Although the Bush administration and the Military and State Department know of these developments it is unlikely they will change course at this time. In power only a few more weeks, the Bush administration will leave Washington with a perilous dilemma. The Obama administration will have a lot of homework to do simply to understand the problems our overzealous military foreign policy has created in recent years.
We as the informed activist, anti-war, disarmament and peace community working with military and defense issues (including nuclear) need to inform and educate the new government of this dangerous situation in Eastern Europe and help do something about it.
If we mobilize as an activist community and generate efforts that foster diplomatic action by our government (and the United Nations, the European Community, and ourselves) with "diplomacy" in Eastern Europe and Russia – in order to suspend the development of the Missile Defense System (MDS) proposed for Poland and the Czech Republic – then we have a chance to curtail an increase in tensions between all countries and peoples involved, and avert any military action.
Russia now is threatening the U.S. and making plans for missile deployment in their territories while the U.S. is sitting back and refusing to change course on their plans to "defend" Europe against Iran – a "rogue state – which may not even have the capacity or desire to attack Europe.
The whole MDS too may well not be an effective deterrent against an attack, as it has not been proven capable to intercept an incoming missile, decoy or more than one missile at a time. Some have called the system a money-making sham for the military industrial complex to the tune of $100 billion over the last 10 years or so.
With the Bush administration having only a few weeks left in power, it will be up to the Obama administration to take up this issue of missile defense. We, as the activist, disarmament, peace and anti-war community need to step up and convince the Obama team and Congress (the committees and subcommittees who work with the MDS , the military and appropriations) the absolute necessity of fostering diplomacy now – as soon as possible – in order to avert war, or possible a nuclear war, as these missiles have nuclear warhead capability.
Russia has threatened to send missiles to the northern border of Poland if the U.S. and Poland start to build an interceptor base there which would only be a few hundred miles away, well within range of Russia’s missiles. Lately though Russia has made the offer to hold off doing so if the U.S. stops the plans for building the system. Unfortunately the U.S. keeps turning down this goodwill offer. Consequently our challenge is to convince our government to foster diplomacy, to talk with Russia and calm things down and withdraw our plans to defend Europe against an attack by Iran.
We need to make this effort and utilize the power as a community who has studied, written, protested and lobbied for disarmament and change to more peaceful ways of settling troubled problems in the world. It may well be best that no one group or organization lead the way but more of a broad coalition of forces making efforts from resources – contacts and networks – and experience already gained from years of work and activism.
Clearly we are now engaged in a new arms race. Both the U.S. and Russia, the two largest armed countries in the world, have invested billions of dollars in the building of their militaries, including missiles and missile defense systems, both on the earth and also in space. This proliferation is out of hand already and needs to stop for the safety and well being of the planet’s survival. As a reaction to this development I see the increase of efforts by groups for nuclear disarmament in the U.S. and Europe.
We are now faced with a situation we hoped would never occur – a potential threat and counter-threat by the two most dangerous nations, with other nations in between. This situation needs to be addressed in an intelligent and competent manner as soon as possible.
Let’s think and talk/discuss this effort and cross over our separate areas of expertise in order to join together in support of a mutual effort with our government for re-establishing peace in Eastern Europe, and with Iran as well. At the same time we need more diplomacy with Pakistan, India, Israel and Iran – all nations with nuclear power.
If the U.S., Russia and other countries increase military buildup and response, it will only lead to more potential danger. No matter how we look at it diplomacy is our only reasonable response that may give us a chance to hold diplomatic negotiations and settle these conflicts.
We need to identify the people in government, the United Nations, the EU, our own informed activist, anti-war, disarmament and peace community working with military and defense issues, and plan an action campaign for diplomacy and the pull-back of the Missile Defense System in Europe and plans for any other missile defense and nuclear developments. Let’s step up our activist efforts as we conclude this holiday season my friends.
Photo by Kathy Doucette