The missile shield: made to measure for a new Cold War

26 March 2009

The missile shield: made to measure for a new Cold War

In August 2008 Poland and the United States, after years of negotiations, signed a treaty in which arrangements were agreed for the stationing of ten missile launchers on Polish soil. For the establishment of an accompanying radar installation on Czech territory, the Prague parliament has yet, at the time of writing, to give its permission. According to the original American plans, the system should be operational by 2013.

What is the strategic principle underpinning the building of the American missile shield in eastern Europe? This question urgently requires an answer, bearing in mind the shifting relations of power both within NATO and between NATO and the rest of the world. Related to it is the additional question of whether President Obama will continue his predecessor's construction programme, or if he will take into account the many objections to it. Furthermore, it is important to define the nature of this weapons system: is it offensive or defensive?

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