By Garibov Konstantin, Yevgeny Yermolayev and Viktor Nadein-Rayevsky
The United States has urged NATO member states and the alliance’s partner countries to contribute to the creation of a global missile defense system. A statement to this effect was made on Monday by US President Barack Obama during a press conference after the NATO summit in Chicago. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said, in turn, that the first phase of NATO’s controversial European missile defense shield has become “provisionally operational.”
US Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary Bradley Roberts said, for his part, that the US is using a stage-by-stage approach in creating missile defense systems in regions of potential military conflicts. Plans to create missile shields in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region are already in the pipeline, Roberts said.
As for the European missile shield, its Turkey-based radar’s surveillance covers a considerable part of the Middle East, experts explain, separately singling out Israel’s missile defense system which they say fails to prevent Tel Aviv from closely cooperating with Washington on the matter. The US, for its part, is collaborating with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries on the creation of a regional missile defense system, a sign that Washington is seeking to deploy elements of the US missile shield all across the Middle East. This shield makes it possible to launch a first strike and avoid facing retaliation, says Moscow-based defense expert Viktor Nadein-Rayevsky.
“It seems that Washington, along with its NATO partners, wants to kill several birds with one stone, Nadein-Rayevsky says, referring to the projected missile shield in the Middle East. Politically, the shield is aimed at involving regional allies in the support of the US’ military machine.”
As for an Asian segment of the US’ global missile shield, it resembles giant pincers. The Pentagon plans to deploy part of the system’s interceptors and radars in Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, with other elements of the shield due to be deployed in Japan, South Korea and Australia. The goal is to fend off hypothetical nuclear missile attacks from Iran and North Korea, something that analysts say holds no water because Tehran has neither intercontinental ballistic missiles nor nuclear warheads. As for Pyongyang, it is yet to develop its ballistic missile program, experts say, referring to North Korea’s unsuccessful satellite launch attempt on April 13, 2012.
Beijing has, in turn, repeatedly warned Washington against stepping up its military presence in the region which is out of line with the principles of peaceful coexistence of Asian nations. Washington, for its part, insists that the regional missile defense system is only needed to protect Japan and South Korea from possible missile attacks from Pyongyang.