Wednesday 28th of February 2024

blue sky...

bluesky

 

September 18, 2009

White House Scraps Bush’s Approach to Missile Shield

By PETER BAKER

WASHINGTON — President Obama scrapped his predecessor’s proposed antiballistic missile shield in Eastern Europe on Thursday and ordered instead the development of a reconfigured system designed to shoot down short- and medium-range Iranian missiles.

In one of the biggest national security reversals of his young presidency, Mr. Obama canceled former President George W. Bush’s plans to station a radar facility in the Czech Republic and 10 ground-based interceptors in Poland. Instead, he plans to deploy smaller SM-3 interceptors by 2011, first aboard ships and later in Europe, possibly even in Poland or the Czech Republic.

Mr. Obama said that the new system “will provide stronger, smarter and swifter defenses of American forces and America’s allies” to meet a changing threat from Iran. Administration officials cited what they called accumulating evidence that Iran had made more progress than anticipated in building short- and medium-range missiles that could threaten Israel and Europe than it had in developing the intercontinental missiles that the Bush system was more suited to counter.

But the decision churned domestic and international politics as Republican critics at home accused Mr. Obama of betraying allies and caving in to Russian pressure, while officials in Eastern Europe expressed discomfort and confusion at the dramatic shift. President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia, who is to meet with Mr. Obama in New York next week, reacted cautiously as Moscow tried to determine whether the new system was less threatening to its own security.

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About time...

one can hope

One should hope that the new "concept" is more friendly to Russia, should there be such a targeted system.

 

Mr. Obama’s transformation of the missile defense program is one of his administration’s sharpest revisions of the national security policy he inherited from Mr. Bush. At the same time, he resisted pressure from liberals in his party to eliminate the program altogether and he produced an alternative that effectively guaranteed that the United States would deploy some form of European antimissile shield in the near future.

no nuke is good nuke...

Nuke-Free Iran

The U.S. intelligence community is reporting to the White House that Iran has not restarted its nuclear-weapons development program, two counterproliferation officials tell NEWSWEEK. U.S. agencies had previously said that Tehran halted the program in 2003. The officials, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, said that U.S. intelligence agencies have informed policymakers at the White House and other agencies that the status of Iranian work on development and production of a nuclear bomb has not changed since the formal National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran's "Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities" in November 2007. Public portions of that report stated that U.S. intelligence agencies had "high confidence" that, as of early 2003, Iranian military units were pursuing development of a nuclear bomb, but that in the fall of that year Iran "halted its nuclear weapons program."

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see toon at top.

umbrellic protection...

Putin Applauds ‘Brave’ U.S. Decision on Missile Defense

By CLIFFORD J. LEVY and PETER BAKER

MOSCOW — Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin praised President Obama Friday for canceling a plan for an antiballistic missile system in Eastern Europe that Russia had deemed a threat, suggesting that the move would lead to improved relations between their countries.

“I very much hope that this correct and brave decision will be followed by others,” Mr. Putin said.

The Obama decision on Thursday replaced the Bush administration antimissile plan with a reconfigured system focused on short- and medium-range missiles. Mr. Putin and other Russian officials who spoke to reporters on Friday did not say whether Russia would respond with concessions to the United States, particularly on the issue of Iran’s nuclear program and its overall military capabilities.

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It reminds me of Sir Humphrey* telling his prime Minister that the decision to do something was "brave" in a manner that was non ambiguously suicidal... To which the PM was flustered and started to panic... But here the "brave" decision is actually the right one, thus Obama can only gain points except the Pentagon still demand some kind of umbrellic defence system looking like sumpthin' is being done about the Iranian nukes which have been "confirmed" non-existent since Iran does not have any as it abandonned the project in 2003...

Meanwhile:

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The Iranian president's latest denial of the Nazi Holocaust has drawn strong condemnation from Western powers.

Sepaking in the capital, Tehran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the Holocaust was a "a lie based on an unprovable and mythical claim".

Germany said the comments were a "disgrace to his country" while the US said they would "isolate Iran further".

Mr Ahmadinejad made the remarks at an annual rally where opposition supporters clashed with police.

Reformists, who have been banned from holding demonstrations since disputed presidential elections in June, defied warnings not to use the pro-Palestinian Quds (Jerusalem) Day marches to stage protests.

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see toon at top and here...

* "In view of the somewhat nebulous and inexplicit nature of your remit and the arguably marginal and peripheral nature of your influence within the central deliberations and decisions within the political process that there could be a case for re-structuring their action priorities in such a way as to eliminate your liquidation from their immediate agenda."

Our Kev Rudd is a kid of goospeak compared to this Master — Sir Humphrey Appleby.

 

Notes: the toon at top was done way before Putin came to the fore...

One can claim the Holocaust did not happen, sure... but it shows President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a muddlehead with a mudstick for muzzle. His denial won't help solve the problem of Palestine. To the contrary it will reinforce Israel standing as everyone in Yourp and in Yamerica know the Holocaust did happen. I have the proofs it did.

But the Holocaust does not absolve Israel from its war crimes in Gaza...

a good deed deserves another...

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia said Saturday it will scrap a plan to deploy missiles near Poland since Washington has dumped a planned missile shield in Eastern Europe. It also harshly criticized Iran's president for new comments denying the Holocaust.

Neither move, however, represented ceding any significant ground. A plan to place Iskander missiles close to the Polish border was merely a threat. And while the Kremlin has previously criticized Tehran for questioning the reality of the Holocaust, Russian leaders have refused to back Western push for tougher sanctions against Iran.

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see toon at top.

by-product bonus...

The US president says his decision to shelve a missile defence plan was not dictated by Russian opposition.

"The Russians don't make determinations about what our defence posture is," Barack Obama told CBS television.

"If the by-product of it is that the Russians feel a little less paranoid... then that's a bonus," Mr Obama said.

downsizing...

From the BBC

The prime minister is to tell the United Nations that he is willing to cut the UK's fleet of Trident missile-carrying submarines from four to three.

Gordon Brown will make the offer at a meeting of the UN Security Council on halting the spread of nuclear weapons and reducing existing stockpiles.

The proposed cuts come as the government searches for ways to reduce the massive deficit in public finances.

However Number 10 said keeping the UK's nuclear deterrent was "non-negotiable".

At the UN meeting, Mr Brown will call for all nations to come together to achieve the long-term ambition of a nuclear-free world.

a protection racket

Czechs Accept Modified Missile Shield Role

By PETER BAKER

PRAGUE — The Czech Republic agreed on Friday to host elements of the reformulated American missile defense system after Vice President Joseph R. Biden flew here to patch up relations damaged when President Obama canceled plans to deploy a sophisticated radar station on Czech soil.

Jan Fischer, the Czech prime minister, said his country would participate in the new anti-missile shield, although neither he nor Mr. Biden gave details about how. Poland agreed during an earlier stop in Mr. Biden’s swing through the region to accept some of the mobile SM-3 interceptors at the heart of Mr. Obama’s reduced plan.

“I used the opportunity to express our readiness as a NATO member to participate because the new architecture is going to be NATO-based and the Czech Republic is ready to participate,” Mr. Fischer said at an appearance with Mr. Biden. The vice president said a senior defense team would visit Prague next month to discuss how to structure that participation.

The deals securing Polish and Czech involvement in the new system may go a long way toward reassuring Eastern Europe of America’s continuing commitment to its security. Many in this region interpreted Mr. Obama’s decision to scrap former President George W. Bush’s missile defense system, which was to have been based in Poland and the Czech Republic, as appeasement of Russia, which had strongly objected to it as a threat to its own nuclear arsenal.

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See toon at top... I personally believe "Eastern Europe of America’s continuing commitment to its security" is a furphy. Europe is being united and Europe should have final say in European affairs, including protection... especially that of its partners of Eastern Europe. Europe has the means to defend itself should it decide to do so. But the American presence there is more like a protection racket — a reminder that Europe is dependent of the USA when it does not have to...

public relation...

Are you like me wondering why the US is now fiddling with some low level forgotten Russian spies... Spies so clever they could not get pass the gates of a school fete... Well here is the beef...:

Poland has agreed to host a permanent US missile base as part of Washington's plans to protect itself and its Nato allies from rocket attacks.

Russia sees the programme as a threat and strongly opposes it.

Mrs Clinton arrived from Ukraine, which was the first stop on a tour of former Soviet states.

She will later visit Azerbaijan, Armenia and Georgia.

Shale gas

Mrs Clinton is to sign the missile agreement with her Polish counterpart, Radoslaw Sikorski, in the southern city of Krakow.

Poland agreed with the US administration of George W Bush to host a permanent US military base and missiles at a disused airstrip in Redzikowo near the Baltic Sea coast.

Mrs Clinton will sign an amendment to the agreement that takes into account changes brought in by President Barack Obama.

The BBC's Adam Easton in Warsaw says that Washington has re-evaluated the threat from countries such as Iran and designed a more flexible missile defence programme.

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I think the "spy ring" bizo is a way to massage the world 's public opinion and temporarily make the ruskies look suspect enough to make pass a missile shield under the back door... see toon at top...

nato strategy is a sham...

 

Georgia war of 2008. On the eve of the meeting, Ivo Daalder, U.S. ambassador to NATO, dropped a hint about future NATO membership for Russia. While referring to Article 10 of the alliance’s charter, which says NATO membership is open to any European country, he stressed that this article certainly applies to Russia — as long as it meets the alliance’s requirements. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, head of a panel working on a new mission statement for NATO, and former NATO Secretary-General George Robertson have also supported the idea of working toward NATO membership for Russia. In addition, Igor Yurgens, head of the liberal Institute for Contemporary Development think tank, has said repeatedly that NATO membership is in Russia’s best interests.

Unfortunately, this is all wishful thinking. There are five main reasons why Russia will never become a NATO member.

1. NATO requires that its members have civilian and democratic control over their armed forces. This is a fundamental principal that allows for military integration and inter-operability among members. Although NATO countries have different political systems — some are presidential republics, others are parliamentary — they all have transparent defense budgets and public and legislative oversight over their countries’ military affairs. This includes independent investigations into military failures and abuses, parliamentary control over how funds are allocating — or not allocated — for weapons programs and constitutional checks and balances on a leader’s ability to send troops to fight in foreign military operations.

In Russia, however, civil control over the military is anathema to the basic principles of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s vertical power structure, which has effectively folded all three branches of power into one huge executive branch. Any autocratic power, by definition, rejects public accountability in all spheres of government — and this is particularly true for its armed forces. In Russia, a lack of public and parliamentary accountability allows the Defense Ministry to cover up the true scope of its inefficiencies, blunders and overall backwardness. In addition, a closed military structure also allows rampant corruption at all levels of the military to continue unchecked. As long as the vertical power structure is in place — whether it be headed by Putin or his successor — there will never be civilian control over the military.

Another reason why Russia will fiercely resist NATO’s requirement for transparency in military affairs is that it is hypersensitive about sharing its “military secrets” with NATO — particularly concerning its nuclear forces — even when its so-called secrets are well-known in the West. Nonetheless, a commitment to transparency is a basis for cooperation among NATO members.

2. Russia needs NATO as an “enemy,” not as an alliance partner. NATO is seen by conservative and nationalist forces that dominate the defense and security establishment as an inherently anti-Russian alliance. All the talk about NATO’s revised strategy and focus on new threats — terrorism, sea piracy, narcotics or cyberattacks — is a sham, we are told. The alliance’s real target remains Russia, just as it was during the Cold War. Even Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s envoy to NATO, wrote on Twitter in March that NATO’s top brass to this day are developing military strategies and plans aimed against Russia.

This fear was reflected in Russia’s latest military strategy, published in February, in which NATO was listed as the country’s No.1 danger. Hardened NATO opponents within the political, military and government-controlled media elite are against any cooperation (including joint projects in Afghanistan) with the alliance, which they view as a tool for U.S. imperialist aggression and military expansion — “an iron leviathan that crushes all humanity,” as Maxim Shevchenko, host of Channel One’s “Sudite Sami” political talk show, described NATO in a September 2009 interview on Ekho Moskvy radio. As soon as Daalder and Yurgens floated the idea of possible NATO membership for Russia, the first thing we heard from many of these opponents was: “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts. This is another NATO trick.”

3. China. If Russia ever became a NATO member, it would extend the alliance’s territory to China, which has a 4,000-kilometer border with Russia. This would upset the tripolar global security balance between NATO, Russia and China, and it would cause China — which is just as suspicious of enemy conspiracy theories as Russia is — to believe that Russia and NATO are joining forces to “contain,” or even weaken, China. It is clearly not in the interests of Russia or the United States, which both have deep economic ties with China, to heighten tensions or provoke China, even if Beijing’s fears are exaggerated.

Moreover, we are told, the possibility that the United States’ or NATO’s next reckless military venture will be aimed at China (or Iran) should not be excluded. If this happens, Russia, as a NATO member, would automatically become a target for a Chinese (or Iranian) counterattack. To avoid this scenario, the argument goes, Russia should insist on strict military neutrality from NATO.

4. The Collective Security Treaty Organization. NATO membership would effectively mean the end of the CSTO, which Russia has worked so hard on since its creation in 2002 to compete with NATO for influence in the global security arena. “I believe it [Russia’s membership in NATO] is absurd,” said CSTO chief Nikolai Bordyuzha on Sept. 16. “What is the sense of NATO membership if Russia has created its own security framework with its allies and this system of collective security functions well?”

Rogozin, for his part, in an April 2009 interview with European-Asian News service, said: “We can handle our security problems independently. … We don’t need NATO.”

5. Russia’s global ambitions. Most important, Russian membership in NATO would all but mean the end of Russia’s dream of restoring its former superpower status. By joining NATO, Russia would effectively become “just another large European country” on the same level as Germany, Britain or France — a “sacrilege” for the derzhavniki, or great-power nationalists, who remember when the Soviet Union was larger and more powerful than these three countries combined.

It would also be an admission that Russia is de facto subordinate to the United States in the world’s largest and most influential security organization, which is unacceptable even to moderate members of the political and military establishment. Although the Kremlin no longer has messianic ambitions to create a Third Rome or Third International, at the very least it will want to preserve its sovereignty and independence as a regional and global power. That will be impossible to accomplish if it becomes a member of NATO with the United States at the helm of the alliance.

The United States’ disingenuous peace feelers to Russia about NATO membership was clearly more PR and provocation than anything else.

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/5-reasons-why-russia-will-never-join-nato/423840.html

putin in the street...

Russian president Vladimir Putin said he was "at a bit of a loss" after a street was named after him in Bethlehem, the West Bank town known as the birthplace of Jesus.

Mr Putin was speaking in Jordan as he wrapped up his Middle East tour, which included a stop in Bethlehem and talks with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, who ordered a street to be named after his guest.

"I would like to live a bit longer," Mr Putin said, referring to a European tradition according to which streets are named after the deceased.

"It was absolutely unexpected to me... To be honest, I am at a bit of loss but there's nothing you could do," he said, indicating he did not want to protest so as not to offend his host.

Mr Putin met with Mr Abbas a day after a stop in Israel where he met Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and president Shimon Peres.

In a statement to the press after the meeting, Mr Abbas urged Mr Putin to help secure the release of dozens of Palestinians held in Israeli jails since before the Oslo Accords peace deal, and to host a peace conference in Russia.

"We asked our friends to help us to release our prisoners who were arrested prior to 1994, who it was agreed with Israel would be released, but have not yet been freed," Mr Abbas said.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-27/bethlehem-street-named-after-putin/4094628