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NEW COLD WAR AND ARMS RACE UNDERWAY

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The news in recent days has been full of the controversy about U.S. plans to deploy "missile defense" interceptors and radar facilities in Eastern Europe. Russia has responded by expressing fears that the U.S. military and NATO are attempting to surround and control her. Russia has made counter suggestions saying that if the U.S. really wanted to protect itself and Europe from future Iranian missiles, then placing such facilities would be more practical in Azerbaijan. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice quickly ruled that out as an option saying, "One does not choose sites for missile defense out of the blue."

Russian President Vladimir Putin makes the case that since 9-11 the U.S. has established military bases in Central Asia, Romania, and Bulgaria, and has been expanding NATO into Eastern Europe with bases in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, and is now attempting to create more bases in the Ukraine and Georgia. Russia is starting to feel surrounded. This is something that could never have happened during the Cold War - in fact if the U.S. had tried it would have likely caused a nuclear exchange. When the former Soviet Union attempted to put nuclear missiles into Cuba in 1962 - the U.S.'s sphere of influence - nuclear war was barely averted.

Participants at the May 5 International Conference against the Militarization of Europe in Prague issued a declaration opposing U.S. missile defense deployments saying, "We voice our protest against the plans of the Bush administration to install a 'national missile defense system' for the U.S. on the territory of the Czech Republic and Poland. Most people in the Czech Republic and Poland, as well as in the rest of Europe, reject plans to host this system. We reject the official reasons given for the NMD project as mere pretexts. The realisation of the U.S. plan will not lead to enhanced security. On the contrary - it will lead to new dangers and insecurities.
Although it is described as 'defensive', in reality it will allow the United States to attack other countries without fear of retaliation. It will also put 'host' countries on the front line in future U.S. wars."

One of the first things the Bush administration did upon taking office was withdraw the U.S. from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty with Russia. This treaty banned the testing and deployment of so-called "missile defense" systems. Since that U.S. withdrawal, Bush has aggressively moved to fund and deploy the technologies that will give the U.S. first-strike capability of any other nuclear power. As we witnessed with the 2003 U.S. preemptive attack on Iraq, first-strike is now the official military doctrine of the U.S.

Putin recognizes this new twist when he recently said, "Once the missile defense system is put in place it will work automatically with the entire nuclear capability of the U.S. It will be an integral part of the U.S. nuclear capability....An arms race is unfolding. Was it we who withdrew from the ABM Treaty? We already told [Bush] two years ago, don't do this, you don't need to do this. What are you doing? You are destroying the system of international security....Of course, we have to respond to it."

Putin is obviously referring to current Bush plans to deploy "missile defense" interceptors in Poland and a high-tech Star Wars radar facility in the Czech Republic. The Bush team says these facilities are intended to protect against Iranian missiles but all one has to do is look at a map of the region and see that the real target is Russia.


Following the collapse of the former Soviet Union, the economy of Russia fell apart and the standard of living dropped substantially. But in recent years, due in large part to oil exploration inside Russia which now surpasses the daily oil output of Saudi Arabia, Russia's economy is growing again and the standard of living improving. Russia has become the world's largest producer of natural gas.

Russia has announced that four of its largest oil fields will not be open to foreign development and its national treasury has begun to convert Russia's dollar reserves into gold and rubles. None of these steps has been well received in the banking centers of Washington or London.

As fossil fuels become scarce worldwide, the U.S. and British banking and oil corporation elites have developed an international strategy to take control of remaining supplies. This is manifest in the present U.S. and UK occupation of Iraq and U.S. permanent bases in Central Asia - a key region for pipelines to move Caspian Sea resources south for shipment in the Asian-Pacific region.

But Russia and China do not accept the notion of the U.S. becoming the "master" of the planet. Already the U.S. Space Command has declared that it will be the master of space and will develop the offensive space weapons technologies to "deny" other countries access to space. Pentagon operatives have said that international treaties will restrict the U.S. ability to take unilateral and preemptive military action globally.

The U.S. secret military budget, the "black budget", is now estimated to be about $60 billion per year and is mostly funding high-tech space weapons. Even Congress is not provided information on how the Pentagon is spending these funds. A reporter at the weapons industry publication, Jane's Defense Weekly, did a research project on the secret budget architecture and suggests it came to the U.S. by Nazi scientists brought to the U.S. after World War II under the classified "Operation Paperclip."

On May 31 U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that the U.S. favors a protracted troop presence in Iraq similar to the one in South Korea. Gates told reporters that he is thinking of "a mutual agreement" with Iraq in which "some force of Americans . . . is present for a protracted period of time, but in ways that are protective of the sovereignty of the host government." Gates said such a long-term U.S. presence would assure allies in the Middle East that the U.S. will not withdraw from Iraq as it did from Vietnam, "lock, stock and barrel."

Highly respected former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev was quoted in April as saying that deployment of U.S. missile defense bases in Poland and the Czech Republic is an attempt by the U.S. to control Europe. "It is all about influence and domination in Europe," Gorbachev said. Asked how Russia could respond to these plans, he only said: "Time will show."

One Russian political analyst puts it more directly. ''Hitler was striving for global domination, and the United States is striving for global domination now,'' Sergei Markov, head of the Moscow-based Institute for Political Research recently told The Associated Press.

''Hitler thought he was above the League of Nations, and the United States thinks it is above the United Nations. Their action is similar... only the United States now is claiming global exclusiveness,'' Markov said.

 

Bruce Gagnon is the Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space.

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