U.S. Missile Build-Up in Europe
With the constant rapidly evolving arena of international relations and the growing security issues, the United States has been constantly planning and pursuing of building missile defense systems among its allies in Europe. Such initiative may prove to be one solution in the overall facilitation of security as a global hegemon, however careful consideration must be made because there are several important benefits and relative costs that different states may feel.
Realizing such issue, there had been many critics on the issue of placing missiles among its European allies in an effort to create a pre-emptive stance against the United States perceived enemies – rogue states. The paper seeks to showcase a cost and benefit analysis of such actions and how the United States actions can pose to be a catalyst for arms buildup and a probable new Cold War in the region. In the end, as states begin to haggle on such issue, perceiving the way it affects the whole region and the world shall now be an important part to be considered.
The Real Issue
It has been the agenda of the United States government to create and develop its control in the realm of Europe. As the U.S. promotes its foreign policies and objectives, it seeks to enhance its military defense on several important strategic points in Europe. Also considering the threats of different rogue states, having a strategic advantage can be a good option for immediate counter attack and a preemptive strike. Due to this, one important mechanism was to place ballistic missiles in the regions of Poland and Czech Republic. “In the FY2008 defense budget, the Bush Administration requested about $310 million to begin design, construction, and deployment of a ground-based midcourse defense (GMD) element of the Ballistic Missile Defense System (BMDS) in Europe” (Hildreth and Ek, 2008, p.4).
The creation of this GMD element shall be placed strategically in several locations in the regions of Poland, Czech Republic and the Middle East. “The proposed system would include 10 silo-based interceptors to be deployed in Poland, a fixed radar installation in the Czech Republic, and another transportable radar to be deployed in a country closer to the Middle East” (Hildreth and Ek, 2008, p.4). Doing such initiative has raised several questions both in the domestic and international application of several bylaws and idea of sovereignty and conflict of domestic security. Also there are questions surrounding the actual practice for it may impede several important relations among states.
The US persistence for such buildup came along the lines of different states who are either vocally opposed to its views or other states that perceive to be threats. These threats are in congruence with their foreign policies and objectives towards nuclear buildup without the prior approval of several international organizations (UN and IAEA). “The Bush Administration argues that North Korea and Iran constitute major strategic threats.” (Hildreth and Ek, 2008, p.5) These threats have prompted the U.S. department of defense to create deterrence on the issue by promoting the creation of defensive missile silos on the idea that it can facilitate a vital point in creating stricter security in the region.
Due to the relative threats of these states and their ability to launch missiles at a certain period of time, the United States is forced to counteract such measures and create new avenues for security and possibilities. “According to unclassified U.S. intelligence assessments, Iran may be able to test an ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) or long-range ballistic missile capability by 2015 with foreign assistance, such as from Russia or China” (Hildreth and Ek, 2008, p.5) These unsanctioned actions can deem to be problematic in the international community as well as to other states.
One important element to consider in the process is the relative benefits that the initiative can do both for the United States and the countries that are affected. Looking at the issue, one important benefit is that the facilitation of such can deem an improvement of the defense system in Europe. Such can be a win-win solution for Europe and the United States foreign policy. “The Bush administration already has begun to erase the line between a strictly national system designed to protect the U.S. homeland and a wider international, multi-tiered missile defense, one clearly designed with European reservations in mind” (Valasek, 2001)
In addition such initiative can help increase security measures in Europe and states can particularly address the issues in the region. Though there have been no clear indications of nuclear threats from countries such North Korea and Iran, it is better to create precautionary measures and promote an effort that the United States is doing something about the issue.
In looking at the costs of such initiative, there are indeed many significant costs that the move can do in the realm of international politics and diplomacy. Since it involves the process of security and arms build-up, the relative “threat” seen by the United States may not specifically apply in other European states. Such can lead to a security dilemma and arms buildup due to such insecurities. “As former French president Jacques Chirac said in 2001, U.S. missile defense plans ''cannot fail to relaunch the arms race in the world” (Landy and Harrison, 2008).
Another important element of cost is the impact it creates in the realm of initiatives and relations among regions and states in foreign policy. “As a recent article in the Strategic Review points out, “[European] governments do not anticipate using force anytime soon against states that already or will soon possess long-range ballistic missiles, and thus may believe they are unlikely to be targets of such strategic weapons” (Valasek, 2001) This may in turn create distortions among established relationships among different states. These are particularly evident in different countries that are the primary focus of such installations. “Popular opposition to the radar installations has held steady, even increased, despite the intensive propaganda efforts of the Czech and United States governments” (Landy and Harrison, 2008).
Seeing the relative costs and benefits that such initiative can do, states and policy makers must actively and collaboratively consider all options before prompting such practice. Currently, the costs outweigh the benefits that is why the United States must create other mechanisms and options that may prove to be suitable for all parties. Creating a win-win solution must always be the top priority. Yes, threats are indeed present, but there must be an active participation of all considerable parties. By doing this not only can such initiative be permissible. It can also create avenues for deeper cooperation and development in this anarchic international arena.
Hildreth, S.A. and Ek, C. (2008) Long-Range Ballistic Missile Defense in Europe.
Retrieved May 24, 2008. pp. 1-20
Landy, J. and Harrison, T. (2008) Pushing Missile Defense in Europe in Foreign Policy
in Focus. [online] Retrieved May 24, 2008 from http://www.fpif.org/fpiftxt/5005
Valasek, T. (2001) Europe’s Missile Defense Options in The Defense Monitor. 30 no.3
[online] Retrieved May 24, 2008 from http://www.cdi.org/dm/2001/issue3/emd.html