The “reboot” of Russian-American relations is showing some promise…
One of the first steps in this process was when President Obama renounced a favourite plan of his predecessor, George Bush, to deploy American missiles in close proximity to the Russian frontier in Poland and Czechia. That cleared the way for settling other important problems in our bilateral relations. Preparations for signing a new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty got off the ground at last, and, after difficult negotiations, eventually resulted in an agreement signed by Presidents Dmitri Medvedev and Barack Obama in Prague in May 2010. However, as it became clear shortly afterward, in Washington politics at least, the issue is not so simple and straightforward. At the end of September, Bucharest announced that it was getting ready to sign an agreement on the deployment of American missile bases in Romania, and a similar base was planned for Bulgaria. As it happens, instead of Poland, Romania will be the site of the missile bases, and Bulgaria will host the radar sites, instead of Czechia. Nevertheless, a change of location makes no difference as far as the result is concerned. Given the situation, the American moves cause as much concern as before.
Commenting on the situation, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said, “We discussed our stance on the topic of the missile defence of Europe at length, and, apparently, had an agreement that there would be no ABM missile bases in Poland or Czechia. That was great! Then, all of a sudden, we learned that the US declared that it was moving its missiles to other European countries. So, where is the ‘reboot’?” This is a reasonable question. Amongst other questions, one of the things that was brought up in connection with the missile defence programme is how long is the United States is going to drag its feet over ratifying the new START Treaty. Signed in May, the US Senate was supposed to ratify the treaty by the middle of September. Now, as we come to the end of the first ten days of October, the opponents of the treaty are preventing ratification from going ahead by linking it to missile defence. Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) said a few days ago that the Senate should add an amendment to the treaty with a special resolution stating that it imposes no restrictions on American plans to develop a missile defence system.
Powerful lobbies in the USA have doggedly pursued a missile defence programme ever since President Ronald Reagan launched it 25 years ago. Moreover, the intensity of their commitment to such a project continues unabated, despite substantial and fundamental failures and losses. One of the latest failures, which cost the USA 120 million dollars (3.69 billion Roubles 87.156 million Euros 76.368 million UK Pounds), occurred recently at an air force base in California, when an interceptor missile failed to hit a hypothetical target and exploded in mid-air. Professor Richard Garwin, whom many consider as one of the fathers of the American thermonuclear bomb programme, gave an authoritative opinion on it when he spoke in the US Senate recently; he said, “The American missile defence system in its current incarnation is simply useless, we have to rethink it”.
Auditors from the GAO came to an equally frustrated and disappointing conclusion. They admitted that the so-called missile defence experts failed to achieve the desired results despite the huge price tag, and that the system they did build was a total bungle. The sums allocated for the ABM defence programme were astronomical. Experts estimate that the government spent over one trillion dollars (30.746 trillion Roubles 726 billion Euros 636 billion UK Pounds) during the years of the existence of the project, and it will require hundreds of billions more if continued. This explains why the masterminds of American ABM defence have persevered so mulishly in its pursuit, regardless of common sense. They didn’t invest the hundreds of billions of dollars earmarked for missile defence into space research as promised, but it migrated into the bank accounts of those who turned it into a gold mine. These people have much power and influence in present-day Washington. Whether American policymakers will remain hostage to these mighty groups remains to be seen.
5 October 2010
A View from Moscow
Voice of Russia World Service
The Tea Party has NO positive programme… they are mere obstructionists. For instance, the Republicans refused to ratify the START Treaty… they expect Russia to stay quiescent in the face of American (neocon) provocations. Let me assure you, any US ABM missile or radar sites would be the targets of Russian MRBMs in case of a crisis (the range involved is short enough that no ABM could be launched against them, they’re only effective against long-range ICBMs). That’s why, eventually, no European country will take such forces onto their territory.
Reflect on this… the Tea Party has no real existence, it’s a stalking horse used by rightwing Republican nutters (truly, it’s the last stand of the Bull Connors), and they use it to advance the same GOP nostrums that landed us in the economic depression we are in at present. That is, the Tea Party supports:
- A pointless and unending war in Afghanistan
- Spending billions on an ABM system that doesn’t and can never work
- The maintenance of secret CIA torture facilities in compliant client states (Lithuania and the Ukraine kicked ‘em out, but that leaves Latvia, Estonia, Croatia, Albania, and Bosnia as willing running-dog lackey suckers)
- The “export” of American jobs via “outsourcing”
- The turnover of the entire US healthcare system to HMOs and insurance companies, with no restrictions on their operations
- The dismantling of all regulations on banks and investment houses (thus, clearing the way for suffering that would put the Great Depression in the shade)
- The pointless and endless “War on Drugs” and “War on Terror” (and they wish to add a third and fourth, a “War on Abortion” and a “War on Homosexuals”)
- The abolition of inheritance taxes to favour the richest amongst us
- The destruction of the governmental social safety net
- The ending of all government regulations on labour, business, the environment, and transportation
Any questions? I didn’t think so…