Russia and the US are getting ready to have another round of anti-missile defense talks. It happens so that the topic became the major one in the Russia-US bilateral relations. Moscow is really concerned about the USA’s anti-missile defense in Europe.
The disputes are obviously dragged out. There are two parties participating in the disputes – Russia and the USA. However, there are some other parties concerned. Sometimes it seems that the 2 parties just talk about different notions and do not want to understand each other.
According to Evgeny Olkhovsky, the leading expert of Masterforex-V Academy, the US authorities, who started the confrontation, are constantly speaking about their desire to deploy some anti-missile defense systems in Eastern Europe.
According to the US, the new anti-missile defense program should will a reliable shield protecting Europe and America from possible nuclear attacks that can be initiated by North Korea and Iran. There is some logic in the statement because the new idea appeared after Teheran started its own nuclear program while Pyongyang started nuclear weapons testing.
Russia’s reaction was negative. The Russian authorities thought that the new anti-missile defense system is designed to defend Europe and America first of all against Russia. The first round of talks damaged the US-Russian bilateral relationship.
In 2009 Obama’s administration abandoned the idea of deploying the anti-missile defense systems in Czech ia and Poland, thus trying to “reload” the bilateral relations with Russia and simultaneously saving money during the global crisis.
In 2010 the problem suddenly became actual once again. Romania and Poland offered the US to deploy its anti-missile systems on their territories. Washington accepted the offer. Now the US is planning to implement the idea within 4-7 years. The US authorities are not planning to abandon the idea once again while Russia is getting ready for another round of talks.
Moscow is concerned that the US missiles that are planned to be deployed in Eastern Europe will be aimed at Russia. Indeed, North Korea doesn’t have any intercontinental ballistic missiles to reach Europe or America via Europe. Iran doesn’t have any missiles at all. Of course, it will take the US 4-7 years to deploy its defense system in Europe. By that time everything may change. Another hair in Moscow's soup is the USA’s presence in Europe as Russia probably still considers it the area of its interests.
According to some Russian experts the USA’s new anti-missile system is oriented towards a more significant potential enemy than Iran or North Korea. Dmitry Rogozin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to NATO, jokes that the US says it is going to hunt rabbits but is armed with a gun that can kill a bear.
The Kremlin has been trying to exert pressure on Poland, Romania and Czech ia. However, these countries are EU and NATO members. It significantly reduces the pressure.
A change of power in the White House seemed to open new opportunities for Russia as the US authorities were more pragmatic. Washington started trading with Russia and benefited a lot from it (Russia stopped supporting Iran’s nuclear program and bought a lot of US T-bonds etc.) When the US abandoned the first anti-missile plan Russia thought it had won the battle. After Washington returned to the idea, Russia felt disappointed and betrayed.
In summer 2011 Russia made the US a brave and radical offer – to merge the NATO and Russian anti-missile defense systems. Indeed, Russian components can be very helpful for the joint system if it is really aimed against Iran and North Korea. Russia says that by late 2011 it will have completed the construction of 2 modern long-range radar stations in the Caucasus and Kaliningrad region. In 2012 the same radar station will be built in Siberia. Some more radar stations are going to be built in other Russian regions as well as in Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. Moreover the Russian anti-missile defense system includes enough C-400 missiles to hit an enemy’s ballistic missiles. Russia says that once the 2 systems are merged, there won’t be any need to deploy extra systems in Poland and Romania. This is a rather rational offer, which seems to embarrass the USA.
The USA’s answer.
The US authorities do not seem to be willing to cooperate, thus revealing their true intensions. The USA just offers to share information, which is not what Russia can accept. So far the talks have reached a dead-end.
What are the stances of the parties concerned?
The analytic team of NordFX notes that according to Dmitry Rogozin, the latest events show that the US has started implementing the anti-missile plan without paying attention to Russia:
Eastern Europe. On Sep 1st 2011 Traian Băsescu, President of Romania, announced his intention to sign an agreement with the USA, thus allowing the US to deploy its RIM-161 Standard Missile 3 (SM3) system and a US military base in Romania. Poland and Czech ia want the same. It is very unlikely that these countries (that used to be socialist states against their will) want to secure themselves against North Korea and Iran. It is obvious that they are afraid of Russia’s expansion. That is why Washington may lose the trust of its East-European allies once it accepts Russia’s offer.
Western Europe. Only the UK seems to be opposing the Kremlin’s offer. Germany, France and Italy do not see any threats in it. These countries keep striving to ease the tensions between Russia and NATO.
Anyway, in the near future we will see the outcome.