possibly endanger the people of Eastern Europe. Put a different way, the system is ineffective, expensive, and virtually serves no purpose other than in a negative sense.
Common sense dictates a question to Obama. Why are you clinging to an idea long past its time and wasn't a great one in the first place?