Sunday, May 21, 2006



There is a Fortress Europe mentality amongst US Defence Department officials, and US Defence Department contractors, as the plan to spread US bases and influence across the Middle East appears not to be moving forward.

If the US can't spread bases across the Middle East, as democracy spreads, then Fortress Europe may well be the fallback plan.

The idea is for the US to strategically install missiles 'defence' systems across the EU, to buffer future possible threats from Russia and Iran, primarily. The US will cite the need to protect "American interests in the region", meaning corporate interests and US businesses, which may eventually over-rule the money and power of struggling democracies like Poland, now in line to take US missiles under the 'Missile Shield' plan.

But there is as much a dual purpose to the US pressure on the EU for a 'Missile Shield' as there is to the missiles themselves.

Allowing the US to deploy missile 'defence' systems in countries such as Poland, or Germany, also allows the US to then install small bases of soldiers, military staff and weaponry needed to defend these sites from terrorist attacks or enemy infiltration.

The larger the possible threat to these nests of US missiles, the larger the deployment of military to protect them. This way, US bases in the territories that take on the 'Missile Shield' can increase in size, strength and capability.

There has also been plenty of suspicion from Russia and China about whether the Shield missiles are not solely for defence purposes. In theory, these deployed missiles could easily be converted to offensive missiles.

From The New York Times : "The Bush administration is moving to establish a new antimissile site in Europe that would be designed to stop attacks by Iran against the United States and its European allies.

"The administration's proposal, which comes amid rising concerns about Iran's suspected program to develop nuclear weapons, calls for installing 10 antimissile interceptors at a European site by 2011. Poland and the Czech Republic are among the nations under consideration.

"The final cost, including the interceptors themselves, is estimated at $1.6 billion.

"The establishment of an antimissile base in Eastern Europe would have enormous political implications. The deployment of interceptors in Poland, for example, would create the first permanent American military presence on that nation's soil and further solidify the close ties between the defense establishments of the two nations.

"Gen. Yuri N. Baluyevsky, the chief of the Russian military's general staff, has sought to stir up Polish opposition to the plan.

"'What can we do?' General Baluyevsky told the Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza in December. 'Go ahead and build that shield. You have to think, though, what will fall on your heads afterward. I do not foresee a nuclear conflict between Russia and the West. We do not have such plans. However, it is understandable that countries that are part of such a shield increase their risk.'

"By building an antimissile base in Europe, the Pentagon is seeking to position the interceptors close to the projected flight path of Iranian missiles that would be aimed toward Europe or continue on a polar route to the United States.

"Iran does not have intercontinental-range missiles and has yet to conduct a flight test of a multistage rocket....some experts say it is a long way from developing such a system.

"Iran (after their war with Iraq) embarked on an effort to secure additional missiles and missile technology from foreign suppliers, including North Korea. The Iranian Shahab-3, a liquid-fueled missile that is based on North Korea's No-dong missile, has the range to strike Israel, Turkey and other countries in the region.

"Defense Department officials argue that Iran could collaborate with North Korea to speed up the development of long-range systems. Given the time it would take the United States to install an antimissile site in Europe, some officials said it was not too soon to begin work.

"The installation of 10 interceptors in Eastern Europe would have no significant ability to defend against Russia's sizable nuclear arsenal....the Russians are unhappy with the idea and have portrayed it as a step that would jeopardize cooperation between NATO and Russia, including on antimissile systems."