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Cooperation of Russia, U.S. and NATO in a missile defense system will help to avoid a new arms race

19:05 | 14.09.2011 | Analytic

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14 September 2011. PenzaNews. Memorandum on the deployment of NATO missile defense radar on the territory of Turkey was signed by Ankara and Washington on Wednesday, September, 14th. According to mass media the system will be located in Malatya in the south-east of Turkey, not far from the border of Syria. The document was signed by the first deputy of the Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Feridun Sinirlioglu and the U.S ambassador to Turkey Francis Richardone.

Cooperation of Russia, U.S. and NATO in a missile defense system will help to avoid a new arms race

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania Teodor Baconschi signed an agreement to deploy elements of U.S. missile defense in Romania on Tuesday, September, 13th. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia reiterated the demand to give legal guarantees that the U.S. missile defense system would not be directed against the Russian strategic nuclear forces.

While the parties debate on this issue, the experts believe that the interaction between countries would bring more positive points. Uncoordinated actions will start a new arms race. In particular, Deputy Director and Head of the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Disarmament, Arms Control, and Risk Technologies of the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg Goetz Neuneck expressed such opinion.

In the interview to the news agency PenzaNews the expert said that the cooperation of Russia and NATO had already begun in some ways.

He said: “Russia has C — 300 and C — 400 tactical ballistic missile defense systems. NATO has “Patriots”. So it’s useful to combine these facilities and to understand what the other side is doing. So on the level of technical missile defense it’s not very complicated. If NATO and Russia are working together to combine to fuse these data I think it would be a base of common ballistic missile defense. Of course Russia will not do any steps to undermine its strategic forces and, I think, here is a problem to find out technical ways how to solve that”.

In his opinion the collaboration of parties depends on the forms of their arrangements, whether they are political bindings or legal ones.

He noted: “Technically we have to understand that currently the interceptors of the agent system which form the core of the NATO defense system are the American systems. They are not capable to catch Russian strategic ballistic missiles. But this capability will go and the systems will be developed. And if we enter faith for 2018-2020 or even far away then these interceptors will be much more potent and, in principal, technically it will be able to intercept Russian ballistic missiles”.

In the words of Goetz Neuneck, it's understandable that Russia doesn’t want to see such even potential threat against its strategy forces developed in Europe.

He said: “So currently the deployment of missile defense system is not a problem. But in future it could become a problem. And it depends on the NATO and on especially the U.S. side to show technically that the system is limited and the best would be here to organize joint projects to do that, let’s say to sat up data center or the center where both sides can see the capabilities, they could see where this interceptors are and how limited they are. This would be, I think, a solution of that dilemma”.

Deputy Director and Head of the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Disarmament, Arms Control, and Risk Technologies also considers that NATO can make statements that this system is not intended to be used against the Russian strategic forces.

He explained: “In future Russia also wants to hear from the American side that this so called the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA) will not being infused. And the problem here is that a democratic country like USA can not give political and legally binding guarantees because you don't know what happens if a new president comes to an office. But sure U.S. can make some confidence by such measures”.

The expert also expressed the opinion that deployment of radar is not a danger for Russia even without any legal guarantees.

He said: “This is an early warning radar and this is more less directed against potential Iranian buildup of missiles. Russia explained against the land based system in Poland under Jorge Bush staying. It also was not very logical to place the radar in Czech Republic. It's useless because it should be closer to the lounge where the system is directed so it would be closer to Iran. So now Turkey is close to Iran and technically understandable that the U.S. is deploying a system there which is not so potent this could really affect the Russian strategic forces”.

Senior Fellow for Regional Security Cooperation of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Middle East Michael Elleman expressed almost the same opinion.

He said: “The radar will not pose a threat to Russia's strategic missiles. The radar is located south of Russia, it is oriented to the south and will operate in a valley where mountains would block the radar signal should someone attempt to point it toward Russia's missile fields. The radar's location is optimized for defense against Iran's missiles. Alternative locations, such as Georgia, would be less optimal and far more politically problematic”.

In his words it would be more constructive for both Russia and America to make guarantees that their respective nuclear arsenals are not directed against each other. Under such a guarantee missile defense would be a moot point.

The question of the missile defense system has been discussed by Russian and the U.S. leaders since the end of 1960s. NATO joined the conversation in the end of 1990s.

Missile defense system in the U.S. (NMD) is created, according to the U.S. administration, to protect the country against nuclear missile attack of North Korea, Iran and Syria (previously Iraq and Libya were also called).

Missile defense system created by the U.S. includes a control center, stations and early warning satellites tracking the missile launch, station of guidance the interceptor missiles, launchers for derivation interceptors in space for destroying enemy ballistic missiles.

NATO's Strategic Concept of 1999 indicates the need of missile defense against nuclear, biological and chemical threats for all NATO states.

It is expected that NATO states will provide detection tools and combat weapons systems, while NATO will develop the system and will facilitate the integration of all these components.

NATO considers that future cooperation with Russia in the sphere of missile defense may be in building two separate but interacting systems. In particular, cooperation with Russia on missile defense can be through information sharing and possible joint activities with a combination of features and capabilities of NATO missile defense system, available in Russia.

The Russian proposal includes cooperation in the “sectoral” form, where the parties are responsible for ballistic missiles defense of denoted geographic areas. Such a system provides a joint mechanism between Russia and NATO on threat assessment and decision making.

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