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NATO And The Expansion Of BMD Systems Into Europe

File photo: A ground-based anti-missile site, Fort Greeley, Alaska.
by Viktor Litovkin
Outside View Commentator
Moscow (UPI) Aug 02, 2006
America's NATO allies are becoming increasingly involved in the U.S. National Missile Defense project, a top Russian general writes. Russian Chief of the General Staff Gen. Yuri Baluyevsky published an articles entitled "NMD: What Next?" in the Russian national defense weekly Voenno-Promyshlenny Kuryer 10 days after the G8 summit in St. Petersburg.

Leaders as senior as the chief of staff, who is also deputy defense minister, seldom write articles for the Russian press.

The United States has already created two ground-based anti-missile sites, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California, and at Fort Greeley, in Alaska and it has also held moderately successful tests of sea-launched anti-missiles, which make up the core of mobile NMD systems. The United States intends to deploy the first tier of the NMD system in some of the member countries. Baluyevsky in his article mentioned Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Turkey and Bulgaria.

Washington claims that the missile programs of Iran and North Korea are the main threat, but Baluyevsky writes that U.S. actions show that it thinks the threat is coming not from Tehran or Pyongyang, whose possibilities are limited, but from Russia and China. This poses a direct threat to Russia's security.

Russia's leaders said several years ago that America's withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty would not affect Russia's deterrence potential. But the situation has changed radically, and now Russia is worried about the deployment of some NMD elements, especially the construction of the first anti-missile base and the requisite infrastructure in Alaska, which is fanning tensions in the region.

According to Baluyevsky, the sea-launched U.S. Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System is a potential threat to the Russian sea-based nuclear forces. But Russia is especially worried about the Pentagon's plans to deploy NMD elements in space, and build early warning radars and place silo-launched interceptor missiles in Central and Eastern European countries. The Russian general claims the implementation of these plans would disrupt the balance of Russian and American strategic delivery vehicles.

To begin with, NMD silos can be easily converted to launch ballistic missiles that could reach the most remote targets in European Russia.

Besides, by deploying NMD elements overseas, the United States is shifting responsibility for the consequences of a potential ballistic conflict to Europe, a fact that cannot please the leaders of European countries, including Russia. The interception of ballistic missiles using weapons of mass destruction, notably nuclear warheads, over Europe could provoke a fatal environmental catastrophe.

But the biggest problem with a large-scale NMD system, according to Baluyevsky, is that it cannot guarantee reliable protection from weapons of mass destruction because it is designed only to destroy ballistic missiles. The Sept. 11 tragedy showed that weapons of mass destruction can be delivered to a target using non-military, terrorist methods, as well as using less technologically complicated, simpler and cheaper methods, such as cruise missiles, aircraft and warships.

Gen. Baluyevsky suggests that the United States should stop squandering taxpayers' money on a useless NMD program, which could provoke a new round of the arms race, and should instead join forces with Russia and the other leading global powers to create a truly effective system of protection against threats which an NMD system can do nothing to counteract.

He also warns that disregard for Russia's warning could change the nuclear strategic reduction policy, forcing Moscow "to develop relevant research programs and technological elements for eliminating the negative consequences" of U.S. actions.

The general does not say exactly what Moscow would do, but notes that "the Russian defense industry has a substantial and growing potential, which can ensure the maintenance and improvement of its technologies and the production of improved weapons and military equipment."

He mentions successful tests of modern strategic systems that could effectively penetrate the current and prospective defense systems. Russia is convinced that it "will be able to produce a suitable response to any attempts to endanger its security," Baluyevsky writes.

(Viktor Litovkin is a defense commentator for the RIA Novosti news agency. This article is reprinted by permission of RIA Novosti.)

(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited.)

Source: United Press International

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Japan May Speed Up BMD Deployment Timetable
Washington (UPI) Aug 01, 2006
Japan's former Liberal Democratic Party Vice President Taku Yamasaki has expressed optimism on the possibility of deploying a missile defense system earlier than currently planned.







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