Dangerous Crossroads: US Moves Missiles And Troops To Russian Border

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2010 is proceeding
in a manner more befitting the third month of the year, named after
the Roman god of war, than the first whose name is derived from
a pacific deity.

On January
13 the Associated Press reported that the White House will submit
its Quadrennial Defense Review to Congress on February 1 and request
a record-high $708 billion for the Pentagon. That figure is the
highest in absolute and in inflation-adjusted, constant (for any
year) dollars since 1946, the year after the Second World War ended.
Adding non-Pentagon defense-related spending, the total may exceed
$1 trillion.

The $708 billion
includes for the first time monies for the wars in Afghanistan and
Iraq which in prior years were in part funded by periodic supplemental
requests, but excludes what the above-mentioned report adds is the
first in the new administration’s emergency requests for the
same purpose: A purported $33 billion.

Already this
month several NATO nations have pledged more troops, even before
the January 28 London conference on Afghanistan when several thousand
additional forces may be assigned for the war there, in addition
to over 150,000 already serving or soon to serve under U.S. and
NATO command.

Washington
has increased lethal drone missile attacks in Pakistan, and calls
for that model to be replicated in Yemen have been made recently,
most notably by Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed
Services Committee, who on January 13 also advocated air strikes
and special forces operations in the country. [1]

The Pentagon
will begin the deployment of 1,400 personnel to Colombia to man
seven new bases under a 10-year military agreement signed last October
30. [2]

This year the
U.S. will also complete the $110 million dollar construction of
new military bases in Bulgaria and Romania to house at least 4,000
American troops. [3]

The Pentagon’s
newest regional command, Africa Command, will expand its activities
on and off the coasts of that continent beyond current counterinsurgency
operations in Somalia, Mali and Uganda and drone flights from a
newly acquired site in Seychelles. [4]

But this month
has brought even more dramatic and dangerous news. The Pentagon
has authorized the completion of a $6.5 billion arms deal with Taiwan
with an agreement to deliver 200 Patriot Advanced Capability anti-ballistic
missiles. The People’s Republic of China is infuriated, as
Washington would be if the situation were reversed and Beijing provided
a comparable arsenal of weapons to, for example, an independent
Puerto Rico. [5]

As though that
action was not provocative enough however, on January 20 the Polish
Defense Ministry announced that a U.S. Patriot missile battery,
and the 100 American soldiers who will operate it, would not be
based on the outskirts of the capital of Warsaw as previously announced
but in the Baltic Sea city of Morag, 35 miles [6] from Poland’s
border with Russia.

The missile
battery and troops are scheduled to arrive in March or April. As
part of the Obama administration’s new missile shield project,
one which will be integrated with NATO to take in all of Europe
and extend into the Middle East and the Caucasus, the Patriots will
be followed by Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) interceptor deployments
on warships in the Baltic Sea and, for the first time ever, a land-based
version of the same. “The Pentagon will deploy command posts
of SM-3 missiles, which can intercept both short- and mid-range
missiles…” [7] An SM-3 was used by the Pentagon to shoot
a satellite out of orbit in February of 2008 to give an indication
of its range.

Further deployments
will follow.

The new, post-George
W. Bush administration, interceptor missile system will employ “existing
missile systems based on land and at sea… Deployment of the revised
missile defense would extend through 2020. The first step is to
put existing sea-based weapons systems on Aegis-class destroyers
and cruisers. [8]

“Subsequently,
a mobile radar system would be deployed in a European nation…
More advanced, mobile systems would be put in place later elsewhere
in Europe. Their centerpiece would be… Lockheed’s Terminal
High Altitude Defense interceptor missiles and improved Standard
Missile-3 IB missiles made by… Raytheon.” [9]

Last December
Washington signed a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that formalizes
plans for “the United States military to station American troops
and military equipment on Polish territory” and “opens
the way for the promised Patriot missiles and US troops to be stationed
in Poland… as part of an upgrading of NATO air defences in Europe.”
[10]

In October,
shortly after U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden visited Warsaw to
finalize the plan, Polish Deputy Defense Minister Stanislaw Komorowski
met with his opposite number from the U.S., Assistant Secretary
of Defense for International Security Affairs Alexander Vershbow,
and announced that the American missiles “will be combat-ready,
not dummy varieties as Washington earlier suggested.” The same
report added that “Earlier, Ukrainian and American officials
stated that Ukrainian territory may be used in some way in the new
antimissile shield.” [11] Poland borders Russia’s Kaliningrad
enclave, but Ukraine has a 1,576-kilometer (979-mile) border with
Russia.

The State Department
issued a press release on the agreement to deploy American troops
to Poland, the first foreign forces to be based there since the
end of the Warsaw Pact in 1991, which stated “The agreement
will facilitate a range of mutually agreed activities including
joint training and exercises, deployments of U.S. military personnel,
and prospective Ballistic Missile Defense deployments.” [12]

A Pentagon
spokesperson said “U.S. Army Europe will help the Polish Armed
Forces develop their air and missile defense capabilities. Considering
the cooperative training we already do with the Polish Armed Forces,
this Patriot training program is just another extension of that
effort.” [13]

If earlier
plans to deploy ground-based midcourse missiles to Poland evoked,
however implausibly, an alleged Iranian missile threat, the Patriots
can only be meant for Russia.

Russian Lieutenant-General
Aitech Bizhev, former commander of the United Air Defense System
of the Commonwealth of Independent States, told one of his nation’s
main news agencies:

“It’s
completely unclear why the air defense group of the northern flank
of NATO needed strengthening – NATO has manifold superiority
over Russian conventional armaments as it is.

“It can’t
be ruled out that the stationing of the Patriots in Poland may be
followed by other actions in building up the American military infrastructure
in Eastern Europe…” [14]

The 1991 Strategic
Arms Reduction Treaty (START) on the Reduction and Limitation of
Strategic Offensive Arms expired on December 5 and has been extended,
but no agreement has been reached on a new pact, 48 days later.

At the end
of last year Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was asked
about the delay and identified the main impediment to resolving
it: “What is the problem? The problem is that our American
partners are building an anti-missile shield and we are not building
one.”

He further
defined the problem: “If we are not developing an anti-missile
shield, then there is a danger that our partners, by creating such
‘an umbrella,’ will feel completely secure and thus can
allow themselves to do what they want, disrupting the balance, and
aggressiveness will rise immediately.”

In respect
to how prospects for the reduction, much less elimination, of nuclear
arms in Europe and North America were faring, Putin added, “In
order to preserve balance… we need to develop offensive weapons
systems,” [15] reiterating a statement by his nation’s
president, Dmitry Medvedev, a week before. The timing of the announcement
that the Pentagon will soon station Patriot missiles so close to
Russian territory will not help matters. Nor was the State Department’s
contention that “the START follow-on agreement is not the appropriate
vehicle for addressing” the issue of “missile offense
and defense.” [16]

A month before,
Russian news media revealed that “Russia’s Strategic Missile
Forces (SMF), the land-based component of the nuclear triad, will
put on combat duty a second regiment equipped with Topol-M mobile
missile systems by the end of 2009.

“The Topol-M
missile, with a range of about 7,000 miles (11,000 km), is said
to be immune to any current and future U.S. ABM [Anti-Ballistic
Missile] defense. It is capable of making evasive maneuvers to avoid
a kill using terminal phase interceptors [for example Patriot missiles],
and carries targeting countermeasures and decoys.” [17]

Just as supplying
Taiwan with Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) theater anti-ballistic
missiles led China to conduct a ground-based, midcourse missile
interception on January 11, so moving U.S. military hardware and
troops nearer Russia bodes poorly for a nuclear arms reduction agreement.

On the non-strategic
front, the 1990 Treaty On Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE)
limiting the amount and expansion of major armaments on the continent
is also seriously jeopardized by U.S. and NATO missile shield plans.
The adapted CFE (Agreement on Adaptation of the Treaty on Conventional
Armed Forces in Europe) of 1999 has not been ratified by any member
of NATO, which has linked it with so-called frozen conflicts in
the former Soviet Union. The August 2008 Georgia-Russia war was
a consequence of that obstructionist and belligerent policy. The
establishment of permanent U.S. and NATO military bases in Kosovo,
Bulgaria, Romania, Lithuania and now Poland is a gross violation
of and may prove the death knell for the CFE.

Russia suspended
the observance of its treaty obligations under the CFE on July 14,
2007 because of “extraordinary circumstances… which affect
the security of the Russian Federation and require immediate measures.”
[18]

The circumstances
alluded to were the U.S. project of establishing missile interception
facilities in Eastern Europe and the general movement of NATO bases
and forces to the Baltic and Black Sea regions.

On November
29 of last year Russia “released a draft of a proposal for
a new European security agreement the Kremlin says should replace
outdated institutions such as NATO and the Organization for Security
and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).” [19]

Chinese analysts
Yu Maofeng and Lu Jingli contend that Moscow was motivated by its
concerns over U.S. and NATO missile plans, NATO’s eastward
expansion to its borders, the 1999 war against Yugoslavia, Western-sponsored
“color revolutions” in other former Soviet states and
NATO members’ non-ratification of the Treaty On Conventional
Armed Forces in Europe. [20]

For the past
thirty years each successive American president has unveiled an
ostensible plan to eliminate nuclear weapons, if none before now
has received the Nobel Peace Prize while in office [21]. Each in
turn then escalated reckless arms buildups and armed aggression
abroad in an effort to achieve global military dominance. The current
U.S. commander-in-chief with his foreign policy entourage of Robert
Gates, James Jones and Hillary Clinton is no exception. [22]

Notes

1) Yemen:
Pentagon’s War On The Arabian Peninsula

Stop NATO, December 15, 2009

2) Rumors
Of Coups And War: U.S., NATO Target Latin America

Stop NATO, November 18, 2009

3) Bulgaria,
Romania: U.S., NATO Bases For War In The East

Stop NATO, October 24, 2009

4) AFRICOM
Year Two: Seizing The Helm Of The Entire World

Stop NATO, October 22, 2009

5) U.S.-China
Military Tensions Grow

Stop NATO, January 19, 2010

6) New York
Times, January 21, 2010

7) Voice of
Russia, December 14, 2009

8) U.S. Missile
Shield System Deployments: Larger, Sooner, Broader
Stop NATO, September 27, 2009
Black Sea,
Caucasus: U.S. Moves Missile Shield South And East

Stop NATO, September 19, 2009
U.S.
Expands Global Missile Shield Into Middle East, Balkans

Stop NATO, September 11, 2009

9) Bloomberg
News, January 14, 2010

10) Polish
Radio, December 11, 2009

11) Russia
Today, October 16, 2009

12) Stars and
Stripes, December 21, 2009

13) Ibid

14) Interfax
Ukraine, January 20, 2010

15) Reuters,
December 29, 2009

16) Ibid

17) Russian
Information Agency Novosti, November 18, 2009

18) Time, July
14, 2007

19) Radio Free
Europe/Radio Liberty, November 30, 2009

20) Strategic
considerations behind Russian proposal for new European security
treaty

Xinhua News Agency, December 1, 2009

21) Obama
Doctrine: Eternal War For Imperfect Mankind

Stop NATO, December 10, 2009

22) White
House And Pentagon: Change, Continuity And Escalation

Stop NATO, March 19, 2009

This originally
appeared at GlobalResearch.

Rick
Rozoff [send him mail] runs
the Stop NATO Yahoo
group
. Visit his
blog
.

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