11 lutego

CLARIFYING MISSILE DEFENSE

CLARIFYING MISSILE DEFENSE

(Materiał nie jest najnowszy, ale ciekawy)

SIEC NEWS

* Clarifying Missile Defense

* Bogdan Kipling's Column

* NPR interview with Radek Sikorski and Halle Dale of Heritage on Missile Defense

CLARIFYING MISSILE DEFENSE

Don't count on the Polish prime minister Donald Tusk to sign the agreement during his visit to the White House on marzec 10th, his first to US. With regard to missile defense, several unresolved questions exist beyond US-Poland agreement in principle. First the US Congress (see H.R. 1585/1586 in thomas.loc.gov) has weighed in but expect more agreement than bluster on the defense shield even after President Bush leaves office.

Future obstacles are not just money for the project or some new refocusing of policy on domestic concerns. Congressional approval of funding also depends on agreement of the host country including, as Minister Sikorski mentioned, approval by the Polish Sejm [parliament]. For Poland, a major concern is a Bilateral Agreement of the kind US has for example with Greece and its other allies, while US Department of State insists Article V of the NATO treaty is sufficient defense assurance. Not everyone in Washington agrees with this position.

One ought to recall that article V has been invoked only once, specifically after 9/11 and may not be sufficiently reassuring to a borderline country like Poland, especially when other US allies have additional assurances. In this regard one might also recall former Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's famous observation that [I am paraphrasing] it is not the alliance that chooses its mission but the mission chooses the alliance, which in my ear rings like "too many cooks spoil the broth."

For US a major obstacle is certification of operational capability of the deployed interceptor system. The tests have been conducted successfully [see MDA site for results] but some need more convincing. While several members of Congress have expressed skepticism, congressional appropriation and continuation of the defense policy are likely even with Democrats in power, if only because of proliferation of missile technology now includes 27 countries.

It is probable that within ten years, which when the interceptor base in Poland is expected to be fully operational [with first interceptors expected by 2011], this number will increase, perhaps even triple. What is more, the technology may not be controllable in failing states, especially if US is forced to diminish its global military posture and other countries don't pick up the slack. Hence, interceptor deployment is not only a question of rogue states like Mahmoud Ahmadinijad's Iran.

More importantly, missile defense forward base in Poland while defending US, is part of an existing defense shield that protects the alliance and may in the future include other countries.

For more information, see:

Missile Defense Agency Website: Proposed Military Assets http://www.mda.mil/mdalink/html/thirdsite.html [including Polish and Czech information as well as European missile defense fact sheet with visuals].
The Agency budget for 2009 is also available that refers to interceptor base.

Polish Ministry of Defense Website: Tarcza Antyrakietowa
http://www.mon.gov.pl/pl/artykuly/3/2008 [in Polish with visuals]

Michael Szporer, PhD
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The Halifax Herald, lisa Scotia CA

For Poles, Czechs, closer ties to U.S. insurance

By BOGDAN KIPLING
Thu. luty 7 - 6:09 AM


THREE WEEKS ago in Moscow, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke like a just judge. "We are not going to put any pressure on Poland or other participants" over the possible deployment of U.S. missile defence systems.

What could be more reasonable? Sovereign countries have the right to make agreements. No offence, then, if the United States wanted to set up anti-missile missiles in Poland and the radars directing them in the Czech Republic. The Star Wars-like weapons are purely defensive. The only thing they can destroy is another missile. They are totally useless for anything else.

Mr. Lavrov spoke at a press conference and I cribbed the account and the quote from RIA lisosti, a legitimate Russian news agency. His remarks were directed at Radek Sikorski, Poland s foreign minister, in town for consultations on this sensitive subject.

Last piątek, Mr. Sikorski was in Washington to talk anti-missile missiles with Secretary of States Condoleezza Rice. In a joint press conference, Mr.
Sikorski affirmed that agreement in principle has been reached, and Ms.
Rice hinted that the United States would build up Poland s air defences as Warsaw demanded as a condition before the building of the base could begin.

The breakthrough in negotiations was front-page in Washington and showed up in all the regional media I had scanned. I mention this point because the presidential primaries totally dominated the news and still the missile defence story caught the eye of many news editors. This can mean only one
thing: There is deeper interest in the subject than we think.

Ottawa was next on the seemingly tireless Radek Sikorski s itinerary.
Judging by Internet editions of the Canadian media, he made a bit of a splash when he chimed in with the Harper government s and the Canadian public s revulsion at NATO partners as "free riders" in Afghanistan.

Tomorrow, I assume, it will be Moscow again for Mr. Sikorski. Poland s prime minister, Donald Tusk, is meeting with Russia s president, Vladimir Putin, and the foreign minister customarily travels along.

Besides, Mr. Putin is a formidable leader and the foreign ministry types are expected to know all the background.

Vladimir Putin is the man who threatens to restart the arms race because the Americans have the temerity to put up defences against possible attack by some despot with mitts on a few missiles and nuclear weapons.

I m fascinated. Will Donald Tusk hear the measured language of Lavrov or the intemperate words of Dimitry Rogozin, a fierce Russian nationalist Mr.
Putin picked recently as his ambassador to NATO headquarters in Brussels?

If Mr. Putin preaches from Mr. Rogozin s book, Donald Tusk is in for a rough time and Washington had better prepare for a generalized ruckus. Mr.
Rogozin does not take yes for an answer. He decided a while back that the dialogue Warsaw said it would hold with Russian leaders "has ended having not even started."

But then, it could be General Nikolai Solovtsov speaking through Vladimir Putin. He is the man in charge of Russia s arsenal. "I do not exclude the missile-defence shield sites in Poland and the Czech Republic being chosen as targets for some of our intercontinental ballistic missiles," he said just before Christmas.

No matter. Mr. Tusk s meeting with Vladimir Putin should be revealing. Will they manage to warm up relations between the two countries or is the Poland-Russia deep freeze doomed to continue? Lastly, if that is the case, who is keeping the refrigerant flowing?

Poles and Russians nurse mighty suspicions of each other and that attitude, the habit, is not going to dissipate in a hurry. But given goodwill and rational thinking, there is no reason why they could not develop mutually beneficial relations.

Thus far, the intensity of Moscow s protests of the anti-missile sites bodes badly. Threatening the Czech Republic and Poland with nuclear annihilation because they want to feel more secure is both unconscionable and stupid.

Poles and Czechs can never subjugate mighty Russia. But the opposite has happened, and that is a historical fact. For Warsaw and Prague, a deeper alliance with the United States, the transatlantic anchor, is an insurance policy on independent existence. Nothing more and nothing less.

If injured national pride is Moscow s problem, the only effective cure is to get over it. American military presence on the turf of former Soviet satellite countries is no justification for pointing nuclear-tipped missiles.

The Cold War is over and maybe people need to be reminded, Jaroslav Kurfurst, deputy chief of mission at the Czech embassy in Washington said in a brief discussion of the situation. All I can add is Amen, brother.

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Bogdan Kipling is a Canadian journalist in Washington.


National Public Radio (NPR)

luty 2, 2008 sobota

Weekend All Things Considered

Poland, U.S. Agree on Missile Defense System

ANDREA SEABROOK


ANDREA SEABROOK, host:

The Cold War ended nearly two decades ago, but we were reminded of the old tensions and rivalries this week when Poland's foreign minister came to Washington. Radek Sikorski was negotiating his country's role in a planned U.S. missile defense system. This is a project President Bush Enhanced Coverage Linking President Bush -Search using:

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has pursued since his first year in office.

And it's a project that has infuriated Russia and gotten a cool reaction from some people in Poland too. Now Foreign Minister Sikorski says Poland and the U.S. have agreed in principle on terms for Polish participation, though talks on details continue. And he made the diplomatic rounds, and as he did Mr. Sikorski stopped by our NPR studios.

The Bush administration wants to deploy ten interceptor missiles on Polish territory to counter a missile attack from Iran. Does Poland share Washington's fears about a strike from Iran?

Mr. RADEK SIKORSKI (Foreign Minister, Poland): Well, we are in a different position on the globe, so clearly our security perceptions are different.
And we have diplomatic relations with Iran. We are concerned about the nature of the Iranian regime and about the nuclear program of Iran. But the U.S. is an important ally of ours. And when an important ally asks you to host a base, you consider it seriously.

SEABROOK: Does your government believe that this missile defense system would enhance Poland's security then by sort of an add-on affect?

Mr. SIKORSKI: It's a proposed base that would have all kinds of impact, both on security vis-à-vis countries developing ballistic missiles, but would also be a target for terrorists and is also of concern to our neighbors. So we have to take all these things into the equation before we make a decision.

SEABROOK: Russian President Vladimir Putin is pretty angry about this missile defense plan, even though the Bush administration has assured Putin that the system isn't meant to and won't even be capable of neutralizing Russia's nuclear arsenal.

This week you spoke at a Washington think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, and you said Poland has come under political pressure and has even been blackmailed by some of its neighbors who fiercely oppose this project. Is that the Russians you were referring to and how have they blackmailed you?

Mr. SIKORSKI: Well, we have a history of this, actually. We purchased 48 U.S. F-16s. Most of them are in Poland now. And Russia has deployed S300 missiles and aircraft missile in Belarus on our border. And some Russia generals say that if we go ahead with the missile defense base, they would put up medium range missiles also on our border.

SEABROOK: Let's talk about the energy supplies that come from Russia to Poland. Could the Russians use those supplies as a retaliation for this? Is that something that you worry about, Russia cutting off your energy supply?

Mr. SIKORSKI: Look, we want to have good relations with Russia. I mean, don't make it sound as if the Cold War is back. I've just been to Moscow. My prime minister is going to Moscow soon. We've actually had recently exchanges of gestures of good will. Russia has the energy. Europe needs the energy. In that sense we are compatible. But we believe that energy should be a tradable good rather than an instrument of geopolitics.

SEABROOK: You have suggested that you want a permanent NATO base in Poland in return or at least along with this base of interceptor missiles.

Mr. SIKORSKI: Well, Poland has been a NATO member for nine years now. And all that we have as regards NATO facilities in Poland is one unfinished conference center. And we're actually a border country of NATO, between Europe, where democracy, human rights, all these things we can take for granted, and countries such as Belarus and elsewhere, where these things are not obvious at all. So we would like NATO infrastructure to be spread more evenly, and that I think is non-controversial.

SEABROOK: How has the Bush administration so far responded to your questions about security for Poland in return for this missile defense base?

Mr. SIKORSKI: Well, Poland is a contributor to security. We are with the U.S. in Iraq from the first day and we'll be there until październik. We are in Afghanistan, in the south, at the cutting edge, without caveats. We're increasing our commitments to Afghanistan from 1,200 troops to 1,600, plus some helicopters. It's a continuing discussion about what we will do together.

SEABROOK: Are you seeking other military aid in Poland?

Mr. SIKORSKI: Sure. We would like to collaborate with the U.S. in the defense field because that's the area where the United States has unique credibility in Poland. Poland is a member of the EU, and the EU has a much bigger presence in Poland now than the United States. So I think if the U.S.
wants to maintain its influence in Europe, the security dimension is crucial.

SEABROOK: Radek Sikorski is the foreign minister of Poland. Thanks very much for coming in.

Mr. SIKORSKI: Thank you.

 

The Washington Times

luty 6, 2008 środa

Forward progress;
Europe and missile defense

By Helle Dale, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Last week brought the good news that an unfortunate dispute between the United States and one of its best allies in Europe found the promise of a resolution. After meetings with officials in Washington, Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski stated that the U.S. and Polish governments had reached an agreement in principle on plans to install a U.S. missile defense system on Polish territory, one dealing with Polish security concerns. It is an important step forward on an issue that had become dangerously stalled and a serious problem between allies whose close relationship predates the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Forward progress is critical to protecting Europe and the United States from long-range missile attack. Existing radar installations in the United Kingdom and Greenland are involved, as well as planned radar in Czech Republic and the interceptors planned for installation in Poland. It is clear that missile defense will increase levels of trans-Atlantic cooperation at a time when such relations are under strain from European Union ambitions for a separate defense identity.

Ronald Reagan embraced the idea of missile defense more than a quarter-century ago. As the United States slowly constructs its own land-based missile defenses, with interceptors first in Alaska and in California, the extension of missile defenses to Europe has had a rocky start. (It should be noted that sea-based missile defense cooperation with Japan has been speeded up greatly since North Korea fired test missiles over the Sea of Japan, which had a remarkably sobering effect on the opposition
there.) Europeans still tend to fall into historic patterns of appeasing Russia and demand to know who they are being protected from. The answer is that today, the threat posed by missile attack is not from Russia, but a range of countries far more diverse than during Cold War days. Countries in the Middle East, notably Iran, as well as troublemakers like North Korea are arming themselves with medium- and long-range missiles. Twenty-five years ago, only nine states had ballistic missiles, today there are 27. Nine states have nuclear weapons, and many are aspiring.

Both the Czech and Polish governments have gone out on a limb, while other Europeans, particularly the Germans, continue to be nervous about any move that could upset the Russian government. In Poland, the fact that the previous government was unable to extract sufficient security guarantees from the U.S. government became part of the disillusionment with its performance, and the current government has been inclined to take a tougher line. In both negotiations Mr. Sikorski has been a key player, first as defense minister and now as foreign minister.

The Poles have worked to get a better bargain from the United States, and are reportedly considering waiting for the next U.S. administration to close the deal. This calculation, though, has surely been undermined by the fact that if the next occupant in the White House is a Democrat, missile defense as an issue will fall on hard times. The Democratic Congress has already cut funding for the development of the site in Europe. Were the negotiations between the Polish and the U.S. government to fall through, it could well have the consequence of bringing down the Czech government, which has stood by its end of the bargain.

The road to effective missile defense remains a long one, but the last week's development at least leaves that venue open. It has to be noted that Russian blustering about the system being directed at them is nothing more than that, as the trajectory of the unarmed interceptors makes it ineffective against Russian missiles. European critics have nonsensically even resorted to the argument that it could make a marginal difference toward making Russian missiles less effective overall, which makes one wonder what side they are actually on.

The fact remains this missile defense is purely defensive. Mr. Reagan had a way of hitting the nail on the head when it came to difficult policy questions. Once, when discussing with his arms-control experts the U.S.
vulnerability to intercontinental missile attack, he put the problem this way, "Why don't we put on a helmet?"

It's a brilliant image. A helmet is at once purely protective - our soldiers wear them. So do our athletes, and our children wear them when they bicycle.
A helmet is no threat to others whatsoever.

* Helle Dale is director of the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation. Her column appears on środas.
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Forwarded on behalf of PoloniaSF.org

Wajda's "Katyn" chances for the Oscar

We have received numerous requests to forward an appeal to people to take part in the Internet voting for the Oscars. We agree that Katyn needs a special recognition and we Poles or Americans of Polish descent have a unique opportunity to bring this mass murder of Polish officers to the attention of more people than ever, but we think that it has to be some balance observed. Today the web site given to us is recording Katyn as 92% winner, whereas the most prominent site listed on the very top in the search engine research is listing Katyn as a very last in its category with 12% votes.

PoloniaSF.org therefore appeals to all people who agree with the above reasons, to vote for Katyn at the highest ranking web page at the below
address/link:
http://oscars.movies.yahoo.com/nominees/

"Best Foreign-Language Film" is about half way down and as of today [luty.7,2008] is last with 12% votes. Please create an ID if you do not have one and vote. Voting for all categories is not necessary.

Big Thank You from www.PoloniaSF.org for your participation.

_________________________________
THE POLISH AMERICAN NETWORK

Ostatnia aktualizacja: poniedziałek, 17 marca 2008 20:45
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