Saturday, May 05, 2007

Is the new U.S. missile defense system heating up the Cold War?

If I relied on our mainstream press, I would think that Russia is responsible for what is starting to feel like a “the global warming” of the Cold War. Russia is objecting to the new US plan for a missile defense system in Europe, the subject of my April 27 post, The U.S. missile defense system "blowback".

For instance, from the May 2, Washington Post’s Missile Test, “Vladimir Putin has skillfully and cynically used the administration's plans to deploy 10 interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic as a way to stir up trouble in NATO and to justify new steps in Russia's increasingly belligerent foreign policy -- such as moving toward the renunciation of a treaty limiting conventional military forces in Europe. The administration is right to call Mr. Putin's broadsides 'ludicrous.'"

On May 4, the New York Times op ed, Reading Russia Right:”The criticism by Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, of the United States and NATO put one in mind of an alpha dog at the junkyard gate — tough, unrelenting, pugnacious…. But to insist that the United States and NATO are the enemy? The argument contradicts Russia’s own interests, never mind that it has little link to reality. The cold war is, in fact, over.”

I don’t rely on the mainstream press. For instance, I receive frequent e-mail alerts from the Global Security Newswire, a Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) service. This past week, I received the following e-mail alerts:

May 3, House Panel Cuts Missile Defense Funding: “A U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee yesterday eliminated funding in the fiscal 2008 budget for construction of a missile interceptor site in Poland….'The Bush administration has not adequately addressed Russian and NATO concerns about the project,' said subcommittee Chairwoman Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.)."

May 4, Democrats Question U.S. Missile Defense Plans. In addition to questioning the value of the system itself, the article states, “Lawmakers also addressed Russia’s frequently voiced objections to placing 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic. 'Defying Moscow in this instance could damage efforts to drive Iran away from its suspected nuclear weapons program,' said Representative Brad Sherman (D-Calif.).

'We need cooperation on Iran,' Sherman said. 'I can think of no better way to ensure that Russia will do very little to help stop the Iranian program than to stick it to them by putting our missiles in what used to be their allies.'”

Finally, take a moment to read Katrina vanden Huevel’s April 30 post, The New Cold War.

(photo- logo of Nuclear Threat Initiative)

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