US Sabotaging START Treaty; Russia Vexed Over US Missile Defense in Region
by Arn Specter, September 23, 2010, Phila. Pa. USA
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The US is apparently sabotaging it's own New START Treaty with Russia.
In the wording of the Treaty there are no deterrents, regulations or restrictions on the US Missile Defense programs in Eastern and Southern Europe. Russia has said many times that it may well not sign on to the Treaty unless the US stops it's missile defense proliferation in that region of the world. The US refuses to stop expanding missile defense buildup.
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The situation is very dangerous. Instead of respecting Russia's desires for a pullback on missile defense the US administration and military has accelerated the missile program to include Bulgaria and Romania along with Poland and the Czech Republic to house missile and radar systems. Also,
missile systems are being developed in Israel and other Middle East countries. These developments have upset the Russian government and military.
The US is just failing to hear the protests of the Russians on Missile Defense. Briefly, US President George Bush started the missile defense program in Eastern Europe, with Poland and the Czech Republic as chosen sites for missiles and radar. This raised great protests among peoples in both countries and around Europe and in Russia. Then a stroke of wisdom inspired Barack Obama to cancel the program but then months later he started it up again without much explanation- to the consternation of all concerned.
Last year Russia had reacted to the placement of missiles in Poland, close to the border of Russian territory. Russia's threatened to place it's own missiles in Kaliningrad just north of the Polish border. Now, with further missile deployments planned by the US, Russia is planning on placing more missiles in Georgia to counter the US advance. It is possible that all of these missiles could carry nuclear warheads!
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After Russia has raised the issue of US missile defense in it's region in many venues throughout Europe and in the US little changed to support their need to have their security less threatened by the US. Various plans have been proposed between Russia, the European Union, NATO and the US even to include Russia in the missile defense program. However nothing concrete has been decided...
Recently a Russian scientist and political analyst has declared that Russia is prepared for a "asymmetric response" to the US missile defense program. This is a response for war! I wonder if anyone is listening. The US has many meetings and discussions with the Russians yet the missile defense programs continue unabated . It's as if missiles were deployed in Cuba, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada surrounding the US and threateningUS security.
In the early 1960's the Cuban Missile Crisis brought a strong and rapid response from President John Kennedy and prevented further escalation of Russian aggression. Unfortunately, despite Russian complaints, the US is not changing it's plans for missile defense and now faces an angry and formidable "enemy" in the Russian geopolitical sphere in that region of the globe. The current declaration of a 'asymmetric response' needs to be taken seriously in order to prevent a military response in any form and also to save the much needed New START Treaty, with appropriate safeguards for both the US and Russia and serious reductions in nuclear weapons for the safety and well being of the whole world.
September 17, 2010 by Arn Specter, Phila. USA
The following article, US Missile Defense Radar: Homeless but Searching by Justin Vela in Bulgaria, August 6, 2010, is very important. (also see supportive articles below Vela's article)
It describes the US attempts to expand the missile defense program - missiles and radar - into the southern Russian area despite serious objections by peoples in that region and by Russia herself. This expansion is seen by experts in Russia such as; Alexei Borodavkin, Deputy Foreign Minister, and Dr. Andrei Kokoshin, Scientist and political analyst, as provoking and threatening. Both speak of responses to the US aggression, which indicate that the current attempts to ratify the New START Treaty in Russia and the United States will not ameliorate the imposing danger that the US missile defense expansion in Eastern and Southern Europe represents.
It behooves us to study their perspectives and proposals as well as that of other experts who see the US expansion of missile defense as unnecessary and dangerous, instilling greater instability in the region for the millions of people residing there. Protests by the Invisables in the Czech Republic, activists in Poland and Bulgaria, and demonstrators in other countries have taken to the streets and to their governments in recent years protesting the missile defense buildup by the United States.
Kokoshin speaks of a 'Asymmetric' response by Russia as imminent, indicating a war response against the United States is being considered, with evidence, etc. warranted, in his opinion.
Borodavkin calls for regional monitoring of missile defense, a non-military response to keep further proliferation from accelerating, or at least close eye on the systems already in place.
It would seem that in the United States practically no one is overly concerned with this missile defense buildup except for a few activists and non-profit organizations leading the way. Congress continues to appropriate monies for missile defense with practically no opposition and now President Obama and the Pentagon have decided to accelerate the nuclear weapons program by building new facilities and weapons despite the New START negotiations designed to reduce proliferation.
This two-faced approach by the US is extremely dangerous and must be seen by Europeans and Russia as duplicitous and misleading, to say the least. We need to challenge the Obama and Pentagon plans for missile defense as well as the Missile Defense Agency that carries out such plans. Too, in my opinion, Europe and the southern Russian territories need to speak up and protest further US military expansion in their regions! The world needs to be made a safer place rather than more threatening and dangerous by further military-missile (with nuclear warhead capabilities) buildup.
To gain a larger perspective we can research the work of Rick Rozoff and STOPNATO, on their website and publications. Also, Global Security Newswire, NucNews and other websites which report on nuclear developments keeping us informed.
Gates, O'Reilly, and Obama, as well as Congress, seem intent on proliferating missile defense and the expansion of US world power.
Despite their rhetoric about reducing nuclear threats they are accelerating them dramatically with this massive program in Eastern Europe, southern Russia and the Middle East region. Too, with Iran and Israel threatening one another we need to reduce any nuclear or missile threats with serious diplomacy and negotiations now!
Time is running out with the movement of any missile on foreign soil.
The US Senate has been holding hearings on the New START Treaty with Russia and has decided to wait until after the November elections until resuming deliberations and voting on the Treaty.
Meanwhile Russia too is considering the Treaty but their representatives have been saying, for the last year or so, that the build-up of US Missile Defense systems in Eastern and Southern Europe are unacceptable and may well prevent the START Treaty from being ratified.
Too, NATO will be holding a major meeting in November in order to determine their position on Missile Defense in Europe. Their new policy on missile defense will be a critical factor on the positions of Russia and the United States in the years ahead. Although NATO is a strong ally of the US, they have made cooperative overtures with Russia for mutual participation on major issues involving the military and missile defense. A strong alliance between NATO and Russia could go a long way in fostering stability and security in the region if the US does it's part by pulling back on it's missile defense programs!
A major confrontation seems likely soon between the US and Russia. The continued buildup of missile defense in Eastern and Southern Europe, despite the protests by Russia, has caused a major rift in US-Russia relations regarding nuclear policy and issues; missile defense. To counter US missile plans under Bush and Obama Russia has gone from threatening to send their missiles to Kaliningrad, above the Polish border, to now stating that they are prepared for an 'asymmetric' response to the US for missile defense in their region! Russia has been so provoked that they are sending out an alarm that needs to be heard by the US and the World community.
As an activist community we need to convince our governments to realize the need for a pullback on US missile defense systems in the Russian region. This may be a near impossible task given the forcefulness and aggressiveness of US military policy in the region. Yet, if something doesn't change in the US plans for Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania (not to mention several countries in the Middle East!) then surely trouble lies ahead for all concerned. Too, the chance for a New START agreement with Russia is extremely unlikely unless the US changes it's position on Missile Defense. Russia just won't go along with further proliferation, the threat of missiles on it's borders, and the disrespect shown by the US in continuing to expand missile deployments with nuclear warhead capabilities.
Message to President Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the US Congress:
Pull back of missile defense in Europe now. Russia
is provoked and ready for a 'asymmetric' response,
which could mean War! Heed the warnings from Russia.
Realize the START Treaty is in great jeopardy unless the Missile Defense program is dramatically altered. Sit down with Russia and the European community and work this out as soon as possible. The future of peace in that region of the world is at stake!
The following articles, reports and links show the history of the Russian reaction to US missile defense in their region of the world. As activists let us pressure the government to listen to the Russian concerns and act accordingly by reducing or curtailing the missile defense program in Eastern and Southern European regions. This may be the only way to preserve peace in the region and have a successful New START Treaty approved by both nations...
The US had originally planned for a missile defense base in Poland, sparking Russian ire and a threat of a retaliatory build-up in neighboring Kaliningrad. The base was scrapped, however, and the Obama Administration only later promised a Patriot missile commitment to Poland.
Both missile defense systems were ostensibly aimed at a missile threat from Iran, even though Iran's best missiles have a maximum range well short of Poland. Russia has long suspected the systems were actually aimed at them, and the Polish decision to deploy them even closer to the border will likely reinforce that belief.
On the non-strategic front, the 1990 Treaty On Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) limiting the amount and expansion of major armaments on the continent is also seriously jeopardized by U.S. and NATO missile shield plans. The adapted CFE (Agreement on Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe) of 1999 has not been ratified by any member of NATO, which has linked it with so-called frozen conflicts in the former Soviet Union. The August 2008 Georgia-Russia war was a consequence of that obstructionist and belligerent policy. The establishment of permanent U.S. and NATO military bases in Kosovo, Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania and now Poland is a gross violation of and may prove the death knell for the CFE.
Russia suspended the observance of its treaty obligations under the CFE on July 14, 2007 because of "extraordinary circumstances"which affect the security of the Russian Federation and require immediate measures." 
The circumstances alluded to were the U.S. project of establishing missile interception facilities in Eastern Europe and the general movement of NATO bases and forces to the Baltic and Black Sea regions.
On November 29 of last year Russia "released a draft of a proposal for a new European security agreement the Kremlin says should replace outdated institutions such as NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)." 
Chinese analysts Yu Maofeng and Lu Jingli contend that Moscow was motivated by its concerns over U.S. and NATO missile plans, NATO's eastward expansion to its borders, the 1999 war against Yugoslavia, Western-sponsored "color revolutions" in other former Soviet states and NATO members' non-ratification of the Treaty On Conventional Armed Forces in Europe
Radio Poland January 29, 2010 Russia will not just watch Patriot missiles deployed
Russia's ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin, warned on Friday that his country will not passively watch the deployment of a U.S. Patriot missile battery in Poland.
The US will supply the Patriots and 100 troops in Poland this year, to be stationed not far from the Russian Kaliningrad border.
"Do they really think that we will calmly watch the location of a rocket system, at a distance of 60 km from Kaliningrad?", the Russian diplomat said Friday.
Rogozin refused to clarify what the response of the Russian side would be to the deployment. "It is a matter for the military," is all he would say.
According to the ambassador, the decision to deploy Patriots in Poland is "reckless".
Rogozin said that Moscow is consulting with Warsaw and Washington on the matter, using both diplomatic and military channels. "We hope that the decision will be reviewed," he stressed.
Last Friday Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that he did not understand the plan to deploy Patriot missiles in Poland. "Why create the impression that Poland is strengthening [its defences] against Russia?"
Earlier, a Russian Navy spokesperson announced that Russia's Baltic Fleet would be strengthened although this was not confirmed by the Kremlin. =========================== Stop NATO http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato
Romania announced it is ready to host anti-ballistic interceptors as part of an American missile shield in Eastern Europe. Russia is willing to consider discussions with the EU and the US over a threat assessment.
The move has already been approved by Romania's supreme defense council and has been submitted to parliament for its backing. Romanian President Traian Basescu says Romania was invited by the US to take part in its new missile shield program.
After Basescu made the details public, the US came out to confirm the plans, adding that the system is not aimed at Russia, but at Iran.
American anti-ballistic missiles will be in service in Romania by 2015, according to the US State Department. Philip Crowley, a spokesman for the US Department of State, mentioned that missile defense elements placed in Romania will be on land, and "sea-based elements are also planned."
Moscow hopes Washington will offer a full explanation of the news.
"Both the Russian and American presidents have agreed to attempt to find common views on the threats and risks of proliferation. After we know we have a common understanding here, the dialogue can move on," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. "We hope our American partners will give us a clarification on their plans to deploy a missile shield in Romania."
Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov says the new plan is very familiar.
"It is still unclear what infrastructure and weapons systems are concerned. If they are identical to those the Bush administration planned to deploy in the Czech Republic, then it's just trading one problem for another," Ivanov said.
"Yes, we do have certain concerns, and questions which I've asked our American partners, and we are now waiting for them to explain what the planned system is going to be like and against whom it will be targeted," he added.
In September of 2009, US President Barack Obama said he intended to revamp the Bush-era plans for a shield in Eastern Europe, instead only placing Patriot missiles in Poland and possibly sea-based systems elsewhere.
The new strategy proposed by Obama will be much more "formidable, comprehensive and powerful than that suggested by President Bush in 2007," says independent political analyst Vladimir Kozin.
If the US chooses to place anti-ballistic interceptors in Romania, it could jeopardize US-Russian relations and the START treaty negotiations, says Giulietto Chiesa, Italian politician and former Member of the European Parliament.
"President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin have already said many times that this will seriously influence the balance of forces in Europe, which means that it will produce a very bad effect on US-Russian relations," Chiesa said.
Washington's continued efforts to build a missile defense shield in Europe have complicated nuclear arms reduction talks with Russia, Russia's deputy prime minister said on Saturday.
"It is impossible to talk seriously about the reduction of nuclear capabilities when a nuclear power is working to deploy protective systems against vehicles to deliver nuclear warheads possessed by other countries," Sergei Ivanov said at an international security conference in Munich.
Russia and the United States are in talks to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START 1), the cornerstone of post-Cold War arms control, which expired in December with a new deal.
Russia on Friday expressed concerns about Romania's decision to host missiles as part of a U.S. missile defense shield to protect European allies from possible Iranian attacks, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded "clarifications."
The planned deployment in Romania comes after President Barack Obama scrapped plans for a radar and interceptor missiles in the Czech Republic and Poland, which Russia fiercely opposed as a national security threat and a blow on its nuclear deterrent. Moscow threatened retaliatory measures.
Ivanov reiterated that Moscow will seek explanations from the United States on the planned deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in Eastern Europe.
He said Russia unilaterally cut its tactical nuclear arsenals by 75% in the early 1990s, but the United States did respond with a similar move and even failed to withdraw its weapons from Europe. Ivanov said Russia will demand that nuclear weapons be kept on the territory of countries which they belong to.
Ivanov, however, confirmed earlier reports that the new bilateral nuclear arms pact could be signed in the first half of this year adding that ratification may take place in the fall.
Last week, Obama and Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev ordered a speedy completion of the deal.
Obama and Medvedev pledged at their first meeting in April 2009 to replace the START I treaty as part of broader efforts to "reset" bilateral ties strained in recent years.
Russia wants the signing of a new treaty on nuclear disarmament to be dependent on the US dropping its planned missile defence shield in Europe, said Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov Tuesday.
The SM-3 interceptor missile, which is to be based in Romania, was plainly directed at Russia, he said in an interview with state-run tv station Russia 24.
There was consequently a link between the US plans and negotiations to replace the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which expired in December, he added.
Russia and the US have been in negotiations for months over the new treaty, which aims to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Last week, Romania's supreme defence council (CSAT) approved the US missile defence shield plans. Bucharest is to discuss details with Washington in the near future.
The Romanian parliament has yet to approve the deal, but it is thought that it will pass with a majority.
Over the last few days Russia has also been defending itself against criticism from the west on its new military doctrine, which regulates the deployment of nuclear weapons and specifies possible dangers to Russian security.
NATO expansion towards the East represented a "sufficiently serious threat" said Russian security chief Nikolai Patrushev.
"We doubt very much that the expansion of NATO makes us safer," he added.
Russia strongly objects to NATO membership for former Soviet republics Georgia and Ukraine.
Copyright (c) 2010 Deutsche Presse Agentur. All rights reserved
Transdniestria prepared to deploy Russian missile defences
Igor Smirnov Photo: RIA Novosti , Feb.15,2010
The President of the unrecognized Republic of Transdniestria Igor Smirnov says that he is prepared to deploy elements of the Russian missile defence system if Moscow makes a request to that end. He was speaking during a news conference at the central office of the Interfax news agency today. According to earlier news reports, the Moldavian public and political organization Equality asked the Russian President to set up a defence system in Transdniestria by way of countering Washington's plans to deploy missile defence systems in Eastern Europe, including in Romania.
Russia Fumes at US Missile Defense Plan by Vladimir Isachenkov, Feb.26,2010, AP News
Russia has serious concerns about U.S. plans to deploy missile interceptors in Romania, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.
The statement from ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko reflected Moscow's irritation about the U.S. missile defense plans and signaled tensions in relations with Washington.
.. other Russian officials, including the nation's top military officer, recently said the U.S. missile defense plans threaten Russia and have slowed down negotiations on a successor deal to the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
Nesterenko also voiced skepticism about Washington's explanation that the interceptors were needed to protect U.S. troops and NATO allies against the Iranian missile threat.
"Russia has serious questions regarding the true purpose of the U.S. missile defense in Romania," Nesterenko said. "That is why we will consistently oppose any dubious unilateral actions in the missile defense field that could have a negative impact on the international security."
He added that the U.S. plans would make a "fragile European security structure hostage to the imaginary missile threats that are defined unilaterally."
Gen. Nikolai Makarov, the chief of general staff of the Russian armed forces, said that a revised U.S. plan to place missiles in Europe undermines Russia'snational defense, rejecting Obama administration promises that the plan is not directed at his country.
The Missile Shield Deadlock between the US and Russia,
by Christian Neef, March 10,2010. SPIEGEL Online
The Russians, in particular, feel that they are once again being misled. They may believe that man now in the Oval Office has honorable intentions, but they do not believe he is capable of reversing his country's position on nuclear weapons,
says Dmitri Trenin, head of the Moscow Carnegie Center. According to Trenin, the biggest anti-Russia skeptics have retained key posts in Obama's administration. For the Russians, this is clearly reflected in Washington's plans to develop new missile defense systems around the world.
'New Weapons System'
"They have jettisoned Poland and the Czech Republic, which they portray as a major concession," says Dmitry Rogozin, Moscow's ambassador to NATO in Brussels. "But this plan presents us with even greater challenges. Our military will react with a new weapons system."
Nothing Has Happened
"It is clear to us that missile defense is an extremely sensitive issue in Russian-American relations," concedes John Beyrle, Washington's ambassador in Moscow. Indeed, in recognition of that sensitivity, Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev agreed last year that Russians and Americans would conduct a joint analysis on which world regions are potentially threatened by missiles from a rogue state and, therefore, where the development of missile defense would make sense.
But nothing has happened -- Washington appears to be dragging its feet. "There is nothing but stubborn silence on the other side," Russian NATO Ambassador Rogozin told SPIEGEL. "The Americans are avoiding dialogue." Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said angrily that he instructed the Russian ambassador in Washington to find out "how to interpret all of this, and what is behind the Romanian and the Bulgarian surprise."
The Kremlin -- and this is the second reason behind Russia's agitation -- doesn't believe Washington's claim that the planned defensive missiles on Russia's western flank would only serve as a protection against Iran. "This is where the White House's age-old plan to suffocate our strategic armed forces and destroy our own intercontinental missiles, directly after START, is being implemented," say military experts in Moscow. They insist that Russia is being surrounded by an "anti-missile fence" that will provide the Americans with one-sided superiority.
It is technologically possible for missile defenses to protect against limited nuclear threats posed by regional aggressors such as North Korea. Yet the technology required to intercept a large number of long-range missiles equipped with decoys and countermeasures does not exist and may never exist. Even the most futuristic missile defenses will likely be overwhelmed by a well-equipped adversary that is willing simply to build more offensive missile forces. Political and military leaders will never be completely sure that missile defenses will intercept all of an enemy's incoming missiles. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Russia Disputes US Claim on Missiles by Vladimir Radyuhin,
The Hindu, March 28, 2010
U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates said on Friday the U.S. "missile defence is not constrained by this treaty". The text of the treaty is yet to be published. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov strongly disagreed.
"There is nothing in this treaty that would make it easier for the United States to develop missile defences that would create risks for Russia," Mr. Lavrov told Russian TV station TV-Tsentr.
Conceding that Russia had no veto over U.S. anti-missile R&D programmes, Mr. Lavrov said the treaty established a "clear-cut link" between such programmes and "the quantity and quality of strategic offensive weapons".
Mr. Lavrov made it clear Russia could withdraw from the treaty ( New START) if the U.S. went ahead with building a global missile shield. Mr. Obama last year suspended the deployment of new missile defences.
"The treaty and all obligations arising from it only have force if in the context of the current levels of strategic defence systems," he said. "Any violation of these levels will allow the side which detected them to decide what it will do with its strategic offensive systems."
Sergei Prikhodko, President Dmitry Medvedev's foreign policy advisor, reaffirmed the Kremlin's assertion that it could withdraw from the new arms pact if it felt that Russia's national interests were imperiled by US missile defense plans
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Russia said on Tuesday the United States is ignoring its concerns about U.S. plans to build a missile shield with elements near Russia's borders.
While President Barack Obama pleased Moscow last year by scrapping the previous U.S. administration's missile defense plans, Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said Russia has similar worries about the revised U.S. approach.
In a statement, Nesterenko said "it is already clear" that the new blueprint "in essence posits the deployment in Europe of a missile defense architecture without taking into account Russia's justified interests and concerns."
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Poland on Saturday and witnessed the signing of a pact allowing the deployment of U.S. missile interceptors there.
Nesterenko said that despite promises of cooperation in gauging threats and considering responses, "it seems the American side ... has begun deploying elements of its missile defense system based on its own decisions and not joint ones."
The remarks suggest that missile defense could still sour ties between Moscow and Washington.
Obama scrapped a Bush-era plan for a longer-range system with interceptors based in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic as part of his campaign to "reset" ties with Russia, opting instead for smaller sea and land-based interceptors.
Both the Bush and Obama administrations have said a system is needed to protect against potential missile threats from nations such as Iran. But Nesterenko said U.S. assurances that its plans were no threat to Russia were insufficient.
"We are certain that missile threats to Europe that would require the deployment of a missile defense system on Russia's borders do not exist now and are not foreseen in the future," he said.
Russia has stressed that it could eventually withdraw from a landmark nuclear arms reduction pact signed in April if the United States develops a missile shield.
(Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Jon Hemming)
SOFIA, Bulgaria (Aug. 6) -- What if you had a missile system and nowhere to put part of it? That seems to be Washington's dilemma as it shops around for a site for a system meant to protect its forces and allies in Europe and the Mideast from possible missile attacks from Iran.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov this week denied a report in The Washington Post that his government was engaged in talks with Washington about hosting a radar station, a key part of the system intended to thwart Iran's budding missile capability, which might one day even include nuclear warheads. Turkey, another well-situated NATO member the Pentagon says it's been talking to, is even less willing to admit that it would consider hosting the facility. The so-called X-band radar ground station is supposed to enable the first phase of the administration's new missile defense shield over southern Europe and the Mediterranean, slated for a first phase of limited deployment next year. Other elements of the system are to be deployed in Israel and a number of U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf.
The system was conceived in part as a substitute for the missile system that the George W. Bush administration planned to deploy in Poland and the Czech Republic. The Obama administration pulled the plug on that system last fall, arguing that a broader system would do the job better -- and at the same time blunting fierce Russian opposition to the program.
The new shield will have high-tech Aegis combat ships armed with missile interceptors patrolling the Mediterranean and Black Seas, linked up with radar stations providing the ships with early warning if a missile is fired from Iran. Bulgaria's northern neighbor, Romania, agreed earlier this year to host elements of the system beginning in 2015, despite Russia's continued objections, but the Pentagon's efforts in Turkey and Bulgaria are running up against considerable political obstacles.
"With regards to Iran, Turkey is trying to establish more cordial relations," said Yaprak Gursoy, an expert on security issues at Istanbul's Bilgi University. "With the uranium swap deal and Turkey's decision in the United Nations Security Council to oppose a possible embargo on Iran, it is clear that Turkish foreign policy now involves having good relations with Iran. Why would they jeopardize that by allowing the U.S. to use Turkey as a location for the missile defense shield?"
Turkey imports a large amount of its energy from Iran, and though the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has not definitively said yes or no to the U.S. system, most observers there say even the possibility of improving relations with the West won't offset the political costs for hosting the station.
At issue isn't only Iran's shadow, but also Russia's. "Any radar tracking device deployed in Turkey [or Bulgaria] can and will track everything on the Russian airspace as well," wrote Mehmet Ali Tugtan, an expert on foreign policy and security issues at Bilgi University, in an e-mail. "Hence, the Russians regard this as a hostile act. The Russians believe a missile defense system in their vicinity, even if it is explicitly established against Iran, would impair the Russian second-strike capability. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to convince them otherwise."
Bulgaria shares a long history and common Slavic culture with Russia, making many Bulgarians hesitant to do anything that is considered to be against Russia.
While the Bulgarian prime minister's statements signal that political sensitivity, they don't necessarily sound a death knell for the deployment of the radar station, experts say. They do suggest that a perceived backroom deal between Washington and Sofia may not be the best approach.
"I am skeptical of the level of education of the broader public on this issue," said Plamen Pantev of the Institute for Security and International Studies in Sofia. "Bulgaria and NATO and the U.S. need a more active communication strategy to explain so it becomes understandable."
Pantev thinks it is likely that Bulgaria would eventually agree to host the radar station, as neighboring Romania has already agreed to host a land-based Aegis combat system in 2015. He said Bulgaria's participation will be more likely if NATO members vote in a November meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, to make missile defense part of the alliance's overall strategy, rather than the U.S. project it is now.
Adding what is best described as a very Bulgarian touch, Pantev said that since Bulgaria is a NATO and European Union member that is also historically close to Russia, its ideal missile defense shield would be a project that incorporates the U.S., NATO and Russia. "What would work best in the Bulgarian concept is an interpolar world," Pantev said. "Maybe that's wishful thinking."
US radar station. flickr.com/aperture7.1/cc-by-nc-sa 3.0
Washington has resumed its plans to build a missile shield in Europe and is about to sign a treaty with one of the Southern European countries on deploying a radar station as part of its air defense system. The new facility, aimed to counter a possible threat from Iran, may be commissioned as early as next year in either Turkey or Bulgaria.
Statements of the Pentagon and the White House on the approaching deployment of a radar station in the Black Sea basin may substantially aggravate the situation. This move will obviously complicate Washington's bilateral relations with Moscow, with regard to Russia's sharp criticism towards US missile defense elements in Poland and the Czech Republic. President Barack Obama had to considerably alter the American ABM concept to reset relationships with the Russian side. Although the new dispute is unlikely to start as yet, Russia is deeply concerned over US air defense systems close to its border.
Iran, whose alleged aggression America intends to promptly respond to, will also be dissatisfied with the new plans concerning missile defense elements, given Washington's active cooperation with Israel in this area. The US it now considering the possibility of deploying another radar station on its territory. This may be followed by Tehran's refusal to resume negotiations on its nuclear program.
The place where the new radar will be deployed is therefore by no means unimportant. In this respect, as one of the chief mediators in disputes between Iran and the West, Turkey may provoke a conflict involving Ankara and Tehran. It is worth mentioning here that Turkish diplomats recently managed to persuade Iran to enrich most of its uranium fuel in third countries. Senior Fellow with the Center for International Security at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations Vladimir Yevseyev believes Tehran will exert every effort to avoid this conflict:
"Iran will apparently convince Ankara of rejecting the deployment of a US radar station. This is also evidenced by the fact that both sides are closely cooperating to fight against the Kurdish opposition and conducting joint warfare."
Apart from this, Turkey has some other arguments, according to Director General of the Russian Political Information Center Alexei Mukhin:
"Relying upon its own development concept in the Mediterranean region, Turkey is behaving somewhat willfully at the NATO level and will not therefore tolerate the radar deployment. Bulgaria appears as a more profitable and probable variant, in light of Washington's strong influence on that country."
Many Bulgarians, like the Czech and the Polish, are fiercely opposed to the US plans. Thus, the Pentagon's decision on deploying a radar station in southern Europe may have severe negative consequences. In spite of this, America will not give up its plans to field ballistic missile interceptors in Romania by 2015.
Dr. Andrei Kokoshin is a scientist, scholar and author and is a Member of the State Duma of the Russian Federation.
"Practically by this time there is no threat of any war between USA and Russia. But the threat of proliferation of nuclear and other mass destruction weapons is growing. And we do not have adequate international mechanisms to cope with these problems. The public does not recognize fully the reality of the nuclear war, horrors of the potential use of all kinds of weapons of mass destruction. NTI, among other tasks, has to stimulate the efforts of politicians, scientists and experts to minimize the threat of the use of the weapons of mass destruction."
Dr. Andrei Kokoshin is a scientist, scholar and author and is a Member of the State Duma of the Russian Federation.
Between 1992 and 1997, Dr. Kokoshin served as First Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation and as State Secretary. From 1997 to 1998, Dr. Kokoshin was Secretary of Defense Council and Chief Military Inspector and then became Secretary of Russia's Security Council.
In 2003 he was elected to the post of Chairman of the State Duma's Committee for the Commonwealth of Independent States' Affairs and Relations with Compatriots. That same year he became Dean of the World Politics at Moscow University. Dr. Kokoshin is also a member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Institute for International Studies at Stanford University.
Dr. Kokoshin holds an engineering degree in radioelectronics fro
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