Sunday, June 14, 2009

It's Good to Have Allies

LONDON: A planned US missile shield may not strengthen Europe's security and could hurt NATO's interests if deployed in the face of Russian opposition, British members of parliament said yesterday. The United States says the anti-missile system is designed to prevent potential attacks from countries such as Iran, but the plan has outraged Moscow which sees it as a threat.

Russia has urged Washington to drop its plan to put 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic. Both former Soviet satellites are now NATO members. Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, made up of legislators from the main political parties, voiced reservations about the US plan in a report on weapons proliferation. "We are not convinced that, as they are currently envisaged and under current circumstances, the United States' planned ballistic missile defense (BMD) deploy
ments in the Czech Republic and Poland represent a net gain for European security," it said.

We conclude that if the deployments are carried out in the face of opposition from Russia, this could be highly detrimental to NATO's overall security interests," the report said. It did not elaborate but Moscow has threatened to respond to the shield by placing short-range Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave, between NATO members Poland and Lithuania. If a ballistic missile defense system in Europe were to be developed at all, it should be as a joint system between the United States, NATO and Russia, the committee said.

The British government's early agreement to allow two Royal Air Force (RAF) bases in Britain to be used as part of the US missile defense system was "regrettable, given that the United States' development of its system involved its abrogation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty," the committee said. The United States withdrew from the treaty in 2002. (From the Kuwait Times)

I'd respond but it seems the Brits feel there's no such thing as a unilateral treaty? I'd better get permission from Moscow to discuss US-UK relations. After all, if the Special Relationship persists in the face of Russian opposition, that might not be a net gain for European security...

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