Romania President Traian Băsescu: Prepare for a cool reception
Russia to his plan to host elements of the new U.S. missile
in East Europe.
U.S. Reversal: Romania
to Host Anti-Missile Shield
"U.S. President Barack Obama formally
invited Romania to participate in the deployment of an American missile defense
system. … Romania will accommodate
land-based intermediate-range interceptors, which will be combat ready by 2015."
A session of Romania's
Supreme Council of National Defense took place on February 4. Afterwards, the
country's president, Traian Băsescu,
announced that he had received a formal proposal from U.S. President Barack
Obama to participate in the deployment of an American missile defense system
and that Romania had accepted. According to Băsescu, "The president
of the United States, Barack Obama, formally invited Romania." He said the
country "will accommodate land-based intermediate-range interceptors,
which will be combat ready by 2015."
[Editor's Note: The plan was
approved by the Supreme Council of National Defense and still needs
Let us recall that for
several years, we've already discussed the configuration of the U.S. missile
defense system in Eastern Europe. In June, 2007, the idea of deploying a
missile defense system received the complete approval of NATO. The Alliance had
decided to form a special commission to study how to adapt the U.S. anti-missile
system to defend all of Europe, after a decision was made that basing its
primary components in the Czech Republic and Poland would not have protected the
territory of four NATO members: Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania. These
countries demanded that the Pan-European anti-missile shield cover them as
And despite protests from Moscow,
Washington categorically asserted the certainty of its plans. The situation
changed only with the rise to power of President Barack Obama. On September 17,
2009, he explained why he was rejecting plans by the previous Republican
administration to place components of the U.S. shield in Europe - a radar station
in the Czech Republic and ten interceptor missiles in Poland. He explained his
refusal of the previous plan as a reassessment of the relevance of Iran's
missile program and the cost of the project. But a string of European experts
have said that the only real explanation was a desire on the part of the new U.S.
president to mend ties with Moscow. In Warsaw and Prague, this news was received
almost like a national tragedy.
To calm public concern in
Eastern Europe, the U.S. dispatched Vice
President Joe Biden in October of 2009. He suggested that Warsaw had a
special role in the new system: the placement on Polish soil of a land-based
version of the SM-3 missile interceptor, supposedly a key element of the new
U.S. missile defense system. Biden also visited the Czech Republic and Romania.
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
ship-based SM-3 missile, now being modified for land-based uses:
the Kremlin find this any more palatable than the previous system?
For a week, experts have
speculated about what the Americans demanded from Russia in exchange for
renouncing the deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic. The answer is
nothing, says KommersantVlast columnist Nargiz Asadova.
The U.S. administration's
decision to renounce the deployment of the missile defense system in Poland and
the Czech Republic puzzled Russian leaders and journalists. As if out of habit,
some members of the media rushed to find traces of a secret agreement between
Moscow and Washington, sure that in return for their kind gesture, the
Americans would have demanded payback from the Kremlin. For example, in the
form of a cessation of arms shipments to Iran, Venezuela and Syria; or an
agreement on harsher sanctions against Iran in the U.N. Security Council.
Meanwhile, jingoists, headed
by First Deputy Chief of Staff to the Russian president, Vladislav Surkov,
celebrated victory over our “Euro-Atlantic Comrades.” Last week, Mr. Surkov
told activists of the Ours movement that the American refusal to deploy
the radar station in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland was to
their credit, saying, “You can win, I assure you. Therefore, play! Continue to
act! There's no radar!” To further raise the patriotic spirit, the Russian
Federation leadership stated that no concessions to Washington are planned.
In addition to this, no one ever
heard from the president of the United States or members of his administration,
that they met Russia half-way to obtain something in return. Or for that
matter, that they met Russia half-way at all. “The Russian authorities don't
determine our national defense strategy. We made the decision most suitable to
us,” Barack Obama once emphasized. Those celebrating victory don't seem to remember
that the current American President, while still the junior senator from
Illinois, criticized younger Bush's idea to deploy anti-ballistic missile elements
in Eastern Europe. At the time of the 2008 presidential campaign, Democratic Party
candidate Obama said that missile interceptors in Poland and radar in the Czech
Republic was too expensive and ineffective for defending the allies in NATO.
By the time when Obama took
over at the White House, the U.S. budget deficit was approaching another
historic record of $1 trillion, and the country was suffering through “the
worst economic crisis in generations.” Is it any wonder that the U.S. president
gave the order to re-examine the strengths and weaknesses of the Bush missile
defense system, at the same time, see what alternatives exist? Now such an
alternative has been found.
But in Russia, they still
cannot believe that such an important decision by the U.S. administration isn't
tied to Moscow. When I asked a friend of mine, a Russia expert with the
influential U.S. think tank The
Center for American Progress, what retaliatory steps the Obama
Administration expects from Russia, he asked with undisguised irritation, “Why
do you all believe that all we do is think about you?” He tried to convince me
that a discussion about an exchange (we give you missile defense, you give us a
tough resolution on Iran, or something else) never happened. Yes, and Barack
Obama himself said publicly, “If Russia becomes less paranoid in its
inclinations and decides to cooperate more effectively with us on the Iranian
nuclear program, you know, this will be a bonus for us.” [translated quotes] In
other words, from the American point of view, an active search for a diplomatic
solution to the Iranian nuclear problem (particularly with the help of tough
economic sanctions), or a cessation in shipments of heavy weapons to Iran,
Syria and Venezuela, must be a conscious decision of Russia rather than a
Posted by WORLDMEETS.US
Moreover, the new U.S.
administration has proposed that Russia participate in the American missile
defense network. “One of the qualitative changes in the architecture is that we
can combine the capabilities of several varieties of radar system ... and several
countries,” Robert Gates said, offering to include Russia's radar network south
of Armavir in the American missile defense radar system.
Confronted with this
approach, Russia's leadership couldn't help but be confused. How to live
without the customary false bottoms, secret signals, diplomatic haggling, and
the use of economic levers to achieve political results? How to deal without a
confrontation over the eastward expansion of NATO that has become so dear to
their hearts if the U.S. no longer insists on accepting Ukraine and Georgia and isn't building in Poland and the Czech
Republic? How to convince the public that Russia is always ready to repulse the
“presumptuous Yankees.” They deploy missile defense in Europe, we deploy Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad? Their warships enter the
Black Sea during war in August of 2008, and we threaten to open a military base
on Cuba and conduct war games with Venezuela in the Caribbean Sea?
Assuming responsibility for
ensuring that Iran doesn't develop a nuclear weapons and hand them over to
terrorists or that Russian weapons don't fall into the hands of Hezbullah through Syria would be a troublesome task
requiring enormous financing, time and human resources. And it wouldn’t be
nearly as effective on TV. It's much easier to find a new stimulant. For
example, take a look and see: the Americans have a new missile defense system.