Argument: A European missile defense system threatens and antagonizes Russia

Issue Report: European missile defense


Peter Brookes. “The Case for European Missile Defense”. Heritage. March 14, 2008 – nothing is making Russia’s ties with the United States or Europe more suspicious—and contentious—than the simmering disagreement over Washington’s plans to deploy anti-missile capabilities in Eastern Europe.

Although the Kremlin agreed to move beyond the Cold War strategic balance of power with the signing of the 2002 Moscow Treaty, Russian President Vladimir Putin has had a significant change of heart about missile defenses, especially those of other parties. Indeed, Putin drew parallels at an October European Union (EU) summit between the plans for an Eastern European missile shield and the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, which saw the two sides go to the brink of nuclear war.[5] A day later, the commander of the Russian Strategic Missile Forces, Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov, warned that Moscow could restart the production of short- and medium-range missiles on short notice if directed, raising fears of rising major power tensions.[6]

Joanne Landy and Thomas Harrison. “Pushing Missile Defense in Europe”. February 22, 2008 – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called Russian concerns “ludicrous,” insisting that the Czech-Polish missile defense is aimed at Iran and not Russia. Yet U.S. officials rejected Russia’s offer to make available to the United States the data from early-warning radar in Azerbaijan and Armavir, Russia, and not to object to U.S. missile defense interceptors being stationed in Iraq or Turkey or other southern European sites, nor to the United States employing ship-based interceptors. Washington’s lack of interest in Russia’s proposal reveals the real intent of the Czech-Polish anti-missile defense: to counter Russia’s deterrent. If the goal were just to defend against a putative Iranian threat, the alternatives suggested by the Russians would actually be more effective.

George Monbiot. “George Monbiot: US facilities in Europe to shoot down Russian missiles”. The Guardian. 29 June 2008 – (…) the purpose of the missile defence system is “to address the emerging threat from rogue states”. This is a claim that only an idiot or a member of the British government could believe. If, as Browne and Bush maintain, the system is meant to shoot down intercontinental missiles fired by Iran and North Korea (missiles, incidentally, that they do not and might never possess), why are its major components being installed in Poland and the Czech Republic? To bait the Russian bear for fun?