Missile Defense Shield & Europe’s Security Conflict

Monday, November 24, 2008

Alibeman Eqbali Zarech
IRI Ambassador, Tirana, Albania

While 90 years have passed since independence of Poland and two decades since its liberation from Communist dictatorship the issue of the US missile defense shield in Slupsk, 200 km from the Russian border has been turned into a serious challenge for the big powers in the international arena, particularly between the US and European Union on the one hand and Russia on the other.

The history of the missile defense shield and basically the missile tracking system goes back to the end of World War II and dispatch of American officers to Europe to study the means of missile application by Germany against the Allied forces. The outcome of the field study and research was summed up in one sentence: Development of a system against modern arms.

Now 60 years have passed since then and the Unite States with an investment of 80 billion dollars on research and production of tracking systems has only 10 systems in Alaska and California which in the opinion of American military analysts cannot be a good protection against the launch of transcontinental ballistic missiles.

Although after the fall of Communism in late 20th century the Euro-Atlantic governments have called for an end to the cold war and adoption of a system free from missile and arms rivalries and have launched much publicity maneuvers in this respect, nevertheless, at the outset of the third millennium we are witnessing a new approach with European missile defense shield and expansion of NATO towards the East being its focal points.

Of course, the creation of the missile defense shield has been announced on the false and imaginary pretext of missile activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran – a country whose civilization, mindset, culture as well as religious beliefs of its nation and government are totally opposed to militarism and missile games and will remain so in future.

Prolongation of negotiations between the two sides (taking at least 18 months) in finalizing the missile defense shield agreement and the positions taken by the powerful and influential countries in the area of global security, particularly Russia all indicate the high importance this project has and will have on the future of the international order.

The Russian president has reiterated time and again that the missile defense shield and expansion of NATO is a threat against his country’s security and has warned against serious retaliatory measures by Moscow. More importantly, US efforts particularly by American secretary of state to give assurances to Russia have not been effective. Remarks made by US State Department Spokesman Tom Casey are also interesting to note. He has said Russia has been kept abreast of the developments related to the missile defense system in Europe over the past three years and has voiced no opposition. He also said that Washington did not know why Moscow had suddenly changed its position on the issue.

At present, only Russia, China, France and Britain have transcontinental missiles. The last two are US allies and the first two are not. But clearly the Russians consider the launch of missile tracking system in Poland with radars in the Czech Republic a big threat against their national security which they have said would receive an appropriate response: a response which is not clear whether it would bring security for green Europe or not?


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