Who’s the bully? American anti-missile system more about attack than defense
Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66
Well, at least it’s clear to everyone now that it had nothing to do with the “threat” from Iran, though just a few years ago the US administration stated quite to the contrary.
President Barack Obama, speech in Prague, April 5, 2009:
“So let me be clear: Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile activity poses a real threat, not just to the United States, but to Iran's neighbors and our allies. The Czech Republic and Poland have been courageous in agreeing to host a defense against these missiles. As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven. (Applause.) If the Iranian threat is eliminated, we will have a stronger basis for security, and the driving force for missile defense construction in Europe will be removed.”
It is important to see the scheme in its wider context, as a part of an aggressive neocon-inspired campaign to surround and threaten Russia. The missile defense shield is part of that strategy- so is the ongoing attempt to engineer regime change in Ukraine, and bring to power a more pro-western government in that country.
While in public at least, leading American and Western politicians talk of Russia as being a “partner,” their actions and their policies have been consistently hostile to Moscow.
Countries which have friendly links with Russia, such as Ukraine, Belarus, Syria and Venezuela have been deliberately targeted and singled out for “destabilization.”
In Ukraine that means American officials and politicians traveling to Kiev to show “solidarity” with anti-government protesters, and the US hinting that it will impose sanctions on the country unless it tows the line i.e. distances itself from Russia and locks itself forever into “Euro-Atlantic” structures.
In Belarus, sanctions have long been imposed – ostensibly over concerns over human rights – yet the US has among its closest allies countries such as Saudi Arabia that have far worse records in this area.
The dream of the US is to surround Russia with a series of “Polands” – countries led by aggressively anti-Russian governments, such as Radek Sikorski-like clones as their Foreign Ministers to increase the pressure on Moscow and reassert an American superiority which has been fading since the Iraq war and the resurgence of Russia as a major international player under President Putin.
Yet when Russia responds to this aggressive policy of encirclement and tries to protect its legitimate interests, it is portrayed as the aggressor. The news that Russia has moved short-range nuclear-capable Iskander missiles closer to EU borders in response to the missile defense plan.
led US State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf to declare: “We’ve urged Russia to take no steps to destabilize the region.” Coming from the US, the country that specializes in destabilization, that’s rich indeed.
Just imagine if Russia adopted a similar “encirclement” policy toward the US.
Imagine the furore if Russian politicians travelled to countries bordering the US, e.g. Canada or Mexico to take part in anti-American protests calling for regime change and the replacement of the current governments in those countries with ones that had promised to sign a trade deal with Russia and break links with the US. Just imagine too if Russia announced plans to erect a missile defense shield in Mexico. Or if the Kremlin was bankrolling opposition parties in Canada.
When President Obama was first elected there were hopes that there would be a recalibration of relations between the US and Russia.
During the Georgia-Russia conflict in 2008, when Russian forces were deployed to counter Georgian aggression against South Ossetia, the fanatical neocon presidential candidate John McCain provocatively declared, “Today, we are all Georgians.” Barack Obama however was more circumspect. In September 2009 President Obama scrapped George W. Bush’s missile defense shield plans in a move that was hailed by then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev as a “responsible move.” Yet only a month later Vice President Joe Biden was in Poland to announce a new, more mobile missile defense shield system. Since then the US has consistently refused to give Russia the very reasonable reassurances it seeks over the plans.
The idea that we need a missile defense system in Europe for protection against Russia is absurd. The biggest threats to peace in the last 20 years have come not from Russia but from the US and its closest allies – who have attacked a series of countries from Yugoslavia to Libya. And it’s from the US and its allies that the threat of attack still comes. Having the shield and having nuclear missiles too might tempt a hawkish US President, egged on by neocon advisers and the war lobby to launch a nuclear first strike against Russia- knowing that the defense system would act as a protection against a Russian retaliatory attack.
In other words, the missile defense system, which is supposed to be about deterring attack, makes one more likely. No wonder the west’s most fanatical warmongers are so in favor of it. It should come as no surprise that the biggest supporters of the missile shield are neocons-and when the serial attack dogs of the international arena are so keen on a ‘defense’ system, we should all be worried.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.