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U.S. Black Sea Military Buildup Could Trigger Missile War

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Last month news reports confirmed that the United States is to station interceptor missiles in Bulgaria and Romania as an extension of the Pentagon's European (and international) missile shield project. Details are still forthcoming, but what is all but certain is that the missiles are to be land-based versions of the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System with Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) medium-range anti-ballistic missiles, though there is already speculation that even more advanced deployments are planned.

Discussions of U.S. missile shield plans, which up until last month called for replacement of the plan for ground-based midcourse missiles in Poland and an accompanying X-band missile radar facility in the Czech Republic- centered on the Baltic and Eastern Mediterranean Seas, as well as on Israel and the Persian Gulf. Turkey and the South Caucasus (Georgia and Azerbaijan) were expected to be the next links.

Now it is evident that the main focus of U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization interceptor missile deployments will be in the Black Sea region. The announcement that Romania will host American missiles was made on February 4; the news that Bulgaria would follow suit was disclosed on February 12.

The Pentagon has acquired the use of seven military bases in Bulgaria and Romania since 2005 (though it used air bases in both nations for the 2003 war against Iraq and for the ongoing war in Afghanistan), immediately after both countries were formally inducted into NATO the year before.

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Washington has also transformed Georgia on the eastern shore of the Black Sea into a military outpost on Russia's southern border and has similar designs on Ukraine.

In the words of a Moldovan political analyst, "the United States is turning the Black Sea into an American lake." [1]

In recent days the Romanian press has shed more light on the details of planned U.S. interceptor missile deployments. Preliminary discussions "have suggested the implementation of around 20 interceptors in an "appropriate' location in Romania."

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In addition, "Negotiations between Romania and the United States on the ballistic missile defense [were] on the agenda of the talks the [Romanian] foreign minister had with his Bulgarian counterpart" on February 26. [2]

That is, the United States presented its demands to both countries almost simultaneously. The initiative began when U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs Ellen Tauscher recruited Romania for inclusion in Washington's missile shield system in early February. The Romanian Supreme Defense Council "approved the proposal of hosting SM-3 land-based interceptors as part of the Obama Administration's plans for "a gradual-adaptive approach to the ballistic missile defense in Europe.'" [3]

Another Romanian news source cited a higher figure for U.S. missiles to be deployed in the nation, 24, and, moreover, lamented that there had been no open discussion or debate on the topic. "There is no public poll or consultation, nor is there a demand for a referendum....In Poland and the Czech Republic there was an active and popular campaign against the Bush proposal for a missile shield and a radar in their countries. Here there is silence.

"Maybe even the USA is shocked at the ease at which the Romanian public has accepted the prospect of their country giving its land to Americans to launch missiles against potential nuclear weapons." [4]

A Russian analyst wrote that the stationing of Standard Missile-3 interceptors, whether in the dozens or the scores, is only the beginning of U.S. plans for the region. Or a ploy to disguise more dangerous designs.

"[I]t is reasonable to assume that the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) mobile ground-based radar system will be deployed in Romania instead of the SM-3 missile system, which hasn't been created yet. This system includes a radar station with a direction range of 1,000 kilometers, which could be deployed in Bulgaria, for example, as well as anti-ballistic missiles that can intercept targets within a radius of 200 kilometers at an altitude of 100-150 kilometers...."

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The author, Vladimir Yevseyev, senior research fellow at the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, added "the U.S. plans to deploy more powerful anti-ballistic missiles in Europe by 2018-2020. These will probably be silo-based missiles, for example upgraded SM-3 missiles with high runway speeds and interception altitudes exceeding 1,000 kilometers, making it possible to destroy not only ICBM warheads but also ballistic missiles launched by Russia." [5]

The forward-based X-band missile radar facility the Pentagon set up in Israel in late 2008 has a range of 2,900 miles, and in conjunction with land- and ship-based interceptor missiles in Poland and the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea and the Turkish mainland, the South Caucasus and elsewhere, could track and neutralize the bulk of Russia's nuclear forces, both land-based missiles and strategic bombers.

Regarding the potential and the possible consequences of a U.S. military buildup in the Black Sea Alexander Khramchikhin, deputy director of the Institute of Political and Military Analysis in Russia, recently wrote that "each U.S. cruiser or destroyer has two Mk-41 vertical missile launchers with 90-122 compartments for storing Tomahawk cruise missiles, a family of surface-to-air Standard missiles or RUR-5 ASROC anti-submarine rockets" and "the U.S. Navy...can launch Tomahawks from the Black Sea's southeastern sector to hit six divisions of the Russian Strategic Missile Force accounting for 60% of the country's intercontinental ballistic missiles."

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/
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