It seems that the NATO Monitor suggestion that there was still deep divisions amongst European allies on the Obama administration BMD plans may have been overdoing it- notwithstanding the outspoken statement by Slovak prime Minister Robert Fico this week.
On Thursday, Fico met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen this week, and came out of the meeting declaring to journalists that “As long as I'm the Slovak Prime Minister,
This statement has much more to do with Slovak internal politics than with any NATO plans. And Fico also welcomed the reorientation of NATO and
On missile defence, Secretary Gates kicked off the discussion with a short briefing on the new
A major element in European willingness to support the Obama administration’s proposals is that they do not antagonize
The Bush administration had intended to deploy mid-course BMD interceptors in
In the context of the administration’s desire to counter potential launches from Iran, the proposed system that will see a phased deployment across south-eastern Europe as part of an integrated NATO system, is actually targeted at shorter range systems than the ICBMS the mid-course system targets (and that, incidentally, Iran does not possess). US Defense Secretary Robert Gates also told journalists that radars in southern
From a NATO Europe perspective the new system has several advantages. It is far more developed than the proposed mid-course system, which simply doesn’t work. It poses no strategic threat to
A number of NATO ministers made supportive statements after the meeting and during the course of this week, while Vice-President Biden has been visiting
This system remains at the proposal stage, and a lot of work is still to be done. NATO has been discussing whether or not to develop an
I think NATO Foreign Ministers will look to take this forward in December. And I hope that, by our Lisbon Summit next fall, we can agree to make European missile defence fully a NATO mission.
The intention is to have the proposed system up and running by 2015. NATO Monitor suggests that it would be sensible to put as much effort as has gone into brokering this deal into working with NATO’s neighbours to end fears of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons attack. Arms control, non-proliferation and disarmament can play a major role in enhancing