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Foreign experts: NATO Summit in Chicago did not bring new results regarding missile defenсe in Europe

11:53 | 26.05.2012 | Analytic


26 May 2012. PenzaNews. The largest NATO summit, which was attended by representatives of more than 50 countries ended in Chicago on May 21. Major topics of the two-day meeting were the issues of withdrawal of NATO troops from Afghanistan, the deployment of missile defence system in Europe and the economic crisis in the Eurozone.

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NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has announced the “first stage” of a European missile defence system “provisionally operational.” This means that a radar facility in Turkey will be operational and the US ships with anti-missile interceptors can be placed in the Mediterranean Sea. Spain, Turkey, Romania and Poland have agreed to deploy key parts of the US missile defence system on their territories.

“It is the first step towards our long-term goal of providing full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territory and forces,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said during press conference in Chicago.

Commenting on the results of the meeting, Giovanni Faleg, researcher at Centre for European Policy Studies in an interview with news agency PenzaNews said that the summit in Chicago had not become a turning point in resolving missile defence issue.

“The very notion of missile defence creates a lot of disagreement both inside the Atlantic Alliance and in relationship with NATO’s partners, Russia in particular,” the analyst said.

He noted that the NATO leaders had offered political guarantees to Moscow that the missile defence system in Europe will not undermine strategic deterrence forces of Russia.

“Deployment of missile defence is aimed to protect the countries against possible threats from Iran and to avoid proliferation of nuclear weapons in the world. But it is clear that the missile defence is not something that puts NATO in the position of having aggressive policy vis-à-vis its neighborhood and it is not the intention,” he emphasized.

Giovanni Faleg is convinced that the discussion of this issue will continue, however, according to his words, one should bear in mind that in our multipolar world, a huge number of countries are involved in the solution of international problems, and it can not but affect NATO-Russian relations.

“However, I do not think that in the near future we can expect major changes in this respect. Controversial issues remain and it is not so easy to solve these problems,” Giovanni Faleg emphasized.

Nick Witney, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) does not think that Russia will be satisfied with political guarantees.

“Russia is fundamentally worried that the deployment of the missile defence by NATO and particularly by the US can negate the power of Russia nuclear missile capability,” the analyst said.

According to the expert, NATO will continue with this plan though very slowly because “the Europeans are not prepared in current economic circumstances to pay a lot of money for defence against the threat which they do not think is a terribly important threat.”

Moreover, according to Nick Witney, threat from Iran is not terribly serious, so the missile defence systems which are being put in place are not terribly significant.

“The situation is being blown up and becomes a source of contention and difficulty between Russia and NATO,” he emphasized.

According to his words, the NATO missile defence in Europe will continue to remain a point of controversy between Russia and NATO and Chicago summit has not brought progress regarding this issue — which, incidentally, was not unexpected.

Patryk Pawlak, research fellow at the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS) shares this view.

“Russia is a very important partner for NATO. The Nato-Russia relationship will advance only if both sides pay attention to it,” the analyst said.

Moreover, the expert expressed doubts that any legal document could significantly affect the relations between the states.

“There is clearly the lack of trust on the Russian side and the decision of Russian President not to attend the Chicago summit definitely did not help in improving the situation,” Patryk Pawlak emphasized.

Nevertheless, the expert believes that the project is really just at the beginning and many issues still need to be worked out, including the feasibility and the cost of the whole enterprise. According to the analyst, the missile defence in Europe will definitely become one of the alliance’s top priorities, especially after the NATO’s planned withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014.

Director of the Berthold Beitz Center for Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Central Asia of the German Council on Foreign Relations Alexander Rahr said that during the Chicago meeting there was made a very important historic decision.

“At this summit, the alliance has indirectly voiced the inability to continue to use the organization for implementation of democratic systems and liberal economic models into different states. Afghanistan is a bitter lesson to all members of NATO,” said the expert and added that another similar operation was not going to happen.

According to the expert, this critical decision indicates that NATO became defensive in nature and seized on the idea to deploy the missile defence so that the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan does not look like the final stage of the alliance work.

“However, the West immolated its strategic partnership with Russia to the idea of European missile defence,” Alexander Rahr emphasized.

Moreover, the foreign expert considers concerns of the Russian side quite justifiable.

“This defensive structure developing on the Russian borders changes thereby the strategic balance. It is possible that a few decades later the West obtains such technical capabilities that will be able to bring down 90% of hypothetic missiles from Russia aimed at America and Europe,” he suggested, adding that in this case, Russia’s nuclear capability would cease to be effective.

As it was reported earlier, on May 23 Russia tested a new Intercontinental Ballistic Missile which was successfully launched from the Plesetsk facility in north-western Russia and hit a target on the Kamchatka peninsula on the Pacific coast.

According to Alexander Rahr, Russia in such a way demonstrates NATO, that in military terms, it is still a superpower and has modern weapons, which cannot be counteracted by the US missile defence in Europe or Alaska.

“But it must be stressed that in the future there will hardly be confrontation between East and West but rather between North and South. The sooner Russia, the EU and the US realize that they are on the same side, the better,” the expert said.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization or NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance created in 1949.

The original members of NATO were 12 European and North American countries — Belgium, Great Britain, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Canada, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United States and France.

To date, 28 states are members of the organization.

The Alliance’s main tasks are: to protect the common values of the Member States — democracy, liberty, rule of law; to distribute these values throughout the Euro-Atlantic area; to protect liberty and security of NATO member states by political and military means.

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