Another piece in Washington's global military puzzle has been placed in a forgotten, poor country on Europe's eastern edges, Romania. That country's president, Traian Basescu has announced his country will host Washington's leaner, and meaner, missile 'defense shield.' Moscow, naturally, is angered by the move, which comes as Russia's military establishment has labeled NATO enlargement as one of the country's main threats. Astonishingly, NATO, which has expanded up to Russia's borders, can't understand why.
Basescu said the decision had gotten a stamp of approval from the Supreme Defense Council, the country's top military and security authority.
He gave no specifics on the project and said they would be tweaked in later talks with U.S. 'partners.'
For your edification, these 'interceptors' would 'protect' Europe from a missile attack from Iran, something every European frets about as they go to sleep.
The interceptors would be operational starting in 2015.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden tabled the offer on a trip to Bucharest back in October. That trip also took him to Prague and Warsaw, where the gaffe-prone Biden was to "apologize" to Russophobe elites there for President Barack Obama's decision to rub them out of U.S. plans to build its missile shield.
Observers saw this move as a bid to placate Moscow, which was not happy with military hardware moving into former Warsaw bloc states. Obama wanted to "reset" relations with Moscow, reads the boilerplate, and Washington calculated it needed Russian help isolating Iran and supplying Afghanistan. Therefore, the missile shield had to go.
But did it? Poland and the Czech Republic are both in the running for the revamp. Plus, Poland will host a Patriot missile battery spitting distance from Russia.
Even, the U.S. pro-missile crowd at the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance views that move by Washington and Warsaw as needless and provocative.
Contrary to the Administration's decision, the President's new missile defense plan and its sensitivity to Russia to withdraw long-range ballistic missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend Europe and the United States from Iran, this decision is directly providing Poland a capability with deployed U.S. troops to defend Polish military against Russia with no intention of the future threat from Iran to Europe. (Bold added)
Romania, never under Moscow's heel under the lunatic dictator Ceausescu, has become an obedient U.S. lackey, rarely failing to please Washington.
Analyst, Rick Rozoff, on his website Stop NATO!, has this from his excellent examination of the Romanian announcement.
A Romanian publication ran a column in November of last year that foreshadowed this week’s news concerning U.S. missile shield deployments in the nation. It included a quote that “A strong and modern surveillance system located in Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey could monitor three hot areas at once: the Black Sea, the Caucasus and the Caspian and relevant zones in the Middle East.”
By process of elimination it continued, “Turkey is very unlikely to host a land-based SM-3 system, because it would not dare position itself so aggressively against its Iranian neighbour.
“This would make Greece, Bulgaria or Romania contenders – and with Biden making the recent visit to Bucharest as opposed to Sofia or Athens in the context of discussions on security architecture, Romania appears to be a more likely location.”
It continued: “By 2011 the Pentagon will roll out its naval anti-ballistic missile system on cruisers and destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean. These ships will be equipped with Lockheed Martin’s Aegis system, containing anti-aircraft and anti-missile radar and weaponry. The ships contain mid to long range SM-3 missiles.”
An extension of the ship-based interceptor missiles into the Black Sea may follow because “The [Romanian] Constanta port and naval facilities, plus Bulgaria with its Burgas port, could be good platforms for a military naval base….”
Romania has proved its fealty to Washington time and again.
Romania is reported to have 'hosted' a CIA black site, where terrorist suspects were tortured.
In a report for the Council of Europe, Special investigator Dicky Marty found the black site at Mihail Kogalniceanu in Romania was in use between 2003 and 2005 and used for lower-ranking "high value detainees."
This taken from a Spiegel report:
In Romania, the president knew of the existence of the black site, but not even the prime minister had similar knowledge. The CIA deliberately cooperated with military rather than civilian intelligence agencies because the military agencies are not under the supervision and control of parliaments, Marty states.
Exploiting Romanian trust to the max, the Pentagon now plans to build another military base there, as Stars and Stripes has reported.
The new U.S. base in Romania is expected to cost $50 million and house 1,600 U.S. troops.
This is part of Pentagon strategy to shift forces further east in Europe, towards Central Asia and its fossil fuel wealth.
With that background, it's not surprising, that Moscow was alarmed by the Romanian news.
Chinese media also were watching the move.
A new Russian military doctrine, approved by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Feb. 5, identifies U.S. missile defense as a concern for national security.
The doctrine is more ominous on NATO, though, seeing NATO expansion, as one of the "main external threats of war."
In a impressive bit of chutzpah, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was puzzled Russia would see NATO as a threat.
Speaking to Reuters at Munich's annual security conference, Rasmussen said, " I have to say that this new doctrine does not reflect the real world... NATO is not an enemy of Russia."
According to press fairy tales, Rasmussen has been doing his darndest to repair relations with Russia.
NATO was angered when Russian forces responded to Georgia's assault on South Ossetia in August, 2008, during which Russian peacekeepers were killed.
But as NATO gets bogged down in Afghanistan, it was time to mend relations with Moscow, key to shipping more material into the Afghan quagmire.
So, as the Informant has reported, Rasmussen travelled to Moscow in December, asking Moscow to do more in Afghanistan, where the U.S.-led war has destabilized the region and has sparked a heroin epidemic in Russia.
As this McClatchy report tells it, Russia has blamed the U.S. war for the flood of drugs.
Afghan opium production climbed from 3,400 metric tons in 2002 to a record 8,200 metric tons in 2007, partly because U.S. and NATO-led troops put a low priority on curbing it. Heroin flooded into Central Asia, and on to Russia.
NATO creates a drug crisis for Russia, floods military hardware and troops into newly created bases in Central Asia, throwing the balance of power totally out of whack, and then expects Russia to help with this endeavor?
What reality is Rasmussen living in?