By Ilya Kharlamov
The U.S. will conduct the most complicated and the largest ever exercises to test its missile defence system before the end of the year during which five imaginary enemy targets will be intercepted simultaneously, said the head of the U.S. Missile Defence Agency Patrick O’ Reilly. However, Russian experts insist that growing efforts by Washington in the missile defence area against the background of unsuccessful talks with Russia on its involvement in the “global umbrella” will hardly make the world more secure.
The American military are planning to use missile defence systems such as Patriot, Aegis and TAAD and also mobile radar during the exercises. The development of a similar regional missile defence system in the Middle East with the partnership of Israel, in the Pacific together with Australia and Japan and in Europe will depend on the success of these exercises. Washington considers these regions as potential theatres of operations citing threats coming from North Korea and Iran. At the same time, the European missile defence system created with the involvement of the American missile defence system and the potential of other NATO countries in Europe is the most developed one. NATO says that the European missile defence system will be completed by 2018.
Meanwhile, the creation of the missile defence umbrella in Europe with the involvement of the U.S. has long become the stumbling block in relations between Moscow and Washington. The U.S. has refused to provide legal guarantees that the European missile defence system is not directed against Russia’s strategic missile potential.
The NATO leaders have confirmed their readiness to make a political statement that the system is not directed against Russia at its Chicago summit in May. However, Russia’s attitude towards it is critical, and Russia insists on legal guarantees. Here is an opinion from director of Public and Political Research Centre, Vladimir Evseev.
“We must proceed from the fact that neither the U.S. nor NATO will be able to create a joint missile system with Russia. In these circumstances, the question facing Russia could be the creation of its own missile defence system which may be compatible with that of the U.S. I believe that there is a need to put an end to tough confrontation, and we should talk about the areas where cooperation is possible. For one, Russia should take part in missile defence exercises that will be staged in Colorado Springs in the U.S. The two sides should launch information sharing centres. At the same time Russia should insist that warships equipped with Aegis missile systems restricted their action area. For one, it’s impossible to explain their presence in the northern seas,” Vladimir Evseev said.
The Chief of the General Staff of Russia’s armed forces, Nikolai Makarov has recently said that Moscow and Washington are far from reaching a compromise on missile defence. He said that the U.S. had rejected many issues that are necessary to discus, and this may lead to the fact that Russia will face a new threat. According to General Makarov, if the European missile defence system is insurmountable, Moscow will exercise its right to withdraw from the strategic nuclear weapons reduction treaty.
Russia is ready to take measures if the European missile defence system is created without its involvement. Among these measures is the deployment of Iskander systems in the Kaliningrad region as stated by President Dmitry Medvedev in November 2011. Nevertheless, there is a room for a dialogue. An international conference on missile defence will be held in Moscow early May with the participation of NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow. This will be a good opportunity.