Russia-US: difficult AMD dialog

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Moscow and Washington continue their difficult dialog regarding the plans of arrangement of the third positional area of the antimissile defense (AMD) system created by the Pentagon in Poland and Czech Republic. This week, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates visited Moscow in connection with this problem. Gates met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. At all these meetings, the Russian party expressed anxiety about the possibility of deploying the strategic American AMD in Europe. At all meetings, Gates tried to persuade Russian officials that the American AMD system would not pose a threat to the security of Russia.

Gates said: “Our main task is to continue development of our relations in conditions of a new threat that may come from a number of countries of the Middle East and Eastern Asia. The AMD system in Europe will be aimed not against Russia but against the countries whose leaders may use ballistic missiles for blackmailing Europe and the US.”

Meanwhile, Russian representatives said that this was not so. Addressing Gates, President Putin remarked: “You are mistaken saying that Iran has missiles that threaten Europe.”

Putin said: “Today, Iran has missiles with a range of just 1,600-1,700 kilometers” emphasizing that “Iran does not threaten Europe.” Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov spoke in a similar tone: “The strategic AMD system is a serious destabilizing factor that may have a significant influence on regional and global security. I wish to emphasize that Russia’s stance in this issue remains unchanged. Our country is concerned about plans of the American party to use intercontinental ballistic missiles with conventional warheads because in case of combat use, the flight trajectories of these missiles will pass in the vicinity of Russian borders.”

Meanwhile, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Yury Baluevsky, released a detailed report describing how the American AMD system in Europe may threaten Russia.

Summing up results of the consultations with Robert Gates in Moscow, Baluevsky was not afraid to state that the real goal of the American AMD “is the creation of protection from the nuclear missile potential of Russia and China and provision of exclusive conditions of invulnerability for the United States.” Baluevsky added: “No matter who tells me otherwise, I, as a military man, am the first to see this real goal.”

The current attempt to create AMDs in Europe is already the fourth. Earlier, in the 1980s, the US proposed the famous Strategic Defense Initiative that, according to American military, was aimed at protection from Iraq, Iran and North Korea. At present, Iraq and North Korea do not pose any threat for the US. The apprehensions of Americans regarding Iran seem to be exaggerated to the Chief of the Russian General Staff.

The second goal pursued by the US is achievement of strategic domination on account of increase of the technological gap, including gaps between the US and developed countries. Baluevsky is convinced that the US is not going to share its strategic secrets with other countries. The Chief of the General Staff states that, because Russia considers the US global AMD system to be aimed against it, Russia will not cooperate in its creation. Baluevsky adds that Russia possesses technologies for the creation of strategic missiles that are not afraid of any AMD.

Baluevsky points out: “In the near future, Russia can create a weapon capable of penetrating any AMD system. These are missiles that fly not along an understandable trajectory, like all ballistic missiles, but along an unpredictable trajectory.” He adds that he does not consider the withdrawal of Russia from the treaty with the US on medium and smaller range missiles to be expedient.

Thus, Moscow hinted to the Pentagon chief that it was concerned about plans of the US to deploy AMD elements in Europe. Meanwhile, according to Baluevsky, the possible deployment of the US AMD elements in Poland and Czech Republic should not be taken as a return to the cold war and Moscow is going to build its relations with Washington about these issues in a constructive way through negotiations and consultations to persuade the American party that “the plans of the US AMD creation in Europe have no prospects.” At any rate, Americans will hardly listen to arguments of the Russian party.

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