Sunday, January 28, 2007

Anti-missile system in Poland


Critics of the US anti-missile system in Central Europe have the same paranoid mind set as the man who wants to place them here: George W Bush.

As I write, a handful of demonstrators are standing in a blizzard outside the presidential palace in Warsaw, protesting against a ‘grave new threat to this nation’s security’.

It appears that Poland and the Czech Republic are close to finalizing an agreement with the US to station an anti-missile system on their soil. Protests have come from Russia, but the US says that these missiles are a defensive measure against attack from ‘rogue states’, meaning presumably Iran, North Korea.

This story has not come out of the blue, of course.

The current Polish defense minister, Radek Sikorski, was a one time member of the neo-con American Enterprise Institute (AEI). As far back as December 2004, Sikorski was quoted on the AEI web site as recognizing that the placing of the anti-missile system presents political problems for Polish governments. The article says:

"Anything less than a generous package -- which could include greater industrial and economic incentives according to Sikorski -- would be "a difficult sell in the current atmosphere of Central Europe."

Poles have not been amazed by successive governments close association with the US ‘war on terror’, especially their troop placements in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s widely thought that these have moved Poland up the list of countries that are on possible terrorists’ target lists.

It appears that up to 10 interceptor missiles will be placed somewhere in Poland and a radar tracking station in the Czech Republic. So what ‘package’ has Washington come up with to help sell this idea to the Polish public? We simply don’t know.

But it is being assumed by the anti-missile critics that the placing of such a system in Poland would further move the country up the terrorist’s (and rogue states) list for attack.

Time to get real
Some on this blog (see comments in previous post) are drawing parallels to the US anti-missile system and the Soviet missiles we now know were in Poland from 1970 to the end of the Cold War.

But people who make this comparison are making the same mistake as Washington is. During the Cold War both sides were armed to the teeth with massive nuclear arsenals, which could obliterate either side within a very short period of time.

Nobody is suggesting, however, that Iran or North Korea have the capacity to launch missiles that have a range to get any where near Poland, let alone western Europe. In fact, nobody is seriously suggesting that these countries have any nuclear missiles at all. North Korea claims to have made a nuclear test, but that does not mean that it has any nuclear missiles. Nor does it mean that it is stupid enough to launch any.

And there is no evidence at all that Iran is actively perusing a nuclear weapons program – only that they are in the middle of developing nuclear material for power stations. Everything else is supposition.

There is no evidence of such a threat coming from ‘rogue states’ – and consequently there is no need for such a system.

But the critics of the decision of placing a US anti-missile system in Poland are being as paranoid as the US government.

Just as western Europe is not a possible target of Iran or North Korea, neither will al-Qaeda be moving in to bomb public transport systems, just because a few (unnecessary) missiles are on Polish soil.

Either way, it makes little difference to Poland's security.

But everyone - for and against - seems to be reading from the same script. Critics of the US are buying into the same paranoia that is currently fuelling the US ‘war on terror’. Consequently, they are not forming a very good opposition to it.

More?
Still a hard sell?, the beatroot, Nov 2005

51 comments:

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Zbysiek said...

Beatroot wrote: "There is no evidence of such a threat coming from ‘rogue states’ – and consequently there is no need for such a system."

Let's get paranoid for a moment here. The threat is not from a rogue state. It is from Russia but it would be impolite of the Americans to say so. Putting this expensive waste of money on Polish soil makes Poland a target not of Kim or Osama Bin Laden but of Putin.

That's the very paranoid version. The less paranoid version is that this will further damage Polish-Russian relations as Russia will think (rightly or wrongly) that the shield is a measure taken against them.

In a nuclear arms race against the background of mutually assured destruction defence and offence are one and the same.

opamp said...

According to Wikipedia, Russia has 560 nuclear missiles. This thing can take out how many? 10?

Not to mention that missiles from Russia to US would fly over the North Pole, not Poland.

It makes no sense either way.

jannovak57 said...

bysiek said... “expensive waste of money on Polish soil makes Poland a target not of Kim or Osama Bin Laden but of Putin. “

In what cave have you been hiding, as of 2001 the Russian government has transferred tactical nuclear warheads to Kaliningrad. These are very short-range launchers; therefore Poland and Germany are the intended targets.

Perhaps the Polish government can take the high ground here and demand the removal of all nuclear weapons from Kaliningrad (with international verification) in exchange for a promise not to host the US missiles.

bysiek said... “damage Polish-Russian relations”

As if installing ten non-nuclear missiles on Polish territory would make a difference to the Kremlins attitude towards Poland. The Russian government complains about every move it’s former satellites take to enhance their security without exception.

Polish/Russian relations will only improve if Poland stops being a thorn in Russia’s side and that means the following:

Stop encouraging and supporting efforts of the former Soviet Republics to integrate into the Western structures of Nato and the EU.

Stop providing support for democracy movements in the former Soviet Republics.

Stop highlighting in EU circles the lack of freedom in Russia, the absence of the rule of law and the drift to totalitarianism.

Stop working for a unified approach to energy security.

As things go Poland sits prominently on the Kremlins enemy list, it’s real easy to restore good relations with the Russian government, we can use the example of Europe’s two oldest whores France and Germany.

beatroot said...

I think you all playing the paranoid game. Russia? Come on...

There is evidence that Russia will and has pushed its weight around trade policy wise (and probably needing some 'status' its raw materials give it) but only the most paranoid thinks Russia has westward expansionist pretentions today.

Poland has taken this system because it enhances its position within NATO, and keeps its self under American's defense unberella.

For the Americans this is part of the illogical 'war on terror'.

My point is more about the protestors playing the same game as Bush - imagining enermies with the powers and ambitions to launch international strikes on the west.

Martin said...

Beatroot,

Sikorski probably still can't go for a piss without Richard Perle's permission.

Once AEI, always AEI. They're worse than the effing Masons.

AEI is the heart, brain and soul of current American foreign policy.

AEI is evil, its fellows are monsters.

The only goddam reason Poles' necks are on the line in Iraq, a country with which Poland has absolutely no historical connection, is because of the neocon bollocks Sikorski and his ideological brethren in AEI have touted and agitated for and strived to achieve for years.

beatroot said...

I take it, Martin, that you are not too keen on neo-cons. You are an interesting political mixture…

You say AEI is the heart, brain and soul of current American foreign policy.

…. Fact is, the neo-cons are a bust flush.

The ‘let’s bring down nasty middle east dictators, the people will line the streets waving US flags and then they will all settle down to parliamentary democracy and a MacDonald’s Happy Meal’ has been proved to be what it always was: absolute bollocks!

Consequently, the US has lost massive amounts of influence in the middle east, and just about everywhere else.

Why do you think it is concentrating so much on the one place where it does have some clout still – Central Europe?

So AEI is not welcome in Capital Hill anymore. All the lading lights of that nonsense, apart from Chaney, have gone. Rumsfeld gone; Wolfawitz gone…etc….

The neo-con project is laying bleeding in the wreck of Baghdad, basically…

Brad said...

I think there are a few fairly simple (perhaps too simple?) reasons that Polish politicians are considering/will host part of the missile defense network:

- It irritates the Russians. Maybe it also would make them think twice about starting a fight here. Does anyone really believe the Russians would do anything like that, though?

- Enhances Poland's image. It says that the Americans trust us enough to host a bunch of missiles.

- Political points. Maybe someone will get some goodies out of this deal although dropping a thousand Polish troops in Iraq didn't even get the visa restrictions lifted.

Martin said...

Beatroot,

I would love to be able to agree with you about the neos' loss of influence in Washington - the mother and father of all problems is that although the Republicans have lost the House and Senate to the Dems, the Dems were just as enthusiastic about invading Iraq, and swallowed the bull pushed out AEI just as enthusiastically, as the Republicans.

One of the reasons the neos are so heavily into Eastern Europe - and at this stage let's be blunt; it's my belief that Radek Sikorski is nothing more than a cipher, a conveniently Polish point man for the advance of the American empire (a concept hated by more Americans than you might imagine) in Central and Eastern Europe - is that THE NEOS HATE THE RUSSIANS!

'Neoconservatism', the half-baked Trotskyist bollocks that's killed 3,000 Americans, 200 Brits and God alone knows how many Iraqis, sprang from '70's crazy horse outfits like 'the Committee of the Prsesent Danger'.

Neoconservatism is big business with guns, that's all. The very fact of his previous association with AEI makes Radek Sikorski unfit to hold any public office in Poland.

Poland deserves better than Richard Perle's or Michael (Iran-Contra) Ledeen's sock puppet; a sock puppet still intimately connected to the Washington establishment through his marriage to a member of the Washington Post's editorial board.

Top Cat said...

Hi Beatroot,
There has been no mention of deploying missiles to Poland or Czech. on the news here. There is only talk about Iraq. I think its the same throughout the country. I think conservatives are moving to the center and neocons are not as strong.

jv said...

I wonder how the EU countries like the idea of high powered radar doing surveillance of the european airspace.

nestor makhno said...

The Neo-cons are evil as is Putin.

The Neo-cons, despite their follies and setbacks, unfortunately still wield inordinate influence in more than one segment of US government.

The Dems who are gung-ho on Iraq have many reasons for being so, but Neo-con influence is not one of the major ones, although it does factor in a bit. Most of this brand of Dems are heavily dependent upon Israeli lobby dollars. Hillary being a major case in point.

Looks like the Dems, no matter what, will win the presidency so the current government of Poland will look even more like a bunch of pissants come the day.

And what have the Polish gubmint really gained for the people of Poland vis-a-vis the US by being sock puppets? Please tell me. Where's the beef? Brad tried but despite his best efforts, I still don't see much of anything to smear with ketchup.

jv said...

nestor: in Czech Republic they are selling it with an amazingly good beef. Something wonderful. Just imagine that - removal of visa requirement for travel to the US! (it doesn't matter that even the US ambassador says it's not related..)

dankam said...

beatroot wrote: in reality there is no threat from Iran, they don't have the capacity, it's all paranoid. Zbysiek wrote: "The threat is not from a rogue state. It is from Russia but it would be impolite of the Americans to say so".
Ever occurred to you guys that these things might be intertwined? Check today's news:
"The Russian Tor-M1 air defense missile systems have been delivered to Iran in accordance with norms of the international law, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said on Friday. "Military technical cooperation of Russia and Iran is accomplished on the basis of international legislation and on the basis of bilateral contacts" Kamynin was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying. Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said on Jan. 16 that exports of the Tor-M1 systems did not violate UN resolutions related with sanctions against Iran. "We proceed from international rules and develop military technical cooperation with this country. If Iran will need defensive weapons, we are ready for such cooperation," Ivanov said. Russia and Iran signed a 700 million U.S. dollars contract for the delivery of 29 Tor-M1 air defense missile systems in 2005." (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2007-01/27/content_794386.htm)
Something occurring to you?

Zbysiek said...

Jan Novak 57 (age? IQ?), with his customary charm, sophistication and bad grammar, wrote:

"in what cave have you [Zbysiek] been hiding, as of 2001 the Russian government has transferred tactical nuclear warheads to Kaliningrad. These are very short-range launchers; therefore Poland and Germany are the intended targets."

Well pardon me for not coming out of my cave long enough to read Jane's and the local Kaliningrad newspapers.

There's "Z" in Zbysiek.

beatroot said...

Sorry, but the Russian stuff is the kind of wild speculation that I am not going to rise to. Are there not enough conspiracy theories on the net without having to create yet another?

Nestor
The Neo-cons, despite their follies and setbacks, unfortunately still wield inordinate influence in more than one segment of US government.

There may be a few individuals running around the place but the IDEOLOGY is not taken seriously anymore. In the next few years the republicans are going to turn back to the paleos (what Bush was before 9/11) and the Democrats will go back to being their old protectionist selves.

Can’t say I am too disappointed

Anonymous said...

Beetroot wrote:
"In the next few years the republicans are going to turn back to the paleos (what Bush was before 9/11) and the Democrats will go back to being their old protectionist selves"

In which case why build a missile base in Poland and Czech. Its not a consipiracy theory about Russia, its just plain obvious that this is about extending US influence into Eastern Europe, which will rachet up tensions with Russia and mean that Poland's relations with one of its neighbours worsens and Poland becomes a target in the event of any future conflict.

The building of NMD in Poland is a huge decision, just 15 years after the last Soviet troops left the country. At the least it warrants a referendum. This won't happen cos the government would lose - last CBOS report puts opposition to the plan at 63%.

nestor makhno said...

What does Bush take seriously, BR, aside from his phone calls from God? Is he capable of taking something like ideology seriously? Yea, he's the decisioner, alright! The only ideology that drives the Dems and Reps (and Putin and...) is money and oil, oil and money. And weapons and the systems to deliver 'em are mighty lucrative, too.

Good beef coming your way, jv, direct from Texas to the Czech Republic? Well, don't hold your breath waiting for those visa requirements being waived or even eased. Y'know how many years the Poles have had that carrot hung up on a stick before their eyes? Hey, y'wouldn't be in the market for a nice bridge, would you?

beatroot said...

Anon (please give yourself a name) says that if the neo cons are a bust flush then why build a missile base in Poland and Czech?

Anon, a ‘shield’ is by definition a defensive measure. The neo con project was – and it is in the past tense now – offensive (in more ways that one).

The idea of a protective ‘shield’ is hardly ‘democracy on the march..’.

As far as the Russian thing is concerned. The plans for all this were made at least from the start of Bush’s term. That was in the days when Putin and Bush were ‘best mates’. That relationship has since gone all frosty, largely because of Putin’s non support of the US reaction to 9/11, and as Russia has recovered somewhat from the drunken ‘economics’ of the Yeltsin years.

Putin is not Stalin, has no ambitions other than a ‘strong Russia’.

Although, I would support a referendum on this. I would oppose it because I think that this is unnecessary. I would also oppose the opponents of the missile system because the best they can come up with is to play the ‘politics of fear’ card, too.

This missile system will not threaten Poland’s security at all. Neither does Poland, or western Europe need it.

Martin said...

Beatroot,

Without wishing to sound like John Cleese debating the relative merits of the Peoples' Front of Judea against those of the Judean Peoples' Front, there is absolutely no way on Earth that George W. Bush could ever, ever be described as a paleoconservative.

George W. Bush is interested in only one thing - the economic and political advance of his own caste, America's (preferably hereditary) super-rich.

Thank you for your cogent, and in my opinion absolutely accurate, analysis of the real reasons concerning the recent direction of Russian foreign policy. Prats like Simon Heffer who equate Putin with Stalin are being worked from the back by those whose greater economic interests would be served by Russia's integration into the 'globalisation' policy, a move to which Putin seems steadfastly opposed.

dankam said...

A ‘shield’ is by definition a defensive measure...
Well, I wouldn't be so sure. I checked on Wikipedia: "The THAAD system was designed to handle short and medium range ballistic missiles; such as Scuds and derived weapons. However, a limited incidental capability against ICBMs exists". Well, limited and incidental doesn't seem like much of protection against long range missles from the Rouge, does it? This program is nothing more than continuation of Reagan's Star Wars and only against the Russian scuds is it really working! It is plain clear that it's changing the world force balance to the Russian's disadvantage.

Tarcza said...

A shield, by destroying the MAD principle, is an offensive weapon: that's the kind of times we live in.

Anonymous said...

It's just a pork belly project. Poland gets some kickb-- I mean offset of course, US defence companies get gigantic contracts from the state, the generals get some toys to play with, Russia gets to act offended... Best of all: it doesn't even work. Everyone's happy, except the US taxpayer.

nestor makhno said...

What are the kickbacks Poland will get???

dankam said...

It doesn't even work... Against Russian Scuds it can work fairly well as far as I know...

Anonymous said...

if you put U S troops on polish soil Polish fathers better get used to having black son in laws.The U S military is full of poor blacks. They are going to go wild when they see Polish fair- skinned women.

sonia said...

Beatroot,

there is no evidence at all that Iran is actively perusing a nuclear weapons program

So I guess when Ahmadinejad makes his speeches about 'removing Israel from the region', he is just kidding, right ?

And I guess Hitler was kidding too when he was making identical speeches back in the 1930's, right ?

They are such funny jokers. Unfortunately, Bush and Sikorski don't seem to have a sense of humor about it. Instead of laughing, they want to install anti-missile systems.

Some people just don't get jokes!

pusigabato said...

Vi braco Poljaci opet cete ga najebati zbog svoje gluposti!Razmisljate li vi o tome da cete biti mete za teroriste jer cete pustiti amere da postave te radioaktivne gluposti?
YOU POLISH PEOPLE ARE AGAIN FOOLISH.WHY DO YOU HAVE TO LICK AMERICAN DICKS?

sonia said...

Pusigabato,

POLISH PEOPLE - WHY DO YOU HAVE TO LICK AMERICAN DICKS?

To keep Russian dicks away from our asses...

beatroot said...

Sonia
So I guess when Ahmadinejad makes his speeches about 'removing Israel from the region', he is just kidding, right ?

And I guess Hitler was kidding too when he was making identical speeches back in the 1930's, right ?


I suppose that is meant to be a devastating point, but really it’s just very politically and historically naive indeed.

First of all, do you really think that Ahmadinejad would drop the big one on Israel, knowing what would be coming back his way? Don’t be silly.

Do you really think the people of Iran would want him too?

Do you really think that Ahmadinejad has the power in Iran to drop the big one on anyone? Constitutionally he has very limited powers as a president – the power resides with the unelected ones.

He is elected, though. And his position in Iran in the last few months has weakened considerably. His rabble rousing speeches, full of the Islamic equivalent to fire and brimstone against Israel have always been to try and retain support when he has been losing it – mainly due to a weakening economy, which his government has done little about. That’s got worse as the price of oil has gone down again.

If he stood again for president at the moment he would lose. There have been several protests when he has turned up to speak somewhere, with jeers and boos when he did speak.

And drawing a parallel between him and Hitler, and Iran and Nazi Germany is one of the silliest things I have read in a longtime.

sonia said...

Beatroot,

do you really think that Ahmadinejad would drop the big one on Israel, knowing what would be coming back his way? Don’t be silly.

Yes, I really think so. And if that's silly, so be it.

We all have a tendency to assume that other people will act the way we would act. It's a costly mistake. Hatred is a powerful emotion. I don't think you quite realize the extent of hatred in this world. Just because you don't hate doesn't mean that others don't.

Castro once said that if he had control of the Soviet nukes during the Cuban Missile Crisis, he would have launched them against the United, and wouldn't care at all about retaliation. Maybe he didn't mean it, but why would he say it otherwise ?

MAD isn't a effective way of preventing a nuclear exchange. Irt worked so far because the only countries that have nukes are profoundly conservative and defensive. But if nukes fall into the hands of ideologically motivated true radicals, watch out. They won't care about how many of ''their own'' die. They usaually hate ''their own'' far more than ''the others''... Osama hates the Saudi regime more than he hates US, for example...

beatroot said...

They won't care about how many of ''their own'' die.

Utter and complete bollocks...

Dying said...

Even if Iran was to launch nuclear missiles -as Sonia speculates- they just don't have them, as simple as that.
When they have them, the Israelis will take care of them, because they also feel threatened by that.
I liked beatroot article, by the way.

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