A Bad Day for Freedom — Reversal on Missile Defense Shield in Europe Video — Russia positive on new US defense plans — Inhofe Decries Cancellation of Missile Defense Shield Video — Morning Bell: Surrender and Betrayal Do Not Make Us Safer — CBO Options for Deploying Missile Defenses in Europe
This “is not good news for the Czech state, for Czech freedom and independence.”
Thus spake Mirek Topolanek, former prime minister of the Czech Republic, upon hearing news that the Obama Administration was scrapping plans to continue building long-range missile defenses in Europe. “It puts us in a position where we are not firmly anchored in terms of partnership, security and alliance, and that’s a certain threat.”
This is a neat summary not only of the Czech Republic’s strategic position, but also that of all of America’s allies, be they in eastern or western Europe, the greater Middle East, South or East Asia. Ultimately, this is not about the utility of missile defenses, relations with Russia or Iran, but about the United States and its role as the guarantor of international security.
Nearly every day brings a new and chilling wind from the White House for our allies. Today it is felt in central Europe. Meanwhile, an agonized Obama cannot decide whether he’s really committed to winning “the Good War” in Afghanistan; the administration is eternally debating “first principles” rather than effective ways and means. Meanwhile, Pakistan is accelerating its nuclear program against the day when Washington turns its head. Meanwhile, Iraqi factions are jockeying for advantage after the Americans go; they already understand they’ve been forgotten. Meanwhile, the Bush Administration’s “strategic partnership” with India is on hold. Meanwhile, a new Japanese government contemplates life alone in the shadow of rising China and a defiant North Korea. Meanwhile, Australia begins to “hedge” against the ebbing of American power in the Pacific. Meanwhile, the Pentagon conducts a defense review asking not how much is enough, but how little can we get by on.
The Obama Administration is proving to be not a collection of foxy tacticians, but a collective hedgehog that knows one big thing: political capital spent exercising American power abroad is capital lost in reshaping American society at home. But the United States cannot preserve the liberal international order if it adopts an economy-of-force approach. Nor will that order – or the general peace, prosperity and growth of liberty that are its distinguishing features – long survive.
There is a pattern here. The individual data points add up. Each decision marks a seemingly small retreat. But the larger picture is increasingly clear, if not yet to us than to the rest of the world, friend and foe alike: America is tired, and turning inward.
Retreating in the face or Russian foot-stomping is especially telling. Consider, for a moment, how Chinese strategy treats Russia: the Chinese know Russia is a collapsing empire, a demographic nightmare, and soon to be a third-rate military power. The Chinese, confident of their “rise,” are patient. They’ve mostly stopped buying Russian weapons, beyond the occasional bargain-basement deal. They are most certainly not looking for the “reset” button. They look ahead, not backward.
To be sure, we have a larger and more immediate agenda with Moscow. But each item has become a measure of our weakness and weariness: the response to the invasion of Georgia, fear of further NATO expansion, access to Afghanistan, reneging on missile defenses and desperation to sign a new nuclear arms control treaty. As Russia declines, we’re trying to console it for its losses; China wonders how to feast on the remains.
This is not good news for free states, or for the larger cause of freedom and independence.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has given a broadly positive reaction to the new anti-missile defense plans announced by Washington.
He said they created the right conditions for the two countries to work together to counter defensive threats.
“Russia has noted the announcement President Barack Obama made today about adjustments in the US position on missile defense,” Medvedev said. “I discussed this subject with the US president during our meetings in both London and Moscow. We agreed and wrote in our joint statement that Russia and the US will do their best to asses risks related to missile proliferation in the world.”
Thursday’s announcement by Washington, the Russian leader said, demonstrates “that we now have favorable conditions for this work.”
He added that detailed consultations between experts from both states will be needed.
“And, of course, our country is ready for them,” he assured.
The president added that on September 23, during a meeting with Obama in New York, “we’ll have a good opportunity to exchange our views on all matters of strategic stability, including missile defense.”
He said he hopes that “we’ll be able to give instructions to the appropriate departments after [the meeting] on stepping up bilateral interaction that will embrace European and other interested states at later stages.”
“We will work together to develop effective measures regarding the risks of missile proliferation, measures which will take into account the interests and concerns of all parties and provide equal security for all countries in Europe,” Medvedev said.
He added that Russia appreciates Obama’s “approach to implementing our agreements and readiness to continue the dialogue.”
Meanwhile, Russia’s envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said he hopes a meeting between Presidents Medvedev and Obama next week will shed more light on the new American missile shield plan.
He said that only after carefully investigating new threats against Russia and the US can Moscow “elaborate the military response.”
“We do understand that in this world we have a lot of threats,” Rogozin said. “Maybe some country wants to use missile technologies against its enemies.”
But in any case, he said, a first step should be not a military response, but an analysis and investigation of possible threats.
“We are waiting for new Obama’s concrete proposal on how Washington and Moscow can start this mutual understanding,” Rogozin said.
Last month we reported that news outlets in Poland were saying that the Obama administration had made the decision to abandon our anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. Today Czech Premier Jan Fischer confirmed those reports telling reporters that President Obama phoned him overnight to say that “his government is pulling out of plans to build a missile defense radar on Czech territory.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Obama administration is justifying its decision on their determination that Iran’s long-range missile program hasn’t progressed as rapidly as previously estimated. This despite the facts that:
- On February 2nd, Iran successfully launched a satellite into orbit using a rocket with technology similar to that used in a long-range ballistic missile.
- On May 20th, Iran test-fired a 1200-mile solid-fueled two-stage ballistic missile.
- On July 15th, Germany’s foreign intelligence service, BND, announced that Iran will be able to produce and test a nuclear weapon within six months. BND also stated that it has “no doubt” that Iran’s missile program is aimed solely at the production of nuclear warheads.
- On August 3rd, The Times of London reported that Western intelligence sources concluded that Iran has not only perfected the technology to build and detonate a nuclear weapon, could assemble a weapon in just six months, and could deliver the weapon on Iran’s Shebab-3 ballistic missile.
- Just yesterday French President Nicolas Sarkozy said: “It is a certainty to all of our secret services. Iran is working today on a nuclear [weapons] program.”
The only country other than Iran that is happy with President Obama’s decision is Russia. State Duma foreign affairs committee head Konstantin Kosachev told the Associated Press: “The U.S. president’s decision is a well-thought (out) and systematic one. Now we can talk about restoration of (the) strategic partnership between Russia and the United States.” But, in fact, the missile defense capitulation is just one in a long line of Obama surrenders to Russia. Heritage fellow Ariel Cohen explains from Moscow:
All these concessions the Russians pocketed, smiled, and moved on to new demands: European security reconfiguration; additional global reserve currency which would weaken the dollar; and a strong push-back on sanctions against the Iranian nuclear program. …. While the Russians clearly like the better atmospherics, and somewhat toned down the shrill anti-American rhetoric, the Iranians and the Venezuelans, who also received Obama’s “stretched hand” and, in case of Hugo Chavez, a pat on the back, are refusing to play ball. They, like their friends in Moscow, are also pocketing concessions while continuing the mischief.
The decision to abandon the “third site” deployment of 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic violates President Obama’s pledge to support missile defense that is “pragmatic and cost-effective.” Ground based missile defense is effective, affordable, and available now. According to the Congressional Budget Office, alternatives to the third site do not provide a comparable level of defense. The CBO concluded that the estimated $9-14 billion 20-year cost of the third site was half of the estimated costs of a sea-based alternative. Abandoning our best missile defense option in Europe only encourages Iran to speed up their ballistic missile program so that they can get their threat in place before a European missile defense system is available.
The Poles and the Czechs know what it means to live under the boot of Russian domination. The third-site issue is of huge symbolic importance to both nations, and if Moscow emerges the victor, with an effective veto over U.S. policy in Europe, it would represent a massive surrender of American strategic influence and a betrayal of two of its closest friends in the region.
Go to 33minutes.com for more on missile defense, the threat posed to us and our allies by nuclear weapons, and the action plan necessary to revive a strategic missile defense system that only America can develop, maintain, and employ for its own defense and the peace-loving world’s security.
- Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) joined the anti-czar criticism of the Obama administration yesterday, sending a letter to the White House asking Obama to detail the roles and responsibilities of all of the czars in his administration and to explain why he believes the use of czars is consistent with the Senate’s constitutional power to offer advice and consent on top-level executive branch officials.
- Celebrate Constitution Day by reading former-Attorney General Ed Meese’s The Meaning Of The Constitution essay.
- Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) said Sen. Max Baucus’ (D-MT) health care won’t work for Nevada, explaining: “During this time of economic crisis, our state cannot afford to shoulder the second highest increase in Medicaid funding.”
- According to Gallup, 56% of Americans do not believe President Obama’s claims that he can fund his health care plan through cost savings in Medicare and other parts of the existing health care system.
- The Senate voted 52-45 yesterday to preserve millions of dollars in federal funding for road signs promoting President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package.
Options for Deploying Missile Defenses in Europe
As part of ongoing efforts to protect the United States and its allies from attack by ballistic missiles, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) is working to deploy a missile defense system in Europe. As proposed, the system would be fielded by 2013 and would include interceptor missiles in silos to be built in Poland, a tracking radar in the Czech Republic, and another radar at an unspecified location near Iran. The goal of the system, according to MDA, is to “defend [U.S.] allies and deployed forces in Europe from limited Iranian longrange threats and expand protection of [the] U.S. homeland.”
MDA’s proposed system is controversial. Some critics argue that testing of the system to date has been insufficient to verify that it will function as intended. Other critics argue that even if the system performs according to expectations, it is unnecessary given the current status of Iranian missile development and the likelihood of an Iranian missile attack on Europe or the United States. The United States has signed agreements with Poland and the Czech Republic to host the missile defense system, but those agreements have been the subject of debate in the host nations and have not yet been fully ratified by their parliaments.
The system as proposed would not be able to defend some areas—including parts of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member Turkey—that are within striking distance of missiles that Iran has tested or claims to have developed. The Russian government has also sharply protested the deployment by the United States of missile defenses in eastern Europe.
In this study, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) compares the potential cost and performance of MDA’s proposed European system with the cost and performance of three other options for deploying missile defenses in Europe, as follows:
- Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA interceptors located on U.S. Navy Aegis ballistic missile defense (BMD) ships operating at three locations around Europe, supported by two transportable forward based radars (FBRs);
Ground-based SM-3 Block IIA interceptors operating from mobile launchers located at two existing U.S. bases (Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany and Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey), supported by two transportable forward-based radars; and
- Ground-based Kinetic Energy Interceptors (KEIs, a new high-acceleration interceptor MDA is developing that could be based either in silos or on mobile transporters), operating from mobile launchers located at two existing U.S. bases in Europe (Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany and Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey), supported by two transportable forward based radars.
- CBO developed the alternatives using components that are already being planned rather than entirely new systems. Like MDA’s proposal, the alternatives are all midcourse-phase defense systems, which would intercept an enemy missile after its rocket booster had burned out and the missile was “coasting” on a ballistic trajectory above the atmosphere. (For an introduction to ballistic missiles, see Appendix A.) CBO’s analysis assumes that all the components of the proposed defenses and alternatives to them will perform according to MDA’s current expectations. Many observers would argue that assumption is optimistic, however, because it has not been verified by testing.
Besides protecting parts of Europe, MDA’s proposed European system is intended to give the United States an extra layer of defense against potential Iranian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) beyond that provided by U.S.-based interceptors. CBO’s analysis indicates that interceptors of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system already in place at two bases in the United States—supported by radars currently slated to be incorporated into the system by 2012—would provide defensive coverage to more than 99 percent of the U.S. population against ICBMs from Iran.
MDA’s proposed European system would extend defensive coverage to the other 1 percent of the U.S. population. It would also provide redundant defense from a third interceptor site for all of the continental United States. Such redundancy gives system operators more flexibility: Interceptors launched from Europe against a U.S.-bound ICBM would engage the missile early in its trajectory, allowing operators to determine whether the intercept was successful and still have enough time to launch a second interceptor from the United States, if necessary.
CBO compared the proposed deployment and the alternatives to it on the basis of the defense of Europe that they would provide, the additional defense of the United States they would provide relative to the defense provided by the existing Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system, their costs, and when the alternatives could be available. Using those four criteria, CBO’s analysis suggests the following:
- Defense of Europe. All of the alternatives CBO considered would provide defense of most of Europe roughly equivalent to the defense provided by MDA’s proposal against most types of ballistic missiles that Iran is thought to have developed or could develop in the future. Because the alternatives CBO considered would locate interceptors closer to Iran than MDA’s planned system, they would generally provide more extensive defense of southeastern Europe than would MDA’s proposal. Moreover, because they would be composed of mobile or transportable components, deploying the alternative systems would not require building permanent facilities—including missile silos—at European sites. However, none of the systems that CBO analyzed, including the system proposed by MDA, would be capable of defending all of Europe against all of the threat missiles that Iran has either already tested or might develop.
- Extended Defense of the United States. MDA’s proposed system would complement the coverage already available from U.S.-based interceptors by providing redundant defense from a third interceptor site for all of the continental United States. None of the alternatives considered by CBO provide as much additional defense of the United States. Deploying Kinetic Energy Interceptors would add defense from a third redundant interceptor site for about 75 percent of the U.S. population in range of ICBMs from Iran. Deploying land-based or sea-based Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) Block IIA interceptors would provide additional defense for about one-half or less of the U.S. population.
- Costs. For roughly the same cost as MDA’s European system—a total of about $9 billion to $14 billion over 20 years—the United States could deploy either SM-3 interceptors or Kinetic Energy Interceptors at its existing bases in Germany and Turkey, supported by tracking radars in Azerbaijan and Qatar. At greater cost, the United States could deploy SM-3 interceptors on U.S. Navy ships and station them permanently at three locations in European waters. That system would cost almost twice as much as MDA’s proposal—a total of about $18 billion to $26 billion over 20 years—largely because CBO assumed that the Navy would need to buy additional ships to operate it.
- Availability. The alternatives that CBO examined might not be available as early as MDA’s proposed European system. MDA’s plans call for that system to be fully fielded by 2013, although constraints that the Congress has placed on the availability of funds could delay its completion. Given the U.S. military’s development schedules for various interceptors, the two alternative systems using SM-3 Block IIA interceptors could be available around 2015, but the system using Kinetic Energy Interceptors probably would not be available until sometime after 2018. Deploying the alternatives considered by CBO would require surmounting technical challenges similar to those associated with deploying MDA’s proposed system.
MDA’s Plans for European Missile Defenses
Developing defenses against ballistic missiles has long been a goal of the Department of Defense (DoD) and was particularly emphasized by the Bush Administration.
Early U.S. efforts at missile defense (such as the 1960sera Nike-Zeus program) were aimed at countering the vast Soviet missile arsenal. Recent efforts are more modest in scope. The National Missile Defense Act of 1999 states, “It is the policy of the United States to deploy as soon as is technologically possible an effective National Missile Defense system capable of defending the territory of the United States against limited ballistic missile attack (whether accidental, unauthorized, or deliberate).”
DoD’s Missile Defense Agency has the mission of “develop[ing] and field[ing] an integrated, layered, ballistic missile defense system to defend the United States, its deployed forces, allies, and friends against all ranges of enemy ballistic missiles in all phases of flight.”3 In its budget request for fiscal year 2009, MDA divided its efforts to fulfill that mission into a series of “blocks,” each based on a particular desired capability:
- Block 1.0—Defend the United States from limited North Korean long-range threats;
- Block 2.0—Defend allies and deployed forces from short- to medium-range threats in one region or theater;
- Block 3.0—Expand defense of the United States to include limited Iranian long-range threats;
- Block 4.0—Defend allies and deployed forces in Europe from limited Iranian long-range threats and expand protection of the U.S. homeland; and
- Block 5.0—Expand defense of allies and deployed forces from short- to intermediate-range threats in two regions or theaters.
Block 1.0 is nearing completion, and most of the work on Blocks 2.0 and 3.0 is expected to occur over the next two years. The other blocks are mainly in the planning and development stages.
The Block 4.0 program centers on establishing a European Interceptor Site (EIS) in Poland, where silos would be constructed to hold 10 ground-based, midcoursephase interceptors. The EIS would be supported by the European Midcourse Radar (EMR), an X-band tracking radar that is slated to be moved from its current location in the Pacific to the Czech Republic. MDA’s plans also call for deploying a forward-based short-wavelength radar somewhere closer to Iran. That radar would provide tracking earlier in the trajectory of an enemy missile (usually referred to as a threat missile) and thus would extend the area defended by the interceptors. MDA has not specified a location for the forward-based radar in its public statements.
In the President’s 2009 budget, MDA requested total funding of $3.9 billion over the 2008–2013 period for the Block 4.0 system, including operations and support in those years.5 That budget request was based on a plan in which both the EIS and EMR become operational in 2012 and all of the interceptors are in place in Poland by 2013. However, limits on the availability of funding that the Congress included in the 2009 defense authorization bill could delay the fielding of the system. Those limits make funding contingent on final approval of missile defense agreements with the countries hosting facilities and on certification by the Secretary of Defense that the proposed interceptor has successfully completed “operationally realistic” flight testing.
Controversies About MDA’s Proposed System
MDA argues that establishing a missile defense capability in Europe is necessary to address a ballistic missile threat that is “real and growing.”6 According to the agency’s technical analysis, the proposed Block 4.0 system would provide additional defense of the United States against ICBMs launched from the Middle East and would defend most of Europe against medium- and intermediate-range missiles launched from the Middle East.7 However, a number of observers have argued that the testing conducted to date has been insufficient to verify that the Block 4.0 system will function according to MDA’s expectations.
Moreover, as proposed, the system would not defend some areas in southeastern Europe—including some member countries of NATO—against short- or medium range missiles launched from Iran. Extending defensive coverage to those areas would require the United States or NATO to provide additional defensive systems.
The Secretary General of NATO has emphasized the importance of complete coverage for NATO members, stating, “We have no A league or B league in NATO. Every NATO ally is entitled to the same kind of protection.”
In a statement following the NATO summit in Bucharest in April 2008, NATO “recognise[d] the substantial contribution to the protection of Allies from long range ballistic missiles to be provided by the planned deployment of European based United States missile defence assets” but also called for developing “options for a comprehensive missile defence architecture to extend coverage to all Allied territory and populations not otherwise covered by the United States system.”
Russia has objected to the U.S. proposal to deploy missile defenses in Europe, questioning the immediacy of an Iranian threat and arguing that the proposed system is actually intended to defend against Russian missiles. The United States and Russia have held several rounds of high-level talks about the proposal. Those discussions have reportedly included the possibility of Russia’s cooperation and the use of Russian radars in the system.
In April 2008, the two nations released a strategic framework declaration in which “the Russian side has made clear that it does not agree with the decision to establish” missile defense sites in Europe but that left open the door to negotiate about the issue and “to intensify our dialogue…on issues concerning [missile defense] cooperation both bilaterally and multilaterally.”
Although the U.S. Secretary of State signed an agreement with the Czech government in July 2008 to host the EMR and an agreement with the Polish government in August 2008 to host the EIS, neither of those agreements has been finalized. The parliaments of the Czech Republic and Poland need to ratify the agreements, and press reports indicate that a majority of the public in those countries opposes hosting the systems.
The agreement with the Polish government calls for basing a U.S. battery of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) missiles in Poland; details about which existing PAC-3 battery will be moved to Poland have yet to be announced.
See Complete CBO PDF Report: Options for Deploying Missile Defenses in Europe
Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer gestures during the press conference in Prague on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009. Fischer announced that the United States withdrew from the plans to build missile defence bases in the Czech Republic and Poland about which U.S. President Barack Obama informed him by phone. (AP Photo,CTK/Michal Kamaryt)
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