News / Europe

US, Russia Still at Odds Over Missile Defense

A US sailor looks on from his station next to the weapons control deck of the USS Monterey, carrying AEGIS class ballistic missile defense technology, in the Black Sea port of Constanta, Romania, June 7, 2011 (file photo)
A US sailor looks on from his station next to the weapons control deck of the USS Monterey, carrying AEGIS class ballistic missile defense technology, in the Black Sea port of Constanta, Romania, June 7, 2011 (file photo)

A ballistic missile defense system stationed in Europe has been a contentious issue between the United States and Russia for many years.

The Bush administration first proposed to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar facility in the Czech Republic. That proposal addressed Iran’s long-range ballistic missile threat. But in September 2009, President Barack Obama canceled the Bush plan, opting for what experts describe as a more flexible approach.

Daryl Kimball, head of the Arms Control Association, a private research group, said the Obama system is designed to deal with the missile threat that already exists - the short and medium-range missiles that could come from Iran.

“They [Iranians] have short-range ballistic missiles that are capable of reaching their immediate neighbors within a couple hundred kilometers of their border," said Kimball. "They have some medium-range missiles that can strike the edges of Europe and Israel - all of these are armed with conventional warheads.”

Obama missile-defense plan

The Obama plan involves putting SM-3 ground-based interceptors in Poland by 2015 and in Romania by 2018. These are still being developed.

But Marko Papic, analyst with STRATFOR, a private intelligence firm, said there are SM-3 missiles aboard U.S. Navy ships and those are included in the Obama missile defense plan.

“The United States can position wherever the threat is most imminent from," said Papic. "So, for example, the U.S. could steam its vessels into the Baltic Sea or the Mediterranean or the Black Sea and position a counter to potential missile threats from the Middle East or from North Korea from there - which is why the ground-based component of it, it’s not really clear it’s even necessary.”

For years, Russian officials have criticized the U.S. missile defense plan. They do not believe its goal is to defend against possible missile attacks from rogue countries.

Russia's suspicion

Arms control expert Joseph Cirincione said Russia is convinced the U.S. seeks advantage over Moscow, knowing its nuclear forces are slowly declining.

“They are aging and Russia doesn’t have the money to replace them one-for-one," said Cirincione. "They are worried that the U.S. is going to seek some advantage by putting up a ring of anti-missile systems around Russia, supposedly aimed at Iran but the Russians believe secretly aimed at them, and then be able to take out Russia’s nuclear forces in a first strike, mopping up whatever is left by an anti-missile system that could shoot down Russian missiles. That is a complete fantasy, by the way. There is no truth to that whatsoever.”

Papic with STRATFOR said that for Moscow, it really doesn’t matter what kind of missiles the Americans put in place in Europe.

“Because ultimately, the Russian deterrent is not countered by this plan - and that’s because Russia has an overwhelming number of intercontinental ballistic missiles that it could launch on Europe if it really wanted to, with, of course, multiple warheads and things like that. So there is absolutely no way America can prevent an attack.”

Fear of US presence

Papic and others say Russia realizes the military part of its criticism is bogus. But Papic said what is unacceptable to Moscow, is that the U.S. missile defense installations represent a move by American forces into central and Eastern Europe.

“Fundamentally, what Russia doesn’t want to see, is American quote-unquote ‘boots on the ground’ - moving from their positions of Cold War Germany and Western Europe, closer to Russia’s sphere of influence and periphery,” said Papic.

At the NATO summit in Lisbon last year, the United States and Russia agreed to collaborate on the issue of missile defense. Experts say while some progress has been made, Moscow is still fundamentally opposed to the U.S. missile defense plan.


You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video US Landmark Pushes Endangered Species

People gathered in streets, on rooftops in Manhattan to see image highlights that covered 33 floors of Empire State Building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs