Berlin, May 31, 2007
ANOTHER GLOBAL ARMS RACE?
By Uli Schmetzer
What if Russia, China or some other gun-ho nuclear club member installed ballistic missiles on
the doorsteps of the United States?
Surely Washington would consider this a de facto declaration of war as it did during the 1962 Cuban
So no one should be surprised President Vladimir Putin this month warned the U.S. their
plan for an East European anti-missile shield based in Poland and the Czech Republic (both former
Soviet satellite nations) would turn Europe into â€˜a powder keg.â€™
The missiles would be pointed east, towards Russian territory yet the slick American spin
doctors are selling the shield to gullible Europeans and the far more skeptical Russians as a defense
against attack from Iran.
Their sales pitch is thrice stupid: First Iran does not possess long-range missiles capable to
carry nuclear warheads to east or west Europe. Secondly Iran would be pulverized before or after it
launched such a missile. Thirdly if Teheran ever did develop such weapons surely it would launch
them towards what it conceives as â€˜the Evil Empireâ€™ in the new not the old world.
The real reason for â€˜the shieldâ€™ is far more devious.
Left as the dominant superpower with its economy linked to permanent war and the national
armament industry U.S. strategists are conscious their plan for the anti-missile shield on Russiaâ€™s
front door is certain to kindle what their war machinery needs most: Another global arms race.
After all, as any independent military expert can tell you, the U.S. anti-missile â€˜shieldâ€™
is not there for defense but first strike or pre-emptive strike capability.
In other words the shield is not a shield but a spear.
Its function is not to protect America or its allies in Europe but to be another tool assuring
U.S. global dominance - just like the 800-odd U.S. bases around the world, some of them now in what
used to be the Soviet Unionâ€™s East European sphere of influence.
At the same time the shield serves to bolster the U.S.-Israeli military punch against Iran.
And thatâ€™s how a defensive shield against Iran ends up as an offensive weapon
Russia, barely emerged from the nightmare of adapting from a totalitarian system to a free
market economy, would have to spent its new and lucrative profits from natural gas, petroleum and
mineral resources on bolstering its defense capability. That in turn would prompt Europe and the new
East European nations (like Poland and the Czech Republic) to boost their own military arsenal. Most
of the military acquisition would be â€˜Made in the USA.â€™
Now if this all sounds too sinister consider this little bit of treachery: When Gorbachev
allowed the reunification of Germany and dissolved the Warsaw Pact he was given an assurance by
the U.S. that NATO (the US-run North Atlantic Treaty Organization) would not expand. That promise
was quietly broken years ago though no one in the western media made much of a fuss about it.
If anyone has any doubts about an impending arms race take the statement by Russian
deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov who announced this week his country tested an intercontinental
ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple independent warheads able to â€˜overcome any existing
or future missile defense systems.â€�
This boast may only be chest-beating rhetoric for the moment but one way or the other
the race has already started to build even more deadly systems of mass destruction.
Perhaps the tens and tens of thousands of protesters heading for the G8 meeting in
Rostock this weekend are going there basically to remind the worldâ€™s cocooned leaders at nearby
Heiligendamm of the appeal by Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell fifty years ago.
The two warned that in order to save the human race we need to abandon wars. But
the war-mongers and the profiteers of war have just taken another step towards the doomsday of our