A new Cold War knocks on the door The Russian Foreign Ministry has warned that it will be responding to US plans to set up a missile defence shield in Eastern European countries and that this response will not be only by diplomatic means. With this announcement from Moscow, we are now in a new era. Moscow sees the missile shield agreement signed between the United States and Poland as definitively against itself and hostile. Russia had previously reacted similarly to a radar system set up in the Czech Republic. The United States has not left Russia’s announcements without response: as the headline-grabbing duels between the sides continue without any sign of reducing speed, the world is once again heading towards an indefinite horizon. The project, formerly known as “Star Wars” and now titled the “Missile Defence Shield”, has seen the White House push the Kremlin into a corner without any intention of stepping back. US President George W Bush insisting that South Ossetia and Abkhazia are part of Georgia and that they would be “working with allies to guarantee Georgia’s independence and territorial integrity” is, in this regard, a clear sign of this. The United States is showing it is determined to support Georgia’s democracy. Against the Missile Shield, Nuclear Russia’s position is quite clear: “The radar systems in the Czech Republic could encompass all of the European section. The long-range missiles in Poland have no other target other than the intercontinental missiles in Russia and they appear to have no target other than this in the future either. It is clear that the US missile shield will be enlarged and modernised in Europe. The US administration does not hide this. In this case, Russia will have to respond in a manner that is not solely made up of diplomatic means. The US intention to change the strategic balance in its favour and prevent the security and stability in the world from strengthening is clearly demonstrated once again.” The emphasis here of Russia having to respond in a manner that is not solely made up of diplomatic means is reason for thought. The statement contains language that was rarely even used during the Cold War, and continues thus: “It is not lying declarations of intent and promises, but concrete activities and legally-binding declarations between states that will be taken into regard. A country should not be putting another country’s security at risk by attempting to secure itself. A system of strategic stability and international security can only be establishing on reciprocal, equal ground. We would like to emphasise that the establishing of a Third Position Region in Europe, which has a real potential to be anti-Russia, will not increase security on the continent. These activities are dragging the continent and other regions towards rearmament, it is creating insecurity and this is not Russia’s choice.” Poland has put itself behind the shield Shortly before this announcement, the United States and Poland signed an agreement in Warsaw to place the missile defence systems in Poland. The agreement, bearing the signatures of US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski, launches the decision to place a missile defence system 180 kilometres from the border with Russia. Under the terms of the agreement between Washington and Warsaw, the United States will place 10 missiles in a military base on the shores of the Baltic. Shortly after hearing of this announcement, Russia made a firm statement and said this situation would expose Poland to “open to attack” and there could even be a nuclear attack. Pointing to the fact that Russia had broadened its understanding of clashes in which nuclear weapons could be used in 2000, Nogovitsyn said: “This agreement is written. Against those governments bearing nuclear weapons and those governments’ allies, we will use nuclear weapons in the event that those allies are provided the opportunity to attain nuclear weapons.” Russia said that, in the event of Poland allowing the United States to establish a missile defence system on its territory, that it would prepare the ground for attack. Russia declared that the missile defence system would be destroyed. It was of little help that Mr Sikorski announced Russia would be allowed to inspect the missile defence base. Ukraine has chosen itself a side Cancelling an agreement it made with Russia around the same time, Ukraine has announced it too could connect its missile facilities to the system in Europe and open it up for the use of foreign countries. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has announced that the cancellation of joint radar system use agreements with Russia presented the opportunity for Ukraine to actively cooperate with European countries. A Foreign Ministry statement said that, in the context of cooperation, Ukraine’s missile detection and space control elements could be integrated with the systems of interested countries. Sergei Lavrov as said, under the terms of an agreement signed with Ukraine, there should be no obstacle on the entry and exit of Russian ships from a port in Sevastopol, but Ukraine is most likely no longer shaken by Russia’s response. Mr Lavrov has announced he attempted many times to discuss the matter with Ukraine: “But in spite of all our calls, Kiev has attempted to stand away from the matter. Now, after the incidents in South Ossetia, the Ukrainian side announces it has taken a unilateral decision regarding the movement of Russian shipping in the Black Sea. It is an astonishing situation for us.” It appears that the countries upon which Russia can rely – Dr Rice calls these “Russia’s satellite states” – are diminishing. Support for young democracies The United States after 11 September entered, in its own words, into a great ideological war between the powers of freedom and those of tyranny. US President George Bush said “we stand by brave democratic reformists. One of the most inspiring parts of history was written by the Georgian people with the Rose Revolution of 2003.” This was probably the last thing the Kremlin wanted to hear. Mr Bush’s most important emphasis was on Russia “showing more reaction than necessary and invading Georgia in response to the clashes in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Mr Bush is attempting to rapidly marginalise Mr Putin in the world states system. He sees benefit in cutting NATO-Russia relations for this. Rice: Russia will be punished US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had given hints of “a new world order” before the NATO meeting that followed Russia’s intervention in Georgia. Dr Rice said “Russia was playing a dangerous game by embarking on a show of muscle” and emphasised that the United States and NATO would not tolerate a new iron curtain in Europe. It would not allow Russia to emerge victorious in Georgia. These are statements of more colour than we are accustomed to from Rice. Russian jets on the Alaskan border Doubtless, the matter that is pushing Dr Rice to talking as firmly as this is the fact that Russia restarted patrol flights of Cold War-style bombing flights on the border with Alaska. Dr Rice considers this response, in the form of close flights from Russian Tu95 strategic bombers over the last six months, to be a “direct threat” from Russia. Dr Rice’s words that Russian President Dmitri Medvedev was “perhaps unable to stand up to his predecessor, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin or the Russian army”, and the non-implementation of the ceasefire agreement attained through the efforts of French president Nicolas Sarkozy, was perhaps the firmest statement sent to the Kremlin. Another junction has passed in history Following the NATO Council’s extraordinary meeting to consider the latest developments in the Caucasus and develop a stance against Russia, the organisation’s Secretary-General, Japp de Hoop Scheffer said in a statement to press that “while Russia’s armies are still in Georgia, we cannot have normal relations with Russia”. These words actually showed that the west could never again trust Russia. The summit’s resolution statement said that NATO would be working to establish even deeper relations with Georgia and that, after reaffirming its territorial integrity and sovereignty, would be making Georgia a member of NATO. The possibility of reconciliation reduces During the summit, Turkey emphasised that relations with Russia should not be suspended and that it was important to leave open channels of communication with Russia. Alongside Turkey, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Germany and France shared the same view. And Germany, France and Turkey did not allow NATO aircraft to assume the defence of Georgia’s airspace. The three countries argued such a decision would lead to rising military tension between Russia and NATO and, in effect, attempting to implement a “balance and break”. But in spite of opposition to suspended or even freezing the NATO-Russia Council, Washington did not change its stance, and it was supported in this regard by the former Eastern bloc countries of Central and Easter Europe. As a result, Russia froze its military relations with NATO temporarily. As Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said, they made this reaction because “NATO’s decision was not objective but biased”, and perhaps because the Kremlin wanted to respond to a firm move with an even firmer one. NATO was unable to make the same decision as the Kremlin did. Russia’s reprisal is the Middle East In these conditions when reprisals are met with reprisals, Moscow immediately decided to give weapons to Syria. A Russian official statement said that the weapons were for defence purposes and would not upset the balance of power in the region. Mr Lavrov, in a statement, said that “both Russia and Syria were in favour of resolving Iran’s nuclear programme through peaceful means” and suggested that Russia was on the eve of a new opening regarding the Iranian matter. Regarding the latest situation in the Middle East, Mr Lavrov said “the principle problem here is that there is no unity amongst the Palestinians. Moscow and Damascus will work together to attain reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.” By saying this, he showed that the Middle East too will be affected by this earthquake in the world’s conjuncture. Considering Russia previously accused Israel of supplying Georgia with armaments, providing weapons to Syria must be seen as an expected step. Russia had previously stopped the sale of weapons to Syria upon pressure from the United States and Israel. What is the Missile Defence System? The Missile Defence System is a project which first came to light in the 1980s as “Star Wars”, and later became the “National Missile Defence Shield” because it was intended towards defending US territory. Later, the project was expanded to “secure the protection US Armed Forces stationed in different regions of the world”. The Missile Defence Shield was planned with a launch and ascent, and a subject destroying of the target missile outside of the atmosphere or during the stage of re-entry to the atmosphere. The plan is for an enemy missile to be detected with radar, for the radar information to be transmitted to central computers by means of satellite, for the central computers to calculate the trajectory of the enemy missile and to fire preventative missiles and for these preventative missiles to be fed information regarding any change in path by the enemy missile, which would then be destroyed. The Missile Defence Shield will be managed from a central located and all its elements – satellite, radar, preventative missiles – will work in synchronisation. The shield’s systems for firing and rising are in the development stage. The preventative missiles for use beyond the atmosphere are at a testing stage and are planned to be placed in Poland. There are also plans to install anti-missile systems similar to Patriot and Arrow for defence during the re-entry to atmosphere stage.
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