January 15, 2009
21st Century Star Wars And NATO’s 60th Anniversary
By Rick Rozoff
Regular contentions by U.S. civilian and military officials that the installation of projected third position interceptor missile facilities in Poland and the Czech Republic are aimed at so-called rogue states like Iran and North Korea are a geographical, geometrical and geopolitical absurdity.
In fact such plans are entirely aggressive in nature and present the potentially most dangerous threat the world has known.
Missile deployments in Poland and the linked missile radar site in the Czech Republic are an integral, indeed the central, component of a global (and more than global) U.S.-dominated system to neutralize targeted nations’ deterrence and retaliation capabilities, both before and after the fact, for uses of blackmail and actual implementation.
It’s worthy of note that the two affected countries, Poland and the Czech Republic, are two of the three first nations incorporated into NATO since the end of the Cold War, at the Alliance’s 50th anniversary summit in Washington in 1999 in an event that occurred as NATO was launching its first war (in or out of area), against Yugoslavia.
The third member inducted at the same time was Hungary, where protests have halted the construction of a projected NATO radar station.
In fact the American missile shield outposts in Eastern Europe are an overt effort to implement the Reagan era Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), infamously known as Star Wars.
The X-band radar that is to be installed in the Czech Republic will be shifted from the US Marshall Islands where it is linked with the Reagan Test Site, and the missile center at the Vandenberg Air Force Base from which US (and allied) interceptor tests have been regularly conducted in conjunction with a sea-based X-band radar off the coast of Alaska and more interceptor missiles at Fort Greely in the Alaskan mainland is named the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Site.
The floating X-Band Radar periodically moved off the shores of Alaska for these exercises weighs 2,000 tons and is 30 stories high.
Its permanent base is in Hawaii where a local newspaper wrote, referring to the sea-based Aegis component of the system, in June of 2008:
“The Missile Defense Agency co-manages the Navy’s Aegis program, partners with the Army on its ground-based Patriot missiles and has primary responsibility for other, developing anti-ballistic missile technologies. It’s an evolution of the Strategic Defense Initiative begun by President Reagan and has an $8.7 billion budget this year.”
Similarly, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is based in Huntsville, Alabama, where the Pentagon employed former German missile scientists in the 1950s for its own Cold War programs and where last year the MDA completed its Von Braun III building, a $240-million, 900,000-square-foot facility.
The center is named, of course, after the founder of Nazi Germany’s missile program.
Upon completion of the Von Braun III building in April of last year Alabama Senator Richard Shelby said that naming the complex after Dr. Wernher von Braun was “fitting.”
“His spirit is with us here today,” Shelby said, “and certainly his vision continues because of the work started here.”
Despite the regular disclaimers that the current American global missile shield program is not a so-called Son of Star Wars, an Alabama newspaper reported in 2006 upon the completion of the earlier Von Braun II building in Huntsville that:
“On the back wall of the lobby area are five pages, hand-edited with scribbled notes and revisions, in a simple wooden frame. It is the Star Wars speech given by President Ronald Reagan on March 23, 1983….”
And as Reuters reported in the same month, “The Bush administration and Republican allies in Congress are again pushing for seed money to explore options for putting a multibillion-dollar layer of ballistic-missile interceptors in space [which was] first floated in the 1980s as part of then-President Ronald Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative.”
Time magazine echoed that observation in November of last year, stating that “President George W. Bush promised to build a ‘Star Wars’ missile shield, and he has kept that promise….”
With the above in mind, the extension of revamped U.S. Stars Wars installations to Eastern Europe, in the case of Poland within immediate striking distance of Russia, takes on ominous dimensions.
As the Russian Novosti agency’s chief military commentator remarked last November:
“[T]he strategic importance of these interceptor missiles would increase were the U.S. to deliver a first nuclear strike against Russia.
“In this scenario, interceptor missiles would have to take on the limited number of missiles surviving the first strike, which would allow the U.S. to hope for success and, for the first time since the 1950s, for a victory in a nuclear war.”
And the official Chinese party newspaper People’s Daily reported in May of 2007:
“[T]he U.S. is seeking to deploy bases within [the territory] of its European allies [and], if it succeeds, in building interceptor bases and radar bases.
“Then, its missile defense system takes the shape with its homeland as its center and East Asia and Europe as the two wings. [T]he existing layout is…targeted directly and entirely at both Russia and China, and this is precisely the reason to arouse the strong opposition of Russia.”
That is, the missiles in Poland have to be seen as part of a first strike strategy in two respects in which if the threat doesn’t work, the actual use remains.
The ground-based missiles themselves can hit Russia’s two largest cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg, within minutes.
Whether such missiles contain conventional or nuclear warheads, a fact only the Pentagon would know, is a distinction Russian air defenses and strategic forces wouldn’t have the time or luxury to evaluate.
Even to take the U.S. at its word and to assume that missiles with non-nuclear payloads would be used against ‘rogue states,’ they could produce the following results, in the words of the then Chief of the Russian General Staff Yury Baluyevsky and Ukrainian Defence Minister Anatoly Gritsenko, respectively:
“Within a radius of 500 to 600 kilometers, depending on the size of the interceptor’s nuclear charge, an electro-magnetic impulse will be generated and cause a total power blackout, shutting down computers, generating plants, gas works, water-pump stations, radio and television, and dispatcher’s offices in airports and at railroad stations.
“A shock wave will destroy many buildings and structures, while radioactive fallout will contaminate the terrain for years. The Chernobyl disaster would look like a child’s prank.” (December 2005)
“Nobody knows what can be inside these fragments [of intercepted missiles]. If it is not a nuclear bomb or nuclear warhead in a literal sense, it can be a dirty bomb, for example, with radioactive agents that in addition to the effects from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster may pollute our territory much more. It can be also any virus or biological weapon.” (March 2007)
The first addition to the missiles in Poland, even before their deployment, is the U.S.’s commitment to station a Patriot battery with 96 warheads to Poland, within striking distance of Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave and Belarus now that the Pentagon has developed a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) system with a range of 120 kilometers.
And all of the above is only a small portion of the integrated full spectrum global and space system the U.S. and its allies have already successfully tested and are preparing to deploy, which include:
-Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD)
-Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV)
-Ground Based Interceptor (GBI)
-Forward Based X-Band Radars (FBXB)
-Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)
These permit the destruction of other nations’ missiles in the launch, boost, midcourse and terminal phases and in theory in the silo.
The global missile system also includes – in addition to ground-based interceptor missiles – air, sea and space components.
The sea-based element is the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, increasingly being deployed on U.S. and allied NATO and what has recently been termed Asian NATO warships. Linked with the Pentagon’s plans for a “1,000-ship navy” this would provide Washington and its military allies the ability to patrol all the world’s waterways and shipping lanes with missile killer capacities.
The spaced-based components include kinetic-energy weapons, space lasers, space-based conventional weapons space-based interceptors, with the Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle an intermediate weapon.
Regarding the third leg of the U.S. nuclear triad, not even in theory a defensive one, the B-2 stealth bomber is described by its proponents as being equipped with “sixteen 2,400 lb (1,100 kg) B83 nuclear bombs” that can “pass through extremely dense anti-aircraft defenses.”
The Pentagon and the B-2′s manufacturer, Northrop Grumman, regularly boast that it can penetrate radar and air defenses and strike “deep in the interior” of a targeted state that possesses “strategic depth.”
That description, given today’s political reality, can only pertain to Russia and China.
As authors Keir A. Lieber and Daryl G. Press, referring to the general strategy of delivering crippling first strikes, wrote in their paper “The Rise of U.S. Nuclear Primacy” in Foreign Affairs, a publication of the Council of Foreign Relations, in its March/April 2006 edition:
“It will probably soon be possible for the United States to destroy the long-range nuclear arsenals of Russia or China with a first strike.
“The U.S. Air Force has finished equipping its B-52 bombers with nuclear-armed cruise missiles, which are probably invisible to Russian and Chinese air-defense radar. And the air force has also enhanced the avionics on its B-2 stealth bombers to permit them to fly at extremely low altitudes in order to avoid even the most sophisticated radar.”
On the general strategy of so-called missile defense, the Russian analyst Yury Rubtsov said late last September:
“The pending deployment of interceptor missiles in Poland is a link in the system of the global anti-missile shield sweeping from Greenland to Alaska created by the United States that does not conceal its plans for setting up a fourth and a fifth position area for its anti-missile shield.
“The system that Americans are forming is to include offshore and on-land elements in Alaska, California, Japan, Greenland and a number of European countries. A naval base in the Aleutian Islands has been put back in service to support sea-based radar mounted on a re-built oil platform.
“The radar in turn will be a component of the integrated system of the anti-missile shield alongside the interceptor missiles deployed in Alaska.
“[M]ore than ten countries are involved in the formation of the US anti-missile shield, including Australia, Britain, Germany, the Czech Republic Denmark, France, Japan, India, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Taiwan and Ukraine.”
All of the above are NATO members or partners except for India and Taiwan – it would be too overt a challenge to China to formalize partnerships with them – but the latter two are also being progressively integrated into the U.S./NATO international nexus.
This past September the Pentagon began its first-ever permanent military deployment in Israel, to man an X-Band missile radar site with a range of 1,240 miles; that is, able to operate throughout the Middle East and into Southern Russia.
In addition, outgoing U.S. Missile Defense Agency director Lt Gen Henry Obering has over the past eighteen months either alluded to or been accused of laying plans for deploying Star Wars missile and radar bases in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Ukraine.
At the last summit of NATO in Bucharest, Romania in April of last year, all 26 member states endorsed American missile system plans in Poland and the Czech Republic.
That support was reiterated at a NATO defense ministers meeting last November (with the attendance of the military chiefs of over sixty nations, over a third of the countries of the world) and the following month at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, evoking this response from Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov:
“The deployment of a U.S. missile shield in central Europe would disrupt the strategic balance among the world’s nuclear powers.”
With the upcoming NATO sixtieth anniversary summit on April 3-4 of this year, and with the incoming Obama administration naming former Bush administration NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Jones as its National Security Adviser, all indications are that U.S. and allied missile plans for Europe may expand yet further.
While in Prague three weeks ago California Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, chairwoman of the House of Representatives Strategic Forces Subcommittee, was described by the Czech News Agency as having “long been demanding that the system protecting the USA and its allies against possible hostile missiles be fully included in the NATO complex of defence.”
The same agency reported the previous month that “Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek…said the approval of the treaties would crucially influence the defence capability of NATO.”
And Polish Minister of Defense Radoslav Sikorski said that the elements of the air defense shield which will be deployed in Poland will become part of the air defense shield of the entire NATO bloc.
A sentiment shared by NATO Spokesman James Appathurai last April in also calling for the integration and expansion of the U.S. interceptor sites into a broader, continent-wide Alliance system.
Even more ominously, last month current NATO Supreme Allied Commander General Bantz John Craddock affirmed:
“[T]he fact is there is strategic need and advantage for nuclear weapons….The alliance has made the decision to have them. There has been no debate to retrograde them out.”
And in reference to the 400 U.S. B-61 tactical nuclear bombs stored at bases in several NATO countries, including Britain, Germany, Italy and Turkey, a Pentagon report released on December 8, 2008 stated:
“The presence of U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe remains a pillar of NATO unity.”
The combination of American nuclear warheads in Europe and the expansion of the NATO Alliance and U.S. missile interceptor sites to encircle Russia on its eastern, southern and western borders is a far more threatening development than anything that occurred during the Cold War.
Recent surveys show two-thirds of Czech opposed to the U.S. missile radar site, with 71% demanding a referendum on the issue, and 54% of Poles in opposition to having their nation turned into a potential ground zero in a cataclysmic missile war.
Czechs and Poles clearly realize the danger that most of the rest of the world has been oblivious but can no longer remain indifferent to except at its own peril, perhaps at the risk of its very survival.
The half century long stationing of U.S. nuclear warheads throughout Europe and current plans to deploy missiles and missile radar sites on the continent’s eastern perimeter would both be impossible, would be inconceivable, if the nations and peoples of Europe were not enchained by an increasingly ambitious and expansive military bloc that places bases, nuclear arms and missiles on their soil and sends their sons and daughters to kill and die in 21st Century colonial wars of conquest and domination.
As self-styled global NATO prepares its 60th anniversary, first bi-national, summit in France and Germany this April, the abolition of this, history’s first, attempt at an international aggressive military axis must be brought to an end.