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Europe Might Consider Own Missile Defence System
- Subject: Europe Might Consider Own Missile Defence System
- From: rossana <rossana at comodinoposta.org>
- Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2007 23:31:31 +0100
- User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 126.96.36.199 (Windows/20061207)
by Staff Writers
Baku (AFP) Feb 19, 2007
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Monday said Europe
was considering its own missile defence system in parallel to a shield
the United States wants to put up in Eastern Europe. But Steinmeier, who
has criticized the United States for not discussing its planned missile
shield with Russia, said acknowledged that Europe does not yet have the
technological know-how to build a rival to the US system.
"I think that a lot of countries are interested in these (defence)
systems. Time will tell how many of these are effective," Steinmeier
said as he left a meeting with Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar
Mammadyarov in Baku.
He added: "In Europe, we are also thinking about the creation of such
systems and of their deployment. But for the moment we are not very far
advanced in terms of the technology."
The prime ministers of Poland and the Czech Republic met Monday to
discuss the proposed US defence system in their countries. They have not
yet formally agreed to accept the US shield but have welcomed plan,
which the Washington says is intended to intercept possible attacks from
Iran and North Korea.
Russia has strongly objected to having such a system on its doorstep.
And in an interview on Monday with the German daily newspaper,
Handelsblatt, Steinmeier said the United States should have discussed
the plan with Russia before announcing it.
"One should have spoken with Russia earlier as the sites where they (the
missiles) are to be stationed are close to Russia," he said.
"Considering the strategic nature of such projects, I call for a
cautious approach and intensive dialogue with all partners who are
directly or indirectly affected," he added.
Policy Watch: Putin's Munich speech
by Mark N. Katz
Washington (UPI) Feb. 16 - Russian President Vladimir Putin's Feb. 10
speech at the Munich Conference on Security Policy received a lot of
press coverage in the West for its criticism of U.S. foreign policy.
Less noted in the United States, however, was that his speech was also
critical of European governments.
Putin's unhappiness with American foreign policy was evident from his
denunciation of the "unipolar world." Putin particularly objects to the
"almost unrestrained, exaggerated use of force" and what he sees as
America imposing its legal norms "on other states in all spheres."
He also stated his opposition to the deployment of American missile
defense systems in Europe and the militarization of outer space. Putin
said that while Russia will "strictly adhere to the obligation" that
Washington and Moscow agreed upon to each reduce its deliverable
strategic nuclear warhead inventory to 1,700-2,200 by the end of 2012,
he expressed fear that the U.S. will not.
In all these matters, Putin appears to be appealing to European
governments and publics to side with Russia against America. But there
are matters on which he opposes Europe also. Putin declared that the
decision to use force "can be regarded as legitimate only if" it is made
within the United Nations framework (where Russia holds a veto in the
Security Council). He specifically declared that neither NATO (which
includes the United States) nor the European Union (which does not)
should substitute for the U.N.
Putin's complaints about American forces and missile defense systems
being deployed in Eastern Europe "closer to our state borders" not only
expresses his objection to the U.S. decision to send its forces there,
but to East European governments' decisions to accept them.
In addition, Putin's objection to the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe's "unwarranted interference in the ... internal
affairs" of other countries (i.e., Russia) is a complaint not just about
American, but also European concerns for Moscow's commitment to
democracy and human rights.
Putin noted that "foreign capital accounts for up to 26 percent of oil
extraction in Russia" and that there is fifteen times more foreign
investment in Russia than there is Russian investment in other
countries. His citing these statistics was meant to counter European as
much or more than American complaints about the investment climate their
firms face in Russia, the efforts of Russian businesses to expand their
operations in Europe, and Russian energy policies.
In response to a question, Putin said that Russia will not support any
decision on the status of Kosovo (where the Albanian majority seeks
independence from Serbia) which "one party [i.e., Serbia -- which does
not want to let go of Kosovo] is clearly dissatisfied with." This
indicates Putin's opposition not just to American policy on this issue,
but European policy as well.
Overall, the tone of Putin's speech was not so much belligerent as it
was petulant. Putin's principal message seems to be that America and
Europe have misunderstood Russia. Further, American and European
complaints about Russia are illegitimate while Russian complaints about
them are all legitimate. More than anything else, Putin is upset that
Americans and Europeans are making decisions without consulting Russia
on important matters which concern it.
While undoubtedly heartfelt, Putin's speech is unlikely to persuade
European or American leaders to change their policies toward Russia.
Indeed, petulant statements like the one Putin made in Munich only
encourage European governments to retain their alliance with the United
States despite their objections to Bush administration policies.
(Mark N. Katz is a professor of government and politics at George Mason
Source: United Press International
Source: Agence France-Presse
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