EDITORIAL

Carl Bildt on the Deveselu missile shield

Undoubtedly, one of the most important events in 2016 which will reveal to be historical is making Deveselu missile shield to be operational. And this is for good reason. The military base, built by the joint efforts of Romania and USA (around USD 800 million, according to Media), was made operational in the presence of the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (since the installation is part of the NATO missile defense system), of the Romanian PM Dacian Ciolos, of the US Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work, as well as of some of the important political and military officials from the allies states.

The comments of the Media ant the opinions of the experts highlight that, by making Deveselu missile shield to be operational, the missile defense of the European and North American allies is ensured, within a complex which includes a radar located in Turkey and marine Aegis installations in the Mediterranean Sea, so Romania hosts the first location of the system ashore.  As it was emphasized by the press last week, too (namely on Friday), USA have launched the construction of a new missile shield located in Poland. The entire NATO missile defense system will also include other locations, Romania and Poland following to host by 2018 the first missile defense line against the missiles launched by the rogue states (for instance, the Iranian ones already have the capacity to hit the old continent).

Due to the negative reaction of Moscow, which stated that making the military base from Romania to become operational is a “wrong decision”, since it unbalances the continental and Global strategic equilibrium, a deeply underlined issue was that the Deveselu missile shield does not directed against Russia and its existence doesn’t threaten in any way the Russian nuclear deterrent force.

Such a statement, made by the most authorized voices of the North-Atlantic Alliance, was also repeatedly asserted in the past, becoming a real political engagement on the occasion of the event which took place last week. It’s easy to understand this repeated  mention stated by the NATO and USA officials, since Moscow adopted the position (reconfirmed in the last week) according to which the missile defense installations are threatening the strategic stability included in the START Treaty concluded between USA and Russia within the policy of “resetting” the bilateral relations in 2010. As we already know, on the occasion of the ratification of the Start-3 Treaty, on April 7, 2010, Russia has made a unilateral statement, showing that the document’s provisions “ may be effective and viable only in conditions where there is no qualitative or quantitative build-up in the missile defense system capabilities of the United States of America. Consequently, the extraordinary events referred to in Article XIV of the Treaty also include a build-up in the missile defense system capabilities of the United States of America such that it would give rise to a threat to the strategic nuclear force potential of the Russian Federation”. The mentioned article states, among other provisions, that “Each Party shall, in exercising its national sovereignty, have the right to withdraw from this Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests. It shall give notice of its decision to the other Party. Such notice shall contain a statement of the extraordinary events the notifying Party regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests. This Treaty shall terminate three months from the date of receipt by the other Party of the aforementioned notice, unless the notice specifies a later date”. We should also remind that USA made a reservation to the Treaty, saying that its stipulations do not inhibit their program to build a missile defense system.

Right on the day celebrating the operational Devesalu missile shield, Moscow has announced that the event subscribes to the action of “surrounding” Russia. Andrei Kelin, an official of the Russian Ministry of the Foreign Affairs, stated that this action “is part of the military and political containment of Russia”. In these circumstances, it should be mentioned that, related to US intentions to install a missile shield in South Korea, the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrov stated, on May 6, “that Moscow needed legal guarantees from the United States that its planned Asian anti-missile system would not be directed against Russia.” Thus, Deveselu case is a complex one, including also the possibility of the Start-3 Treaty, which legalizes the European and Global stability, to be revoked by one of its signatories. The context is real sensitive, naturally drawing up the attention of the observers of the international political life. One of them is Carl Bildt, former PM in Sweden (he was also Minister of Foreign Affairs), an important figure of the international environment (he is a Vice-President of the European Council on Foreign Relations and even of the Global Commission on Internet Governanc.), and known for his competent opinions on the global developments. Right on the day celebrating the operational Deveselu, Bild posted on Twitter: “US missile defense installation in Romania inaugurated today might make sense. The next one in Poland hardly does.” ( ‏@carlbildt /carlbildt/status/730855689082576897).

There were plenty of various comments on the Swedish politician’s assertion. From “reassurance of allies always makes sense” to “Weird. They must have mistaken Romania for US-American soil?”, and from “why not? As I understand, it’s an integrated land/sea platform for wide area coverage of Europe – I feel safer already!” to “Any extra defense system in E. Europe makes a perfect sense, considering how much Russia spends on arms and its unpredictability”. A respondent notes: “I guess that could be clearest sign of 2nd Cold War. But no problem, it already has started. Thanks, Russian bear”. Least but not last, another one notes: “Then it is Russia’s turn to answer. Some nuclear weapons in Cuba equalize well the balance again?” Of course, these are comments of the readers, many of them not being informed in detail. What we have to mention is that the experienced politician called Bildt is consistent in his assessments when he makes this prompt assertion about Deveselu.

It’s not the first time when Bildt states that a new missile shield in Poland is not necessary anymore to protect NATO Member States against a missile attack launched by the rogue states. In an article published in February 2016, he was warning that “we should be blind to Russia’s own concerns. Although NATO, for diplomatic reasons, never said so explicitly, it was always clear that the U.S. ballistic missile defense system in Europe was about the threat from Iran. Great efforts went into demonstrating that it had nothing to do with Russia”.

Mentioning that the Iranian danger hasn’t disappeared together with the nuclear convention with this country from July 2015, Bildt was appreciating that “Iran continues to develop ballistic missiles, but with ranges geared to its more immediate region, and without nuclear warheads: The threat to Europe has been reduced. Existing and soon-to-be-completed naval systems, as well as the fixed site in Romania, can, according to studies, counter an Iranian threat far greater than exists today. Accordingly, it makes sense to postpone the third phase of the missile defense system planned for 2018 in Poland.”

Therefore, in the former Swedish PM’s opinion on the military base in Poland which began to be built last week, “It serves no military need, and might well be used by Russia to leave the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty limiting medium-range missiles in Europe, increasing the risk of a dangerous new nuclear arms race in Europe.” (Carl Bildt, 3 ways to stop ‘revisionist, militaristic’ Russia A chance for a different kind of Munich pact this week, “Politico”, 2/11/16http://www.politico.eu/article/long-game-against-revisionist-russia-putin-assad/)  In which sense can Bildt’s position be understood? Probably he estimates that soon will start negotiations between the signatories (Russia and USA) – if they are not already taking place – in order to adjust the important Treaty called Start 3 from 2010, since it’s obvious that the other version is a new and devastating Cold War. Future will indicate us which the right way is.

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