Archive for the ‘missiles’ Category

Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

March 9, 2009

Like it or not, the era of President Barack Obama and American weakness, real or perceived, has already emboldened many nations with long-term anti-American strategic goals: namely, Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.

Many in the world have already concluded that Brack Obama is soft, for his overtures so far toward the Taliban, Russia, Iran and others.

Related:
Various Views On Obama Foreign Policy: “Just Like Bush” Or Radical Change?

President Obama’s move to close the terrorist prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (Gitmo) was cause for applause in human rights circles and also with terrorists.

On Afghanistan, Peter Begen of the New America Foundation said “It is a longstanding cliché that there is no military solution in Afghanistan, only a political one.”  On President Obama’s idea to hold talks with the Taliban he said, “Doing deals with the Taliban today could further destabilize Afghanistan. ”

And economically, there is no dobt that the U.S. is weakened.

Just today, North Korea threatened war with the United States — a war that would certainly involve Japan and South Korea.  North Korea could not be making such threats and could not even think about testing a long range strategic missile just now unless China consented to this brazen move or at least looked the other way.  China supplies North Korea with almost all of its food, oil, luxury goods and currency.  Without China, North Korea would be impotent and meaningless.

Yet China is acceding to North Korea’s bluster and browbeating of the United States just as China itself is harassing a U.S. Naval vessel in international waters — a violation of international law.

This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean ... 
This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean surveillance ship USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS-23). Five Chinese vessels maneuvered dangerously close to a US Navy ship in the South China Sea on Sunday, March 8, 2009, approaching within 25 feet of the unarmed surveillance ship, the Pentagon said.(AFP/NVNS)

China doesn’t care much for international law and international waters: just ask Japan and Vietnam.  Both those nations have long struggles with China encroaching upon the coasts of Japan and Vietnam as the Chinese super power searches for more oil beneath the sea floor.

China has become the most voracious user of oil and other mineral resources on the planet as it strives to keep its factories busy producing goods for sale overseas.  China is in Afghanistan, protected from the Taliban by U.S. troops, while Chinese companies exploit Afghan copper.  And China just signed a $50 billion (U.S. dollars, cast) agreement to get oil from Russia for ten years.

Last year China was no help when the U.S. wanted access to Myanmar to deliver humanitarian relief supplies to those stricken by the cyclone.  After the crisis passed, China signed a big oil deal with Myanmar.

China wants the U.S. out of its sphere of influence from North Asia to Somalia, and is planning an ocean-going navy to eventualy make that goal a military reality.

China recently opened the largest sea port in the world, in Gwadar, Pakistan — directly astride the sea lanes used to bring out out of the Persian Gulf to Japan, the U.S. and others.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to go into debt — to China.

China allows North Korea to antagonize the United States because that is in China’s long term strategic interest — and a weakening U.S. plays into China’s strategy perfectly.

Russia also wants the U.S. out of its area of influencce.  Russia recently paid off Kyrgyzstan, which was helping the American effort in Afghanistan with an air base. Just after Russia gave  Kyrgyzstan its big aid deal, that nation announced the closure of the Manas air base supporting the U.S.

File:ManasAirbase KC135.jpg
A KC-135 Stratotanker sits on the flightline at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006. Ground crews will have to de-ice the tanker before it can take off on a refueling mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Paul Clifford)

Generous Russian loans to Kyrgyzstan totaling US$2 billion and a non-repayable US$150 million grant, were announced the day before Kyrgyzstan said Manas would be closed and the U.S. Air Force evicted.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation had been insisting on the closure of Manas to the U.S. Air Force since 2005.

What the heck is the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation?

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an intergovernmental mutual-security organisation which was founded in 2001 by the leaders of China , Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

But the key players of the SCO are Russia and China who don’t want the U.S. or anyone else in the West anywhere near that region of the world, rich in oil and other minerals, that includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

China and Russia conducted their largest joint military exercise ever last year.

And finally Iran wants the U.S. out of the Persian Gulf, away from Arab oil, and at arms length from Isreal.

Joshua Gross wrote for the Christian Sciences Monitor today,  “Iran recently launched its first satellite into orbit in what The New York Times called, ‘a shot across the bow of American diplomacy,’ and US President Barack Obama passed along a secret letter to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in an attempt to enlist the Russians in an international effort to contain Iran’s nuclear program.”

The global economic crisis, which has eliminated something like $50 trillion in world wealth, has hit the United States and NATO very hard, which fuels the beliefe that Mr. Obama and the U.S. are weaker than ever just now.

That’s why Iran and North Korea are talking missiles and nukes, China has chosen just now to harass a U.S. ship, and Russia is gloating like a cat bird that Obama is already pleading for help with Iran from Putin and Medvedev….

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
March 9, 2009

Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile ... 
Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile outside Qom in 2006. A top Iranian military commander said that the country has missiles that can reach the nuclear sites of its arch-foe Israel.(AFP/File/null)

Related:
Stimulus: China Will Fund U.S. Debt But “We Hate You Guys”

Russia, “Desperate For Cash,” Sells Oil to China In “Very Bad Deal”

India, China jostle for influence in Indian Ocean

 China Extends Navy’s Anti-Piracy Mission Near Somalia

 China Says Its Navy Expansion “No threat to others”

 Pentagon: Chinese Ships Harassed Unarmed U.S. Navy Craft in International Waters

 North Korea Warns: Shoot Down Our Satellite Will “Prompt Counterstrikes by the Most Powerful Military Means”

Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?

China’s thirst for copper could hold key to Afghanistan’s future

Obama says US is losing war in Afghanistan and hints at Taleban talks

Despite Global Economy Downturn, China Still Lending

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/03/09/analys
ts-to-obama-there-are-no-taliban-moderates-yo
u-nitwit/

What’s China’s Long Term Global Strategy?

http://jonathanturley.org/2009/03/09/ira
nian-justice-eight-women-face-stoning-dea
ths-for-adultery/

http://spectator.org/archives/2009/03
/09/slickness-with-a-straight-face

CNN on Peter Bergen and Afghanistan:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/PO
LITICS/03/09/bergen.taliban/index.html

Joshua Gross on Iran:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20
090309/cm_csm/ygross

White House: U.S. Will Not Shoot North Korean Missile

March 9, 2009

North Korea is prepared to launch a long range ballistic missile and the U.S. is capable of shooting it down.

Admiral Timothy Keating, who commands the US Pacific Command, said interceptor ships were ready “on a moment’s notice”.

“Should it look like it’s something other than a satellite launch, we will be fully prepared to respond as the president directs,” he added.

But the U.S. has said it has no intiontion of shooting down North Korea’s missile, according to the Obama Administration.

North Korea has gone to its highest state of military alert while South Korea and Japan have cancelled all airline flights near North Korea as tensions in North Asia are at their most tense in years….

“Whether they describe it as a satellite launch or something else makes no difference” since both would violate a U.N. Security Council resolution banning the North from ballistic activity, Stephen Bosworth told reporters after talks with his South Korean counterpart.

Related:
North Korea Warns: Shoot Down Our Satellite Will “Prompt Counterstrikes by the Most Powerful Military Means


A U.S. Navy ship launches ballistic missile defense interceptors like those that could be used to counter North Korea’s long range missile launch….

******

SEOUL, (AFP) – North Korea put its military on combat alert Monday as US and South Korean troops began a major joint exercise, and warned that any attempt to block its upcoming satellite launch would spark a war.

The communist state also severed its last communications channel with South Korea for the duration of the 12-day exercise by tens of thousands of troops, which Pyongyang has branded as a rehearsal for invasion.

The moves follow a threat last week against South Korean civilian airlines using the North’s airspace, forcing them to re-route flights.

The North Korean military described the exercises as “unprecedented in the number of the aggressor forces involved and in their duration.”

“The KPA Supreme Command issued an order to all service persons to be fully combat-ready,” it said in a statement on official media.

“A war will break out if the US imperialists and the warmongers of the South Korean puppet military hurl the huge troops and sophisticated strike means to mount an attack.”

The North, which tested an atomic weapon in 2006, said it was cutting off military phone and fax lines with South Korea during the drill as maintaining normal channels would be “nonsensical.”

This meant more than 700 people were unable to travel to a joint industrial complex at Kaesong just north of the border Monday, as South Koreans can only cross over with approval from the North via the military lines.

General Walter Sharp, head of US forces in South Korea, reiterated Monday that the exercise — involving an aircraft carrier, 26,000 US troops and more than 30,000 South Koreans — is an annual defensive training drill.

However, this year’s exercise comes at a time of high cross-border tension and growing pressure on the North to drop plans to fire a rocket.

North Korea says it is preparing to launch a satellite, but both Seoul and Washington believe the underlying purpose is to test a long-range Taepodong-2 missile that could in theory reach Alaska.

The North’s military General Staff warned it would retaliate “with prompt counter-strikes by the most powerful military means” it has to any attempt to intercept it.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090309/w
l_asia_afp/nkoreaskoreausmilitary_200903
09085936

Related:
Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?

CNN on North Korea:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiap
cf/03/08/nkorea.launch/index.html

Obama’s First Major Foreign Crisis Brewing?

March 9, 2009

North Korea could launch a long range missile at any time, and according to Jae-Soon Chang of the Associated Press, “Analysts say the regime is trying to grab President Barack Obama‘s attention as his administration formulates its North Korea policy.”

Iran tested a new missile this last weekend.

Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile ... 
Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile outside Qom in 2006. A top Iranian military commander said that the country has missiles that can reach the nuclear sites of its arch-foe Israel.(AFP/File/null)

The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday that Israel’s Military Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, who told the cabinet on Sunday that Iran had “crossed the technological threshold” and that its attainment of  nuclear military capability was now a matter of “incorporating the goal of producing an atomic bomb to its strategy.”

More U.S. troops are headed to Afghanistan which Evan Thomas of Newsweek has already dubbed “Obama’s War.”

CNN on North Korea:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiap
cf/03/08/nkorea.launch/index.html

Jerusalem Post on Iran’s nuclear effort See:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid
=1236269373103&pagename=JPost%2FJP
Article%2FShowFull

And the Independent Newspaper in Britain warns that “This year both American and British officials have become increasingly open about their fear that Pakistan – which has nuclear weapons under the control of a military at least to some extent open to extremist influence – is a greater danger than Afghanistan.”

And all of this includes Russia.  Despite Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov playing nice last weekend, and an apparent plea from Mr. Obama for Russian help with the Iran problem, it is by no means certain that Russia will be helpful.

Russia cut off heating oil to Europe this winter over a dispute with Ukraine and Vladimir Putin threatened another cut-off just last week.  Just last summer saw Russian tanks and troops in South Ossetia and Georgia — just as Georgia was making noise about joining NATO.

Since President Obama’s inauguration, Russia has been testing Mr. Obama and his administration rigorously and continuously.

“Mark my words,” Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden warned last October. “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy. The world is looking.”

“Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

Time is runing out on Obama’s “Honeymoon,” and the economy is no longer the only entre on the plate.

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapal, Virginia

Related:
North Korea Warns: Shoot Down Our Satellite Will “Prompt Counterstrikes by the Most Powerful Military Means”

Obama says US is losing war in Afghanistan and hints at Taleban talks

Pakistan: The Greatest Threat
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/worl
d/asia/pakistan-the-greatest-threat-16397
79.html

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Russia, U.S. Missile Defense Dispute

Russian Relations With U.S., Europe Improve: But Putin, Medvedev Understand Strength, Power More than Diplomacy

 Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
.
Israel Ponders War on Iran; Obama, Russia HaggleRussia Testing Obama: Just as Biden Predicted
.
Russia building anti-satellite weapons

 Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

Mr. Obama and Russia
NYT Editorial: Russia only understands strength….

 Chutzpah: Admire Russia’s Arrogance
Russia, Obama and the Strategic Chess Tournament

homewhiteningcare.org/

Iranians walk past a replica of a Shahab-3 missile on display ... 
Iranians walk past a replica of a Shahab-3 missile on display in Tehran. The Fars news agency says Iran has “successfully” tested a new air-to-sea missile with a range of 110 kilometres (68 miles).(AFP/File/Atta Kenare)

Obama says US is losing war in Afghanistan and hints at Taleban talks

March 8, 2009

President Obama conceded today that the US was not winning the war in Afghanistan and opened the way for negotiations with moderate elements of the Taleban, much as America did with Sunni tribes in Iraq.

The new strategy, which comes as Mr Obama prepares to send an additional 17,000 US troops into Afghanistan, emerged after a frenetic 48 hours of American diplomacy in the region involving new overtures to Iran, Russia and the Muslim world.

The fresh approach to Tehran is causing significant concern in Israel and the Arab world over fears that Mr Obama is making too many concessions to Iran at a time when his own officials say it now has enough enriched uranium to make one nuclear weapon.

Mr Obama’s admission of the dire situation in Afghanistan followed an invitation to Iran by Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, to participate in a US-headed regional conference on Afghanistan later this month.

Read the rest:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new
s/world/asia/article5869476.ece

Russia, U.S. Missile Defense Dispute

March 8, 2009
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that the United States and Russia have the opportunity to cooperate on missile defense.

“We believe that Russia and the United States have the opportunity to do joint research and joint development. And even eventually assumingly we can reach such an agreement (on) joint deployment,” Clinton said in Brussels.

From The People’s Daily, China

Clinton’s remarks were the latest in years of argument between Russia and the United States on the latter’s ambition to deploy a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush and his administration planned to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic which it claimed to protect its European allies from missile threat by “rouge state.”

In 2002, the United States started negotiations with Poland on the missile shield issue, without making any significant progress due to their difference.

In January 2007, Washington resumed negotiations with Warsaw and Prague and finalized agreements with the two countries before Bush’s departure from the White House.

The U.S. plan has met strong opposition from Moscow, which insists that the missile shield, if deployed, will undermine Russia’s national security.

In November 2008, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced plans to deploy missiles in Kaliningrad, to counter the U.S. defense shield plan.

On March 3, 2009, Medvedev said that “We have to work together and create a common shield against all threats. The U.S. and Europe would negotiate on that, but it would have to be global and not fragmented around the Russian frontier.”

Barack Obama’s administration has already decided to review the effectiveness of the missile shield and its cost.

Source:Xinhua

Related:
Russian Relations With U.S., Europe Improve: But Putin, Medvedev Understand Strength, Power More than Diplomacy

 Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
.
Israel Ponders War on Iran; Obama, Russia HaggleRussia Testing Obama: Just as Biden Predicted
.
Russia building anti-satellite weapons

 Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

Mr. Obama and Russia
NYT Editorial: Russia only understands strength….

 Chutzpah: Admire Russia’s Arrogance

Russia, Obama and the Strategic Chess Tournament

Putin Medvedev
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Above: Russia’s “power couple.” Vladimir Putin speaks with his presidential successor, Dmitry Medvedev.

Israel Ponders War on Iran; Obama, Russia Haggle

March 5, 2009

Israel is seriously considering taking unilateral military action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, according to a report by top US political figures and experts released Wednesday.

Jerusalem Post
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The report also says Israel’s time frame for action is growing shorter, not only because of Iranian advances, but because Teheran might soon acquire upgraded air defenses and disperse its nuclear program to additional locations.

The report, “Preventing a Cascade of Instability,” was put out by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). It also argues that international sanctions against Iran need to be intensified urgently for the engagement the Obama administration is planning with Teheran to be effective.

An early draft of the report was endorsed by Dennis Ross before he withdrew upon joining the Obama administration, in which he is serving as a special adviser dealing with various countries in the region, including Iran. Senator Evan Bayh of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Congressman Gary Ackerman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East, were among the signatories.

Read the rest:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1236103
158937&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Related:
 Russia Testing Obama: Just as Biden Predicted
Russia building anti-satellite weapons

 Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

From the Washington Post:

Iranian leaders said Wednesday that President Obama follows the “crooked ways” of his predecessor, repeated earlier warnings that Iranian missiles could reach Israel and reiterated that the Holocaust was “a lie.”

Iran’s president and other officials have at times appeared to welcome Obama’s proposal for greater dialogue, but the remarks Wednesday suggested that Iranian positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other issues would pose obstacles. The comments were also a reminder that Iran’s complex leadership structure brings together clerics and political leaders with views that sometimes differ sharply.

In his first public comments on the new U.S. administration, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is Iran’s supreme leader and has the final say over foreign policy, said Obama had adopted former president George W. Bush’s support for Israel, which Khamenei called a “cancerous tumor.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/ar
ticle/2009/03/04/AR2009030400330.html?wprss
=rss_politics/administration

U.S. offers Moscow concession on missile shield

February 13, 2009

The United States is ready to look at re-modeling its missile defense plans to include Moscow, a senior U.S. diplomat said on Friday in a concession to Russian opposition.

The Kremlin has been pressing Washington to give ground on the proposed missile shield in exchange for Russia helping supply the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan — a priority for new President Barack Obama.

Washington and Moscow have in the past discussed a compromise deal that would give Russia a role in the U.S. shield but those talks petered out in the last days of the previous U.S. administration.

By James Kilner and Christian Lowe
Reuters

“(Washington is) open to the possibility of cooperation, both with Russia and NATO partners, in relation to a new configuration for missile defense which would use the resources that each of us have,” Interfax news agency quoted U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns as saying.

The U.S. embassy in Moscow confirmed the text of the interview. Burns, a former ambassador to Moscow, was in Russia this week for talks with officials.

Burns gave no details on what form the new missile defense configuration might take, but the wording he used appeared to go further than previous U.S. proposals aimed at easing Russia’s concerns.

Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, told Reuters in an interview that Moscow would have to wait to see how Washington follows up on Burns’ remarks.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090213
/ts_nm/us_usa_shield_russia

North Korea appears to be readying missile test

February 11, 2009

North Korea appeared to be gearing up Wednesday for another long-range missile test, the latest in a series of provocative acts seemingly aimed at stoking tensions with South Korea and winning the attention of the new U.S. president.

In recent weeks, Pyongyang has declared it will scrap peace agreements with Seoul and warned of war on the Korean peninsula. Reports that it could be preparing to test a missile capable of reaching the western United States have added to the anxiety.

By KELLY OLSEN, Associated Press Writer

A South Korean Army soldier walk by displays of models of mock ... 
A South Korean Army soldier walk by displays of models of mock North Korea’s Scud-B missile, right, and other South Korean missiles at Korea War Memorial Museum in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009. North Korea has been moving equipment necessary for firing a missile to a launch pad, an indication that the country is taking steps toward conducting a test launch, a news report said Wednesday.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency said Wednesday that a vehicle carrying radar equipment was seen moving to a launch site on the North’s eastern coast from a munitions factory near Pyongyang.

“It can be analyzed that the North is proceeding with a missile launch preparation in stages,” Yonhap quoted a South Korean government official it did not name as saying.

South Korean and Japanese media said last week that intelligence agents had spotted a train carrying a long, cylinder-shaped object — believed to be a long-range missile — to the launch site at Musudan-ni.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has played down reports of possible North Korean missile launch preparations, noting Tuesday that Pyongyang’s last such test in 2006 was a failure and that the U.S. could shoot down a North Korean missile “should we deem it necessary.”

Nevertheless, North Korea’s saber-rattling has been interpreted as an attempt to grab President Barack Obama’s attention; U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is scheduled to visit South Korea next week.

Obama has expressed willingness for direct talks with the North — including possibly meeting with leader Kim Jong Il. The stalled multi-national dialogue to disarm North Korea resumed late last year after the U.S. removed the country from its list of nations that sponsor terrorism. Those talks also involved China, Russia, South Korea and Japan.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman warned Wednesday that North Korea’s actions could disrupt the disarmament process.

“I think activities of this nature, should they be taking place, would be harmful to the ongoing efforts, the diplomatic efforts within the six-party talks,” Whitman said. “It’s always been our position that North Korea should refrain from provocative actions that might aggravate tensions in the region.”

The foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan said they were mindful about the possibility of another North Korean missile test.

“Both of us shared concerns about North Korea’s intentional acts of stoking tension … and urge North Korea to behave in a way that contributes to regional stability,” South Korean Foreign Minster Yu Myung-hwan said at a news conference in Seoul with his Japanese counterpart, Hirofumi Nakasone.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2009021
1/ap_on_re_as/as_nkorea_missile_5

US urges Russia to consider missile offer

February 9, 2009

The United States wants to boost cooperation with Russia on short- and medium-range missiles, a senior NATO diplomat said Monday, after Washington signalled a review of its missile shield plans.

“The administration is making a renewed offer, to say we would like to work with Russia on missile defence and we hope that Russia is more willing to discuss that,” the diplomat said, on condition of anonymity.

He said Washington “genuinely wants to work with Russia on missile defence, believes that these threats, particularly the short- and medium-range ones, already exist.”

“We have a common interest with Russia in figuring out how to protect populations against these, we should be exploring how to do that,” he said.

The United States has been negotiating with Poland and the Czech Republic to install 10 missile interceptors, which would not carry explosive warheads, and a radar system on their territories.

The move has angered Russia as it sees the system as a threat to its security, while Washington argues the proposed shield is only directed at “rogue states,” primarily Iran.

Russia had threatened to deploy Iskander missiles to Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave wedged between Poland and Lithuania, both NATO and EU members, if Washington did not halt its shield plans.

Laying out a vision of new US foreign policy Saturday, Vice President Joe Biden sought to reach out to Moscow, in a speech described by Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov as positive.

Addressing the Munich Security Conference in Germany, Biden said the United States would only press ahead with its missile defence shield project “provided the technology is proven to work and cost effective.”

Nevertheless the NATO diplomat said President Barack Obama‘s administration was not shelving its plans, but that “it’s rather being prudent about the management of an expensive programme.”

“They want to take the time to do a review, to look at the test results, to make a judgement about the level of technological development,” he said.

AFP

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20090209/p
l_afp/usmissilerussianato_20090209171848

Many Still Expect Obama To Surrender Missile Defense

February 9, 2009

Iran’s launch last week of a satellite using a homegrown rocket is another reminder of why Europe needs a missile defense — and needs to start building it now. Combine Iran’s improving missile technology with its nuclear aspirations, and it’s a lethal mix. This is especially timely given the debate inside the Obama Administration over whether to walk away from the U.S. promise to provide a defense shield for our European allies.

Wall Street Journal
Iran now joins eight countries with indigenous space-launch capability — an advance that, on the military side, translates into a step forward for its ballistic-missile technology. The threat isn’t immediate, as the satellite was small and lightweight compared to a nuclear warhead, but neither is Europe’s missile defense set to be deployed immediately. The reason to start early is precisely to be prepared, and not to have to scramble, if Iran develops its capability faster and the mullahs aren’t as benign as some think.

That’s why the Bush Administration pushed forward with a Europe-wide missile defense system to be based in Poland and the Czech Republic and built over the next six years. It’s also why every NATO country has endorsed the U.S.-led effort. They have done so twice — first among heads of state in Bucharest in April and again at a meeting of foreign ministers after the U.S. election. NATO also plans to pursue its own missile defenses in conjunction with the Polish and Czech sites.

The question now is whether the Obama Administration will stand by its predecessor’s promise or, as is widely anticipated, suspend the European program. On the campaign trail, Barack Obama suggested missile defense was either ineffective or too expensive, or both. His nominee for the third-ranking position at the Pentagon, Michele Flournoy, has indicated that the deployment plans for Europe will be reviewed. In a speech over the weekend at the annual Munich security conference, Vice President Joseph Biden was ambiguous: “We will continue to develop missile defenses to counter a growing Iranian capability, provided the technology is proven to work and cost effective.”

Suspending the program would have serious consequences. It would send a signal of American weakness to Iran, which the Obama Administration says it wishes to engage….

Read the rest:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1234
14254051961831.html

[Review & Outlook] 
Photo: AP