As for how effective the shield would be, that is true, we need more testing, but even 50% effectiveness is better than 0% is it not?
If the goal was to gain Russian help in dealing with Iran, why not use the Polish deployment as a bargaining chip instead of giving it away and hoping for the best?From the beginning it was nothing more than a stab at Russia and Obama's goal is to improve relations with Russia in hopes they and China will be more active in reigning in Iran.
We are not actually going to save any money. We are still going forward with short and mid-range missile defense in Europe, and Aegis systems are much more expensive than the GMD system that was to go in Poland. Additionally, Aegis systems still need forward radar deployments which will cost money, and to effectively cover Europe in the manner we hope, more Aegis ships will need to be built.If such a case were to unfold, then the U.S. saves lots of money in building the systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, maintaining bases in both countries, and keeping troops there to staff them as well, and Iran is still controlled. What's the problem here?
Given that the SM-3 Block IIA is not yet operational, the shield will rely on the SM-3 Block IA which has limited range, has large coverage gaps in Europe, is not fast enough to even conduct an intercept in many areas, and is more expensive.
The CBO did a study in February on this issue and the cost of an Aegis system was more than double the cost of a GMD system. Frankly, what we need is both systems, because by 2018 when we deploy ground based SM-3 Block IIA's (which will require hardened silos and permanent bases, aka costly) it will be again more expensive than the GMD system, and offer still a limited coverage area for the US mainland. It would require the US to operate with interceptors in Alaska and California which only allows for a shoot-look-shoot scenario that means we get one shot and have no redundant capability for the mainland.
Overall, we save no money with the new system, and we get no new leverage. Russia will still be upset, as the new plan still calls for ground based interceptors. Basically, we gave away Poland for free.
That said, we have thousands of troops and bases in Europe that would be covered with this shield, so that is a plus. We are a member of NATO (along with much of Europe) so basically we are tied to their defense through treaty as well, as under Article V an attack on one is an attack on all.
All of that said, I am no expert on the EU, but NATO does spend a decent (kind of) amount of money of defenses as well. Keeping NATO together is going to be important I think as the splits between Russia, China, and the US grow, because we can go to NATO for legitimacy is seeking to act in certain situations that are frozen in the Security Council due to politics.
I would also argue the trade and diplomatic leverage we get with the EU is considerable due to our presence and defense, which I would argue, far outweigh the cost of defending Europe. Further, our positions in Europe give us leverage in other parts of the world as well, as we can use our bases there as staging areas, or supply hubs, for operations outside of Europe. That cuts down on the cost that might otherwise be inherent in such an operation.
All in all, I think that if we start backing off from Europe, the transatlantic gap will only widen, and a rising, more independent Europe, will dilute American influence in many sectors of the world.
I have seen that Russia agreed more sanctions "may" be inevitable. I am wary of such a claim until I see the actual wording and implementation of a Security Council Resolution authorizing them. If they do not declare that the Iranian nuclear program is a "threat to international peace and security" then most likely the sanctions will have little effect.I do think we must continue to cultivate Poland and other Eastern European states as good allies as well, but the plan Bush put into play was not it at all. Russia has already agreed to more sanctions on Iran if progress is not made in the six-party talks scheduled for next week. Now China is the problem.
That said however, I agree that we ought to be reaching out to Eastern and Central Europe.
Last edited by FlanaganReport; 09-25-09 at 11:11 AM.
"He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)