Institute for Domestic & International Affairs, Inc.
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Missile Defense Director: Alex Lewis
ÂŠ 2009 Institute for Domestic & International Affairs, Inc. (IDIA) This document is solely for use in preparation for Philadelphia Model United Nations 2009. Use for other purposes is not permitted without the express written consent of IDIA. For more information, please write us at email@example.com
Policy Dilemma ______________________________________________________________ 1 Chronology __________________________________________________________________ 3 1990 â€“ 1992: The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe________________________ 3 2002: US Announces Plan for Missile Defense System in Eastern Europe ___________________ 4 2002: Russia Adamantly Disapproves of USâ€™s Anti-Ballistic Missile System Plans ____________ 4 June 2007: Russia Proposes Azerbaijan as Alternative Location __________________________ 5 June 2007: US Rejects Russia Azerbaijan Proposal _____________________________________ 6 July 2007: Russia Suspends Agreement with CFE Treaty ________________________________ 6 February 2008: Poland and Czech Republic Agree to Host Missile Defense System___________ 7 May 2008: Joint Declaration and the 123 Agreement ____________________________________ 7 June 2008: Russia Begins Mass Production of Strategic Missiles __________________________ 8 5 November 2008: New US President, Barack Obama, Challenged by Russia________________ 9
Actors and Interests ___________________________________________________________ 9 The United States of America _______________________________________________________ 9 Russia__________________________________________________________________________ 11 Poland and the Czech Republic_____________________________________________________ 13
Possible Causes _____________________________________________________________ 15 US Manipulation of Public Fears and Events _________________________________________ 15 Maintaining US International Security ______________________________________________ 16 The Obstacle of Russian Intervention________________________________________________ 17 Comparison of Possible Causes _____________________________________________________ 19
Projections and Implications___________________________________________________ 19 Conclusion _________________________________________________________________ 21 Works Cited ________________________________________________________________ 22
Policy Dilemma Relations between Russia and the West have grown increasingly fragile and tense in recent years. Ever since the United States (US) announced its plans to develop a missile defense system in Poland and Czech Republic, Russia has been publicly denouncing the plans. The US aims to develop an anti-ballistic missile defense system, more commonly known as an ABM system. Ballistic missiles are characterized by their accelerating projectiles and potential for destruction. Such missiles are most commonly used for nuclear purposes, but can also be deployed as chemical and biological weapons. The race to create ABMs started during Cold War times when both the US and Soviet Union feared complete obliteration from their counterparts. However, the 1972 Treaty on Anti-Ballistic Missile systems restricted and limited the use and development ABMs. Then, in 2002, the US withdrew from the treaty and continued its plans to build a defense system in Europe. The proposed defense system, which is projected to be functional by 2015, is capable of deterring ballistic missiles coming anywhere from the Middle East to North Korea. The US claims that this system has the potential to further the fight against terrorism as well as to enhance the security of the NATO alliance.1 The specifics of the plan include ten interceptors to be based in Poland and a midcourse radar system located in Czech Republic. The interceptors, which are almost identical to the US interceptors in Alaska and California, are defensive tools, with the ability to destroy incoming missiles. The radar system is more of a tracking than surveillance device, as it is able to follow missiles after they have been launched.2 In early February 2008, both states agreed to host the defense shield, but negotiations are still underway. Threatened by the proposed defense system, Russia has continually voiced its adamant disapproval of the USâ€™s plans, concerned that the system will impede its own defenses and ultimately be used against them. Former Russian President Vladimir Putin 1
MDA, â€œProposed Missile Defense Assets in Europe,â€? 15 June 2007, http://www.mda.mil/mdaLink/pdf/euroassets.pdf 2 Ibid
stated that the US’s refusal to negotiate the location of the defense system might eventually lead to an arms race, and inevitable mutual destruction. Putin put his words into action by suspending Russia’s participation in the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). By pulling out of this treaty, Russia was no longer obligated to allow NATO states to inspect military sites or to restrict its weapon proliferation.3 Currently, Russia has succeeded in building and testing new missiles that are more advanced and undetectable by US defenses. It is clear that Russia will not back down and allow the US to build its defense system without coming to a compromise or agreement. Many attempts to alleviate this issue have been made in the past. At the 2007 G8 summit in Germany, Putin announced a plan to use the radar system in Azerbaijan instead of Poland. Putin also proposed that Russia and the US work jointly to operate the defense system.4 However, the US looked unfavorably upon the suggestion, claiming that Poland and Czech Republic are better strategic locations and that the capabilities of the radar in Azerbaijan are inadequate.
The US was also hesitant to share such a
powerful national defense system with another state.5 On May 5th 2008, the US and Russia both signed the Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation. This agreement provides both states with a framework for strengthening ties and working together towards the implementation of peaceful uses of nuclear energy. However, the agreement only acknowledges that both states disagree on the missile defense system; it does not resolve the issue.6 On a global level, the UN has set up committees to prepare a 2010 Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, which would aim to advance disarmament. Minor steps toward a solution have been made, but a multilateral effort is still needed. 3
BBC News Online, “Russia Suspends Arms Control Pact,” 14 July 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6898690.stm 4 C.J Chivers, “Putin Offers Alternatives on Missile Defense,” The New York Times, 8 June 2007, http://www.nytimes.com 5 Thom Shanker, “US to Keep Europe as Site for Missile Defense,” 15 June 2007, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com 6 US Department of State, “U.S.-Russia Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation (123 Agreement)”, 15 May 2008, http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/fs/104917.htm
Issues of national security and nuclear weapons concern everyone on a local, national, and global scale. The tension between the US and Russia is reminiscent of the Cold War. For half a century, these two states engaged in a bitter rivalry, building up their arms and engaging in proxy wars. Although the Cold War mainly concerned the US and Russia, many other states entered into war and were drastically affected. It is important for the welfare of everyone that the tensions between the West and Russia do not escalate into another arms race, because with today’s technological advancements nuclear warfare would undoubtedly lead to turmoil and devastation.
Chronology 1990 – 1992: The Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe The 1990 Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, more familiarly known as the CFE Treaty, was drafted to ensure that states follow equal standards and limits regarding military equipment. The states involved included all members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact.7 The Treaty established equal ceilings and national limits for major military weapons, such as tanks, combat vehicles and attack helicopters. All states were given 40 months to adjust their military arsenal so that after that time period, all regulations and stipends would be met.
Excess equipment and armory had to be
destroyed. The CFE finally went into action on 17 July 1992.8 The Treaty was intended to increase security and stability within Europe and prevent either NATO or Warsaw member from having the ability to conduct surprise attacks. However, years later, many states started to accuse others of violating treaty rules, resulting in frustration and anxiety. Arguments over this treaty created the backdrop for heated tensions between the US and Russia.
Center For Defense Information, “Russia and the CFE Treaty: The Limits of Coercion,” 1 December 2007, http://www.cdi.org 8 Federation of American Scientists, “Treaty on Convention Forces in Europe,” http://www.fas.org/nuke/control/cfe/index.html (accessed 1 July 2008)
2002: US Announces Plan for Missile Defense System in Eastern Europe Since 2002, the US has engaged in ongoing talks with Poland and the Czech Republic about the possibility of installing an anti-ballistic missile defense system in the two states. With the number of states possessing ballistic missile technology rapidly growing, the US felt it was in the best interest of the US and Europe to create a defense system that had the capability to protect against rogue missiles. Over the years, leaders from all three states met and discussed the details of the potential plans.
negotiations did not begin until February 2007. After gaining knowledge of the missile development programs and testing facilities present in both North Korea and Iran, the US made it their goal to create a system that could potentially track and deter missiles coming from those two states. A successful system would strengthen trans-Atlantic ties and reflect the US’s dedication towards protecting European security.9
Russian officials believe that although the US may be claiming to further its fight against terrorism, most states and extremists groups do not have access to ballistic missiles and usually resort to other destructive tactics.
2002: Russia Adamantly Disapproves of US’s Anti-Ballistic Missile System Plans Former Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticized the defense system ever since it was first announced in 2002. Given the close proximity of the defense system to Russia, Putin voiced great concern that the system posed a threat to the state’s national security. Believing that the system could be used against Russia, Putin notified the US that if negotiations were not made Russia would take military action. This event was all too reminiscent of the Cold War.10 To understand Russia’s concern, one must be familiar with the specifics of the US’s plan. Ultimately, the plan calls for ten interceptors to be placed in Poland, and a 9
MDA, “Proposed Missile Defense Assets in Europe,” 15 June 2007, http://www.mda.mil/mdaLink/pdf/euroassets.pdf 10 USA Today, “General says Russia will counter U.S. missile defense plans,” 27 May 2008, http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-05-27-us-russia_N.htm
radar system to be based in Czech Republic. Each interceptor would be capable of deploying a hit-to-kill vehicle directly above the Earth’s surface to destroy targeted missiles. Any resulting debris from a successful mission would disintegrate and burn en route to the Earth’s atmosphere. The X-band radar system in Czech Republic would use information gathered from land and sea-based sensors to track and monitor launched missiles that pose a direct threat. The US claims that the emissions of the ray beams are harmless to surrounding villages and towns, posing no threat to human life. Together, the interceptors and radar system would work to track and deter ballistic missiles.11 The tensions between the US and Russia only grew after details of the Defense plan were made public. Although the anti-ballistic missile system provides Europe with greater security, it also fosters frustration with neighboring states.
June 2007: Russia Proposes Azerbaijan as Alternative Location President Putin expressed Russia’s deep concern and frustration regarding the US missile defense system. On 8 June 2007, he proposed a solution that would combine Russian and American interests into a shared missile defense system. Putin’s two part deal included using a preexisting radar in Azerbaijan’s Caucasus Mountains. The deal stated that Russia would not object to interceptors being placed in Iraq, Turkey, or in the seas. Overall, this plan would replace the interceptors and radar that the US intended to deploy in Poland and the Czech Republic. Although Putin was confident that this would be the stepping stone towards strengthened US-Russia relations, he was disproved when President Bush quickly voiced his doubts over the feasibility of the plan.
Secretary-General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, discussed how Azerbaijan would not be an ideal location because of its close proximity to launch sites in Iran.
MDA, “Proposed Missile Defense Assets in Europe,” 15 June 2007, http://www.mda.mil/mdaLink/pdf/euroassets.pdf
June 2007: US Rejects Russia Azerbaijan Proposal Many analysts have doubted the capabilities of the Russian-operated radar system, stating that the radar is not as technologically advanced as the one the US plans to locate in Czech Republic. Azerbaijan’s radar serves as an early warning system, capable of spotting missiles in a wide range but incapable of tracking the missiles as they approach a target. The X-band radar, proposed for the Czech Republic, would have the ability to track missiles mid flight and then communicate with interceptors to ensure that they travel directly to the missiles.12 A week later, US Secretary General, Robert Gates, announced that despite the generous offer from Russia, the US would not waver in its plans to set up a defense system in Eastern Europe. Gates reinforced the idea of having the Russian-operated radar system as a complement to the US system, but not as a replacement. Russian officials publicly announced that if the US went ahead with the missile defense plans without addressing Russia’s concerns, they would not hesitate to retarget missiles on Europe. Although many believed that bilateral talks between the US and Russia would lead to a peaceful solution and an end to Cold War-like tensions, the US’s decision to continue its plans only intensified bitter feelings between the two states.
July 2007: Russia Suspends Agreement with CFE Treaty Concerned with the hypocrisy surrounding the CFE Treaty, former president Vladimir Putin decided to suspend Russia’s participation in the treaty. He officially signed a federal decree, relieving Russia from obliging to the treaty’s military restrictions, on 14 July 2007. Although Putin did not fully withdraw from the pact, the suspension meant that Russia would not have to submit to military inspections or give up any information unwillingly.13 The United State’s plans to establish a missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic is a major reason that drove Putin to suspend agreement with the treaty. Russia believed that creation of such military bases was both 12
Victor Yasmann, “Russia: Is Putin's Azerbaijan Radar Proposal Serious?” 9 June 2007, http://www.globalsecurity.org/space/library/news/2007/space-070608-rferl03.htm 13 BBC News Online, “Russia Suspends Arms Control Pact,” 14 July 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6898690.stm
an encroachment on the guidelines of the treaty as well as a direct threat to Russian security. Seeing that the U.S did not make any adjustments to accommodate Russia’s concerns, Putin decided to enact the landmark moratorium. Many NATO members believed that Russia’s actions were a step towards further instability and chaos rather than a step towards peace.
February 2008: Poland and Czech Republic Agree to Host Missile Defense System Only after extended negotiations and business deals did Poland and the Czech Republic agree to the terms of the US missile defense system. Because of Russia’s intensifying threats, both states pushed Washington to offer more security guarantees. Establishing this unit will foster new business, military and security alliances between Eastern Europe and the United States. In February of 2008, Poland officially agreed to the US’s plans. Russia warned that if Poland and the Czech Republic went ahead with the plans it would reinstate missile bases closer to its western borders.
compensate for the risks Poland would incur by hosting the missile defense system, the US agreed to aid and support military modernization in both air and land facilities.14 The Czech Republic also agreed in principle to the US’s plans in late February 2008. Minor details still need to be worked out, such as environmental protection issues, and negotiations remain open.
Many officials hope that the construction efforts of the
defense shield will foster economic growth and help local companies profit.
May 2008: Joint Declaration and the 123 Agreement In the same month that agreements were reached among Poland, the Czech Republic, and the US, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that Russia will continue to defend its national interests, and only enter confrontation if provoked. Both states have stood by their policies, unwilling to compromise their military strategies. However, in early May 2008, the US and Russia signed a landmark nuclear pact titled the 14
Karen DeYoung, “U.S., Poland Closer to Deal on Missile Defense,” The Washington Post, 2 February 2008, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/01/AR2008020101910.html
123 agreement. This agreement is intended to set the framework for peaceful uses of nuclear technology for both Russia and the US.15 Putin and Bush have recently made several efforts to sustain a healthy relationship between their respective states. Both agreed on a future missile defense system that would offer international security. But regarding current situations, Putin continued to denounce the US’s plans in Poland and the Czech Republic. In April 2008, both Presidents also drafted and signed the Strategic Framework Declaration, also known as the Joint Declaration. The Declaration discusses ways for the two states to share the responsibility against the spread of terrorism and the misuse of weapons of mass destruction. Most importantly, it outlines ways to promote international security in a world that is constantly facing new threats.16 However, the Joint Declaration did not solve any issues regarding the missile defense system, which Russia still adamantly disapproves of. The Declaration does attest to the efforts made by both states to strive for a healthy relationship.
June 2008: Russia Begins Mass Production of Strategic Missiles In June 2008, Russia reported successfully testing newly produced ballistic missiles. Russian officials claim that the unpredictable pathway of the RS-24 missile allows it to penetrate through any defense shield. This indicates that Poland’s interceptors and Czech’s X-band radar are incapable of destroying it.17 In response to Russia’s expression of military strength, the US reiterated that the defense system in Eastern Europe is of no threat to Russia. Regardless, Russia continued to build and test new and more advanced missiles. Also, Putin reported the successful proliferation of the Topol-M ballistic missiles.
This missile maneuvers in a zigzag fashion, allowing it to fly
undetected by radar systems. Former President Putin blatantly warned the US that he
US Department of State, “U.S.-Russia Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation (123 Agreement)”, 15 May 2008, http://www.state.gov/p/eur/rls/fs/104917.htm 16 The White House, “Fact Sheet: U.S.-Russia Strategic Framework Declaration,” April 2008, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2008/04/20080406-5.html 17 Padraic Flanagan, “Russia Arms Warning to the US,” The Sunday Express, 20 July 2008, http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/8336/Russia+arms+warning+to+U.S.
could point Russia’s new arsenal of weapons at any state, specifically the states destined to host the US defense system.18
5 November 2008: New US President, Barack Obama, Challenged by Russia On 5 November 2008, Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. Barely one hour after the news, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev publicly stated his intentions of deploying “missiles in Kaliningrad that could attack U.S. military targets in Poland.”19 Since the US has not yet carried out their plan of placing interceptors in Poland, the targets Medvedev was referring to do not really exist. However, the announcement caused controversy worldwide. The US expressed disappointment regarding the statement by Medvedev, while Poland was outraged and their fears of retaliation from Russia strengthened, and NATO became very concerned.20 The announcement exemplified the fact that Russia still felt cornered by the US missile defense plan, and exhibited that Russia-US relations were still strained.
Actors and Interests The United States of America The US has been extensively involved in missile development programs in Eastern Europe for decades. Former president Ronald Regan introduced the Strategic Defense Initiative in 1983. This program was designed to protect the state from attacks against nuclear ballistic missiles.21 Regan’s program became the foundation for future antiballistic measures. But it was not until former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld organized the Missile Defense Agency that the US actively pursued the deployment of an anti-ballistic missile system in Eastern Europe. The official mission statement of the 18
USA Today, “General says Russia will counter U.S. missile defense plans,” 27 May 2008, http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-05-27-us-russia_N.htm 19 EastWest Institute, “President-Elect Obama and the Russian Challenge,” 7 November 2008, http://www.iews.org/announcements/news/index.cfm?title=News&view=detail&nid=675&aid=6499 (accessed November 19, 2008). 20 Ibid. 21 “Strategic Defense Initiative,” Wikipedia, 11 July 2008, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_Defense_Initiative
organization is to “To develop and field an integrated, layered, ballistic missile defense system to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies, and friends against all ranges of enemy ballistic missiles in all phases of flight.”22 For such reasons, the US pushed for a European based defense system. President Bush claims that extra security is only for the good of Poland, the Czech Republic, and NATO.
Unlike many other
European states who doubt the validity of a serious ballistic missile threat, the US has officially declared its views on the subject. Believing that Iran and North Korea pose a legitimate threat to global safety, the Bush administration drafted the anti-ballistic missile plan to free states from the fear of terrorism. Despite the US’s seemingly good intentions, the plan for a defense system was met with great criticism. Russia in particular, interpreting the US’s moves as a direct threat to its national security, made every attempt to thwart the US’s actions. The major players in the dilemma over the defense system are clearly Russia and the US. Hoping to ease tensions and frustrations, Bush repeatedly assured former President Putin that the system would in no way be a treat to Russia. The MDA’s goal is to install an integrated defense system that will discourage other rogue states from even considering ballistic missile proliferation.
Optimally, the US would like to see the construction of an
interceptor site and midcourse radar in Poland and the Czech Republic. After already witnessing the success of the interceptors located in Alaska and California, the Bush administration is confident that Poland’s more enhanced interceptors will be just as effective. Likewise, the radar that is to be installed in Czech Republic is currently located in the Marshall Islands. It has run successfully for the past 10 years. There have been no documented cases of harmful effects caused by the radar system on nearby communities.23 Thus, the US is hopeful that if everything goes as planned, extra security for itself and its allies will be achieved.
Mission Defense Agency, “Mission,” http://www.mda.mil/mdalink/html/aboutus.html (accessed 5 July 2008) Missile Defense Agency, “Fact Sheet: European Capability Initiative,” July 2008, http://www.mda.mil/mdaLink/pdf/esi.pdf 23
Seeing that more and more regimes have gained access to ballistic missiles, the US believes that the only way to combat the intensifying threat is to increase defensive capabilities. The US claims that the real motivation behind the missile defense system is to achieve better security for itself and its allies. The highly publicized nuclear tests and missile launches in Iran and North Korea gave the Bush administration sufficient evidence to deploy a comprehensive anti-ballistic missile system.
For example, in
November 2006, Iran conducted a series of military exercises aimed at enhancing and unifying the state’s offensive capabilities. Titled the Great Prophet II, Iran’s military initiative was seen globally as a sign of aggression and show of force.24 A more unified shield over Europe and a strongly connected system of allies are just a couple of the main goals the US hopes to reach by construction a defense system. A main issue the US has to address is coming to terms with Russia. Putin’s prior idea of stationing a radar system in former the USSR territory of Azerbaijan did not go over well with US officials. However, admiring Russia’s efforts to compromise, Bush promised to engage in a future security system that would require international efforts, meaning that both the US and Russia would be involved in a joint defense program. The 123 Agreements and Join Declaration are also testaments of progress made towards a more transparent and healthier relationship between the US and Russia regarding military security.
Russia For almost 30 years, starting in 1972, the US and Russia were committed to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, which kept the two states on equal levels in terms of defense systems. Realizing the devastating effects of ballistic missiles, the US and Russia agreed to prevent an arms race by signing a treaty that limited their offensive and defensive capabilities. The ABM treaty has often been viewed as “the cornerstone of strategic stability”, and any measure taken against the treaty would disrupt international 24
Neda Bolourchi, “Iran’s Defensive Posturing,” Asia Times Online, 23 November 2006, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/HK23Ak03.html
security.25 Russian officials repeatedly stood by the original treaty, disapproving of any attempts made by the US to modify it. In the late 1990s, the US was focused on establishing an anti-ballistic missile defense system in Alaska. However, this action would have exceeded the limitations of the ABM treaty, and the US decided to withdraw from the treaty.
Russia officially stated that the US’s actions could cause further
destruction, leading to a potential arms race and imbalance of power. Russia’s reaction towards the development of a defense system in Eastern Europe was similar if not identical. Russian officials threatened that it would also consider backing out of military related treaties and agreements if deemed necessary. Just as the US announced plans of building a system in Poland the Czech Republic, Russia suspended its obligation to the Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty. Believing that the US was gaining superiority in missile defense, Russia tried to convince the Bush administration to reconsider its plans in Poland and the Czech Republic. Considering the close proximity of Poland and the Czech Republic to Russia, former President Putin made clear to the US that the proposed defense system would infringe upon his state’s security, and give him just reason to retaliate. Although US officials reported that the anti-ballistic missile system does not have the potential to harm Russia, Putin steadfastly denounced the plans. Ultimately, Putin hoped that the US would want to cooperate and unite with Russia to create a universal program that would strengthen international security as a whole. In the late 1990s, Russia brainstormed numerous programs and initiatives that would help regulate arms control and ease tension between armed nations. Such a diplomatic shield was possible under Russia’s proposed Global Missile and Missile Technology Non-Proliferation Control System.26 Introduced in 1999, this program would increase transparency between nations with offensive and defensive ballistic systems, therefore easing feelings of threat or fear. The program would also provide incentives to 25
Amy Woolf, “National Missile Defense: Russia’s Reaction,” 14 June 2002, https://www.policyarchive.org/bitstream/handle/10207/1208/RL30967_20020614.pdf?sequence=2 26 Ibid
nations to give up their military equipment in exchange for other goods. Thus, in the end, states would experience greater communication and missile proliferation would be at an all time low. However optimal this program would have been for Russia, US officials were somewhat hesitant to agree. Although the Bush and Clinton administration both agreed with Russia’s intent, replacing the defensive system with this program was still out of the question. Almost a decade later, in 2007, Putin offered the US an alternative to the proposed radar system in the Czech Republic. Putin said that the US and Russia could jointly operate and use the already present radar system in Azerbaijan. However, the US refused the offer, claiming that the radar to be installed in the Czech Republic will have higher accuracy and tracking capabilities.27 Putin’s proposal was however also a move of self gain, for Russia would have been able to better its’ reputation.
Poland and the Czech Republic Both Poland and the Czech Republic are fairly young members of NATO, only achieving membership in March 1999. These former communist nations have made progress in forming more modernized foreign polices that are no longer entangled with Soviet Union ideals.
Poland has been successful in reorganizing and renewing its
military. The state reflects western principles of democratization and freedom.28 Both states have officially denounced terrorists and contributed to the Global War on Terrorism.29 History shows how Poland and the Czech Republic have progressively grown out of Russia’s sphere of influence, and taken on more modern identities, reflective of their allies’ policies. In terms of missile defense systems, Poland cautiously agreed with the US’s plans, fearing retribution from Russia and other states while the Czech Republic has been more confident about plans after sorting out technicalities.
Thom Shanker, “US to Keep Europe as Site for Missile Defense,” 15 June 2007, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com 28 US Department of State, “Background Note: Poland,” June 2008, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2875.htm#foreign 29 US Department of State, “Background Note: Czech Republic,” January 2008, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3237.htm#defense
Formal talks on the missile defense system between the US and Poland began in late May 2007. Although the Bush administration has previously brought up the idea of constructing a security shield over Europe, the plan was not solidified until May. After several rounds of negotiations, the US and Poland finally agreed on a deal. Poland never truly considered missile threats from Iran and North Korea as imminent, despite their close proximity.
Officials agreed that such nations do not have the capability of
producing intricate warfare equipment.30 Thus, Poland said that it only agrees with the US’s plans with the intentions of strengthening its alliance with the West and promoting ideals of peace.31 In exchange, the US has agreed to help the state modernize its land and air defense. Taking into consideration that Russia is now a strong threat to Polish security, Poland officials felt it was only necessary for the US upgrade its armed forces. More specifically, Poland wants to install Patriot missile batteries that will face Russia and Belarus. The Bush administration has been funding Poland annually with USD $27 million, and has promised to increase the military funding by an extra USD $20 million.32 After the US ensured Poland that it would be getting extensive military aid and a fortified alliance, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk and President Bush closed the deal early July 2008. The Czech Republic, compared to Poland, has taken a more subtle approach with the US regarding the anti-ballistic missile defense system. Both Poland and the Czech Republic did agree to synchronize their efforts to achieve more bargaining power with the US. Prime Ministers Donald Tusk and Mirek Topolanek collaborated to ensure that their states interests would be protected if the US’s plans were executed. One major area of concern for many Czechs involved the environmental repercussions of such a massive radar system. Topolanek said that he would not agree to the plans if strict environmental
Karen DeYoung, “U.S., Poland Closer to Deal on Missile Defense,” 2 February 2008, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/01/AR2008020101910.html 31 Janusz Bugajski and Ilona Teleki, America’s New Allies: Central-Eastern Europe and the Transatlantic Link (Washington D.C: The CSIS Press,2006), 105. 32 Yahoo News, “Poland says US missile shield terms inadequate,” 5 July 2008, http://in.news.yahoo.com/43/20080705/884/twl-poland-says-us-missile-shield-terms.html
procedures were not guaranteed.33 There has also been slight stipulation that the US endorsed a Visa Waiver Program, allowing Czechs to travel to the US without a visa, in hopes that it would persuade Prime Minister Topolanek to agree to host the radar system. However, both states claim that there is no connection between the two proposals.34 In early April 2008, the Czech and US governments officially agreed to move ahead with plans. Parts of the deal included that the Czech Government would have ownership of the radar base and all immoveable objects built by Americans. However all movable objects, and the radar, would fall under US ownership. The US also agreed that it would study the effects of the radar and ensure that the areas are protected from environmental harm.35
Only after both Poland and the Czech Republic finally reached terms of
agreement did the missile defense system become a reality.
Possible Causes US Manipulation of Public Fears and Events Many believe that the true reasons behind the construction of an anti-ballistic missile system are not as pertinent to defense as they should be. Although the US may claim that the system’s intent is to enhance international security, many remain spectacle. Opponents of the defense system believe that the US’s plans are just another example of its attempts for global domination.
The Bush administration has been alleged of
heightened public fears about the threat of ballistic missiles. In July 2006, North Korea launched and tested a series of missiles, and some were said to be able to reach US territory. The tests sparked outcry from many world powers, which condemned North Korea’s actions as provocative and threatening. Some believe that North Korea’s actions provided the US with a perfect pretext for revisiting the controversial anti ballistic missile system plan. The media caught hold of this information and soon enough the public 33
People’s Daily Online, “Czech Republic, U.S. settle key issues in radar treaty,” 15 May 2008, http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90853/6411726.html 34 US Department of State, “Fact Sheet: Czech Prime Minister Topolanek’s Visit to the U.S.: A Growing Partnership,” 28 February 2008, http://prague.usembassy.gov/prime_minister_topolaneks_visit_to_the_us.html 35 People’s Daily Online, “Czech Republic, U.S. settle key issues in radar treaty,” 15 May 2008, http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90777/90853/6411726.html
feared the possibility of being attacked by North Korean missiles. However, that same year, in June, India and Pakistan both successfully tested missiles capable of inflicting nuclear destruction. The US did not react harshly toward those states.36 The Bush Administration also claimed that Iran poses an immediate threat to international security, citing the state’s extensive nuclear program. However, military experts predict that Iran will not have the capability of long range missiles until 2015.37 Even if the state does acquire the means of inflicting harm on the US or other allies, the threat could be countered by other measures. The US’s nuclear and defense arsenals are superior to those of Iran or North Korea, but many Americans were influenced into thinking that the threat of warfare was imminent, and needed immediate attention. Addressing people’s concerns, the US made public the idea of installing a defense system in Europe to protect itself and other allies from terrorist actions. The pretense of developing a system to fight against global terrorism was not convincing to everyone.38 Others believe that the system would allow the US to acquire more strategic alliances with Eastern Europe as well as increase its opportunity for space domination. Thus, many think that had the Bush administration not magnified tensions with Iran and North Korea, nor instilled fear within Americans, the majority would not see a justified reason for developing an overseas defense system.
Maintaining US International Security The US has continuously discussed the dangers of nuclear warfare and set its political agenda to involve strengthening defense. After receiving news that many states, most particularity North Korea and Iran have obtained missile capabilities, the US made plans to develop a defense system that would make nuclear weapons seem obsolete and ineffective. In an effort to protect its own interests as well as the safety of its allies, the 36
John Chan, “North Korean Missile Crisis—Another Example of Unbridled US Militarism,” 29 June 2006, http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/jun2006/nkor-j29.shtml 37 Daryl Kimball, “Rethink European Missile Defense,” July 2008, http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2008_0708/focus.asp 38 John Chan, “North Korean Missile Crisis—Another Example of Unbridled US Militarism,” 29 June 2006, http://www.wsws.org/articles/2006/jun2006/nkor-j29.shtml
US began to engage in talks with Poland and the Czech Republic. This immediately created tension between the US, Russia, and Eastern Europe. Despite the US’s repeated attempts to quell Russia’s concerns that the defense system would be a threat to them, Russia blatantly threatened Poland and the Czech Republic. Russia warned that it would direct its military arsenal at them if it was necessary to protect Russian security. However, the US claims that it only went ahead with the proposal for an antimissile system to shield itself from rogue nations. As of 2008, Iran has successfully launched Shahab-3 missiles, which are capable of traveling over 1,000 miles.39 Although Russia claims that this distance is minimal and therefore evidence that the defense shield is unnecessary, the US believes that Iran exemplifies how more states will achieve the capability of long-range missile warfare in the near future.
Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice publicly denounced Iran’s actions, declaring that “We face with the Iranians, and so do our allies and friends, a growing missile threat that is getting ever longer and ever deeper, and where the Iranian appetite for nuclear technology ... is still unchecked.”40 Clearly, the US believes that the cause of the anti ballistic missile crisis is based on the fact that more and more states are developing weapons. And the only way to maintain peace is to build a system that will hopefully deter nations from proliferating weapons in the first place.
The Obstacle of Russian Intervention Although reasons behind why the US made plans to build a defense system may vary, the one thing that remains constant is the fact that the proposal sparked outrage with Russian authorities. One of the major obstacles the US has faced in its efforts to develop this antimissile shield is disapproval by the Czech Republic, Poland and Russia. Surveys taken early in 2008 showed that more than 68 percent of Czechs did not want their state to be involved in the defense system in any capacity. Most believed that hosting a radar
BBC News, “Iran Sends Missile Test Warning,” 9 July 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7496765.stm DW-World News, “US, Czech Republic Seal Anti-Missile Radar System Deal,” 7 August 2008, http://www.dwworld.de/dw/article/0,2144,3469159,00.html 40
system would actually put their state at a greater risk than bolster its security.41 Many Polish officials also never agreed with the US’s actual reasons for wanting to develop the shield. However, allowing the US to establish interceptors in Poland was an acceptable cost for strengthened ties with a superpower like the US. Eventually after many talks and negotiations, Poland and the Czech Republic agreed to the US’s plans, much to Russia’s dismay. The proposal for an anti ballistic missile system did was not initially popular, but the only state to truly confront the US about the issue was Russia. Many believe that had Russia not taken such a strong stance against the system, construction efforts would already be under way. A possible cause that led to this anti missile defense attitude stems from Russian fears that the system poses both current and future threats to its security. Fyodor Lukyanov a Russian foreign affairs spokesman summed up the state’s concerns. He stated that “America keeps saying its anti-missile system will not target Russia and to suggest otherwise would be absurd because Russia can overcome it. Well, Russia could overcome it today but what about in 15 years' time, when it is not just two facilities but a global system?”42 Russia believes that it is voicing the concerns of many other nations, such as China, in saying that if the US goes ahead with current plans, there will be no hope of unifying international security in the future. Another possible point of contention between the US and Russia can be traced back to the ABM Treaty. While the US thought it was outdated and not fit for current circumstances, Russia still regarded the treaty as the foundation for arms reduction. Russia’s refusal to ratify the treaty put both states on bad terms.43 It was a combination of the US’s drive to undermine the treaty and Russian insecurities that led both the states to disagree on the development of an anti missile system.
Ibid BBC News, “Viewpoint: Russia’s Missile Fears,” 7 June 2007, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6726839.stm 43 Eugene Miasnikov, “ABM Treaty Modification: Should Russia Agree?” 17 July 2000, http://www.armscontrol.ru/Start/abm-a.htm 42
Comparison of Possible Causes The issue at hand has multiple possible causes, some which overlap and some which conflict.
Some experts believe that the whole idea of a missile system is
unnecessary, and just a result of media hype and government conspiracy. The fact that some Iranian missiles do not even have the capability to reach US territory raises speculation. However, the US government has repeatedly cited instances of missile tests that prove there are certain rogue nations with power to cause destruction on a large scale. But are the military arsenals of such “terrorist” nations even a match to US weaponry? The Bush administration has stressed that it is not matter of who has better facilities but of protecting international security. The defense system is also a measure that will hopefully reduce arms proliferation all together in the near future. Clearly, there are contending ideas of why the idea of a defense system was initiated in the first place. There are also various perceptions of why Russia has relentlessly hindered US efforts. Russian officials have publicly stated that if they allow the US to go through with the defense plans, it will only further divide the strategic framework of international security.
Projections and Implications Despite the US’s attempts to ease Russia’s insecurities about the missile defense system, Russia directed its efforts to upgrading its military arsenal. Under Putin’s watch, Russia reported the highest defense budgets since the Soviet era. In 2007, the state successfully tested and procured the Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missile, a symbol of the lengths Russia would go to compete with US capabilities.44 Clearly, a main concern is that history will repeat itself and that a rivalry between the US and Russia will escalate to something bigger. Some analysts believe that if communication between the two states cease and negotiations are minimal, an arms race will be inevitable. In May 2008, Russia continued its agenda against the US and signed a nuclear deal with China. Current President Medvedev has stood by Putin’s policies, claiming 44
Global Security, “Russia Announces Successful Topol Ballistic Missile Test,” 18 November 2007, http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/news/russia/2007/russia-071018-rianovosti02.htm
that the US’s plans for a missile defense system will disrupt international peace. Chinese President Hu Jintao joined Russia’s opposition, also cautioning the US against deploying any type of military equipment in space, a future battleground. Both China and Russia share similar goals, such as preventing the US from dominating global defense. The newfound partnership between China and Russia does not help the US. Many other states, including China, are upset with NATO for granting ex-soviet Georgia and Ukraine membership. Thus, if they share similar views regarding missile defense, there is a great chance that more and more states may join forces to prevent the US from going through with its plans.45 What worries analysts the most is that the large role Russia plays in exporting military equipment may eventually give them the financial backing to exceed US forces. Russia does business with over 70 states, including many rogue nations that the US fears may misuse the weaponry or misdirect weapons to extremist organizations. In 2007, Israeli officials denounced Russia’s actions, claiming that the group Hezbollah has caused mass destruction and numerous causalities using Russian procured tanks and weaponry.46 As long as Russia feels the need to enhance its military, the state will continue to sell arms to other nations, indirectly fueling terrorism. Increased capital in Russia’s hands can lead to a variety of outcomes. Russia could invest towards acquiring more military equipment, which could lead to a further imbalance of power. Regardless, the future looks bleak with respect to relations between Russia and the US.
USA Today, “China, Russia Sign Nuclear Deal,” 23 May 2008, http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-0523-china-russia_N.htm 46 USA Today, “Russia Intensifies Efforts to Rebuild its Military Machine,” 12 February 2007, http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-02-12-russia-military_x.htm
Conclusion Since 2007, when formal negotiations with Poland and the Czech Republic finally started, the idea of an anti ballistic missile defense system in Eastern Europe was formulated. The proposed system, which would be effective from the Middle East to North Korea, involves basing ten interceptors in Poland and a midcourse radar system in Czech Republic. The US claims that the system is purely for defensive reasons, and is a response to the numerous ongoing missile tests by rogue nations. However, many other states, Russia in particular, do not agree with the USâ€™s motives and believe the plan is unnecessary. Due to the close proximity of the defense system to Russian soil, it is no surprise that Russian officials have staunchly denounced the USâ€™s plans. In fact, former president Putin tried to compromise with the US by offering Azerbaijan as an alternative location for hosting the radar. The US has announced plans to collaborate with Russia on future systems but insists on going ahead with its current visions in Eastern Europe. The bitter tensions between Russia and the US have caused many to fear the potential of a future arms race. Russia even suspended agreement with the CFE Treaty, a sign that it would not be persuaded easily. To this day, some attempts to compromise have been made, as evidenced by the Joint Declaration and 123 Agreement. However, no concrete decision between the two parties has been settled. Russia has already started to join forces with China against the US. It has also made substantial military investments. With tensions high and the potential for destruction even greater, one wrong move could set off a chain of catastrophic events.
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