Newly-appointed US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel stated that Washington scrapped its plans to deploy ABM bases in Poland and Romania. Some analysts interpreted this move as a goodwill gesture towards Russia, given Moscow’s opposition to the deployment of American ABM bases in proximity to its borders, as it sees such deployments as a threat to its national security. Most likely, the Washington leadership didn’t have such ideas. The decision to abandon commitments that went back to the times of President George H. W. Bush during the 1989 Malta Summit is due to other causes. Whatever the reasons for such a gesture, it definitely wasn’t prompted by concerns about Russia. Two major reasons prompted the recent decision to abandon the planned American ABM bases in Poland and Romania.
Firstly, the missile defence system on which the USA has worked on for decades, since Ronald Reagan’s “Star Wars” Strategic Defence Initiative, is ineffective. According to Professor Richard Garwin, one of the scientists behind the American hydrogen bomb, speaking to the US Senate, “The American ABM defence system in its current form is simply useless”. After reviewing the situation, a Congressional panel set up to look into the credibility of Garwin’s conclusion found that the widely-hyped potential of the US ABM defence shield was mostly theoretical, on paper. Its report stated, “Bluntly put, it has no basis in reality”. Several years ago, a group of Nobel Prize-winning academics wrote a report addressed to the US President, warning, “It’s impossible to create an effective ABM defence shield, given the current level of scientific and technical knowledge, and it’d be devastating to American national interests, undermining its present economic and political arrangements”.
The state of the US economy is the second reason behind Washington’s decision to call off ABM defence plans for Eastern Europe. A disproportionately-huge US federal debt, some 17 trillion USD (529 trillion Roubles. 13.3 trillion Euros. 11.2 trillion UK Pounds), forced American leaders to cut back on their enormous appetites. The billions of dollars that’d be necessary to deploy ABM bases are too much of a burden for the US federal budget. These two reasons, rather than a notional missile threat coming from the DPRK, or concerns about American-Russian relations, made Washington give up its long-planned and much-cherished ABM defence plans. Moscow has no illusions regarding the true causes of the “peaceful sentiments” seen on the banks of the Potomac. However, if these sentiments become reality, then, Russia would be happy about it.
Voice of Russia World Service