U.S. plans to disgorge more military junk on European soil took a big step forward on July 3. In Krakow, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton looked on smugly as an agreement was signed between the United States and Poland giving Washington the green light to deploy missiles for their slimmed-down defense shield on Polish soil. The signing will not be welcomed in Moscow, which has looked on nervously as NATO has tightened its grip over Europe, as U.S. bases popped up in the region like mushrooms after rain, and the Baltic and Black Seas became more and more glorified U.S. lakes.
Technically, the two sides signed an "amendment" to a 2008 document that envisaged installing 10 interceptor missiles in Poland to shoot down long-range missiles.
"This is the first agreement that implements the US European-based Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) for ballistic missile defense and enables the stationing of a US land-based SM-3 missile defense interceptor system in the Republic of Poland," said a joint statement issued by Clinton and Poland's Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski.
Surprise, surprise, Clinton said the missile system was not aimed against Russia, but will "defend the Polish people and all of Europe from missile threats."
From what threat exactly? Well the bogeyman du jour is Iran, and Clinton pulled out that fear card.
With a straight face, Clinton intoned: "The real threats come from the development of short- and medium-term missiles on a faster timetable from Iran."
Washington elites have been marinating the American public with heaping spoonful after spoonful of fear for an eventual attack on Iran.
Shamelessly, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on June 17 that Iran was capable of launching an attack of "dozens or even hundreds" of missiles against Europe.
Really? Any hard evidence to back up that very grave charge, Mr. Gates? No.
Clinton also postured that Washington is eager to work with Moscow on missile defense.
Clinton said an "offer stands" to develop in tandem with Russia technologies for shooting down hostile weapons.
"We believe the threats that we all face are common ones and therefore we hope that Russia will orient itself more toward working with all of us and meet those common threats."
Of course it goes without saying that Russia is invited to 'cooperate' but on terms and conditions set by Washington.
Proof? Look at the response that greeted Moscow's blueprint for a new European security structure.
The Informant covered it, unlike nearly the entire Western media empire.
The Russian blueprint said that parties do not undertake, support or participate in actions that can jeopardize the security of another party to the treaty. The sides also agree not to allow the use of its territory with the purpose of attacking their partners.
The Russians don't intend to step on any UN toes. The Russian treaty would not in any way impinge on a nation's right to self defense as spelled out by Article 51 of the UN Charter.
Nothing imperialistic there from the Russians. But giving the Russians greater voice in the affairs of a continent on which sits a decent portion of its territory is out of the question. NATO calls the shoots.
The former EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said the Russian proposal could be considered only if it upheld, "the role of the US in European security."
So, outside a few kind words from European elites, the Russian plan was quickly forgotten.
However, there was no way elites in Eastern Europe would have agreed to any plan giving Russia a place at the European security table.
When Barack Obama first announced he was "scrapping" the Bush-era long-range missile defense shield, elites from Warsaw to Bucharest quaked in their boots, fearing the 'liberal' Obama was caving to the Russians in order to 'reset' relations with the Kremlin.
Some of the region's heavyweights sent Obama a much-cited letter, whining about their concerns.
Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, however, we see that Central and Eastern European countries are no longer at the heart of American foreign policy. As the new Obama Administration sets its foreign-policy priorities, our region is one part of the world that Americans have largely stopped worrying about. Indeed, at times we have the impression that U.S. policy was so successful that many American officials have now concluded that our region is fixed once and for all and that they could "check the box" and move on to other more pressing strategic issues.
When Obama traveled to Prague in April to sign with much fanfare along with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev the new START Treaty, Obama confabbed with East European elites to allay those fears.
And while the START treaty was hailed as opening a new chapter of cooperation between Washington and Moscow, it has actually made U.S. plans to deploy a missile shield easier, as the Informant has reported.
Well, actually, U.S. military brass say that treaty actually help advance U.S. missile shield plans.
That from the mouth of the Lieutenant General Patrick O'Reilly, the head of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
"The new START treaty actually reduces constraints on the development of the missile defense program," he told the House of Representatives subcommittee on strategic forces.
O'Reilly said the agreement would allow previously prohibited tests for the development of anti-missile defense systems.
"Our targets will no longer be subject to START constraints, which limited our use of air-to-surface and waterborne launches of targets which are essential for a cost-effective testing of missile defense interceptor against medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic missiles in the Pacific region," he said.
Isn't START wonderful?
The ever busy Tauscher has stated START would no way slow down U.S. missile defense plans.
“There are no constraints to missile defense in the START treaty. That’s one piece of it. Each party – if you look at the START treaty itself, each party has the ability to include unilateral statements. Those statements now are still being negotiated. But each party has the ability to make a unilateral statement,” Tauscher said in March.
Plans have already been moving apace in Poland.
In fact, as the Informant has informed, U.S. soldiers are already on Polish soil to set up a battery of Patriot missiles, in what is the most significant deployment of U.S. troops in that former Warsaw Pact nation. The Americans deployed in just 60 kilometers from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad.
The Patriots are separate from the anti-missile forces in Poland.
Bradley Roberts, deputy assistant secretary of defense for nuclear and missile defense policy, has said Europe would be 'fully covered' in 2018 after more Missile-3 interceptor missiles were deployed at another northern European site.
The treaty signed in Krakow allows for the first Missile-3, or SM-3, interceptors to be place in Poland.
"Phase Two", added Roberts, would put more interceptors and sensors along with a SM-3 battalion at an undisclosed southern European site.
Romanian lawmakers have signed onto the plan, after Tauscher slick talked the Romanians after Vice President Joe Biden began the U.S. charm offensive back in October.
Bulgaria wants in too, according to their prime minister and former track-suit-wearing, body guard brooding, Boyko Borisov.
U.S. Ambassador to Sofia James Warlick said preliminary talks had already taken place with Bulgaria. Warlick also let out a whooper, saying Washington had held talks not only with Bulgaria, but with "other countries in the region."
With the news of the sleeping Russian suburban 'spy' ring stirring old Cold War fears among the U.S. public, and the U.S. missile shield stirring fears in Moscow, it could be only a question of time before a recent 'warming' of relations between Russia and the United States chill again.