DENNIS BEHREANDT, FOREIGN AFFAIRS
The U.S. State Department and the government of Romania have announced that the “the Ballistic Missile Defense Agreement on deployment of the U.S. ballistic missile defense system in Romania has entered into force, effective December 23, 2011.”
The missile defense agreement with Romania is part of a larger US and NATO plan to place missile defenses in a number of Eastern European nations.
In an op-ed published on December 6, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen described the rationale behind the missile defense plan.
“The missile threat we face is grave and growing,” Rasmussen declared. “Over 30 states are working on advanced missile technology. Some of them already have ballistic missiles that can be fitted with conventional warheads or with weapons of mass destruction. Some of our major cities are already in range. That is why at the Lisbon summit, NATO agreed to develop a missile defense capability to protect its population, territory and forces. That remains our position today. We owe it to our people to defend them.”
The missile defense plan has ruffled feathers in Moscow where it is widely held that NATO efforts are directed against Russia. In late November, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev strongly criticized the effort and threatened to target NATO’s anti-missile installations.
“Russia will deploy modern offensive weapons systems in the west and south of the country, thereby ensuring its ability to take out any part of the US missile defence system in Europe,” Medvedev said.
According to a report from Rossiyskaya Gazeta published by the London Telegraph, Medvedev indicated that Russia would consider a variety of countermeasures in response to NATO.
“He listed a number of counter-measures that would be taken, including: deploying early-warning radar and Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad; reinforcing the protective cover of Russia’s strategic nuclear weapons to develop Russia’s air and space defences; installing advanced missile defence penetration systems and new highly effective warheads; and developing measures that can disable missile defence and guidance systems,” the Rossiyskaya Gazeta stated.
In response to the Russian president’s comments, NATO’s Rasmussen took Medvedev to task for misrepresenting the intent behind the NATO system.
“Some of President Dmitri Medvedev’s recent comments about NATO’s missile defense system reflect a misunderstanding of the system,” Rasmussen said. “As a result, Russia has suggested deploying missiles in areas neighboring the alliance. Such suggestions reflect the rhetoric of the past and are inconsistent with the strategic relationship NATO and Russia agreed to seek.”
With the agreement between the U.S. and Romania now in force, the State Department says the United States will be able to “construct, maintain, and operate a facility encompassing the land-based SM-3 ballistic missile defense system.”
The State Department notes that the facility will be located on approximately 430 acres at the Romanian Air Base at Deveselu. In addition, according to background information presented by the State Department, the Romanian missile defense base:
- will be operated by U.S. and Romanian military forces
- “will consist of a radar deckhouse and associated Aegis command, control, and communications suite. Separately, it will house a number of launch modules containing SM-3 interceptors. The United States Government will be financially responsible for the construction of its facility and for the deployment, operations, and maintenance of its ballistic missile defense system.”
- is “for defensive purposes only” and has “no offensive capability.”
The Moral Liberal associate editor, Dennis Behreandt, is the Founder and Editor In Chief of the American Daily Herald. Mr. Behreandt’s research interests include the period of late antiquity in European history as well as Medieval and Renaissance history.