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US Setting Up Missile Defense Systems: Objectives & Consequences

The main objective of the United States in setting up Missile Defense Systems is to maintain its dominance and to contain countries that are opposed to its hegemonic policies. In this article, an attempt is made to investigate the objectives and consequences associated with US setting up Missile Defense Systems.

The American Missile Defense, which is to be implemented by 2020 and is known as the “Prompt Global Strike (PGS) “, is essentially an aggressive project that is called “missile defense” just to mislead public opinion. The plan was first approved by the Pentagon in 2001, according to which by using non-nuclear explosives, the US can prepare nuclear warheads of missiles for operation (2). The ultimate objective of the plan is to enable the US to target its goals across the world in 60 minutes without the need for the deployment of massive human resources and advanced military equipment.  Prompt Global Strike is, indeed, a kind of pre-emptive strategy to strike first, and is considered the counterpart of the Star War on the ground (3).

The Objectives and Consequences Associated with Setting up American Missile Defense Systems in Different Parts of the World:
For Russians, recent US actions in Eastern Europe, more than anything else, are reminiscent of the developments  in the 1980s. During this decade, the United States had the following on its agenda: trying to reduce Soviet influence in Western Asia at the regional level, undermining pro-communist regimes, supporting the Afghan mujahedeen, and supporting and protecting the Zionist Regime in the occupation of Lebanon along with weakening the Iranian political system. At the international arena, it had started to confront the Soviet Union by the occupation of several countries, trying to overthrow the Cuban government, and most importantly, by adopting the neutralization strategy (4). At that time, US neutralization strategy was based on confronting Russia’s strategic supremacy and increasing US deterrent power (5). US attempts at setting up missile defense systems are rooted in its trying to maintain its supremacy and dominance that it has achieved following the collapse of the Soviet Union. By maintaining this dominance, US tries to remain as the only superpower. Russian officials hold different views about US objectives in the deployment of Missile Defense Systems. These views could be summarized as follows. First, creating a new arms race. Second, undermining Russia’s deterrent power and third, the stabilization of the US hegemony (6). The United States seeks both explicit and implicit objectives in deploying Missile Defense Systems. 1. Safeguarding the United States against potential dangers. The legal basis for deploying Missile Defense Systems must be sought in the US national security strategy, which states that, “the United States must build its comprehensive semi-strategic Missile Defense System. The development of Missile Defense Systems is necessary to defend the US against ballistic missile attacks.” 2. Defending European allies against possible dangers. According to US officials, what forms the main basis for US argument to deploy Missile Defense Systems in Eastern Europe (in Czech and Poland), is to defend these countries against possible attacks by Iran and North Korea. According to White House officials, Iran’s and North Korea’s missile program is a serious threat to global peace and security and to the United States and its allies. 3. Dissuading Iran from continuing its nuclear activities. Although the IAEA has clearly stated that there are no signs indicating that Iran’s nuclear program has diverted from peaceful purposes, Washington authorities accuse Iran of trying to obtain nuclear weapons (7). In addition to the objectives stated above, the US also seeks four secret objectives which include: distrust of Russia’s internal developments, preventing close relations between Russia and Old Europe, financing The Missile Defense System Project, and finally increasing US influence. The US objective in deploying Missile Defense Systems is to confront countries that are opposed to this country, ideologically or politically.  In this regard, Russia and China, as two superpowers in the world, which can challenge US power, are targeted by the United States so that there is no threat to US dominance. In addition, countries like Iran and North Korea which are opposed to the ideals of Capitalism and Imperialism are controlled by the United States.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1990 and the terrorist events of September 11, 2001, are among the most significant events over the past two decades. The first event represents the end of the Cold War, and the second represents a new era of the show of American military power. In the meantime, reconstruction of the US defense and its deterrent capabilities to address the new challenges is one of the priorities of the US government and the deployment of Missile Defense Systems is part of this extensive effort.

Investigating the Effects of Setting Up Missile Defense Systems on Regional and International Security:
Based on Realistic views of international relations, when a country acts to increase its power and is involved in a show of power, it makes other countries feel insecure, and, as a result, they reciprocate and do likewise, which is increasing one’s power [9] . According to the United States, the deployment of Missile Defense Systems could help reduce the proliferation of weapons. However, in practice it has been the reverse. Deploying Missile Defense Systems will bring about the following: a. Provoking the main rivals and enemies. Specifically, China and Russia will react to this program. Russia has serious concerns about the continuation of the Missile Defense Program in Western Ural region. B: Provoking countries on the outer circle of main enemies and rivals. For example, at the time being, India is conducting missile defense tests and one can easily imagine that Pakistan will react to such a program. C. Beginning provocation all over again: given US actions in deploying Missile Defense Systems, a significant number of countries will have on their agenda buying military equipment, enhancing their missile power and increasing the manufacture of weapons. D: Proliferation of weapons, a reaction to increased instability: The development of Missile Defense Systems can result in deepening instability in the world order, and can move its actors towards enhancing military capabilities. The deployment of Missile Defense Systems in South Korea has made North Korean leaders feel Insecure and conduct missile tests (10).

Any development in the region can directly impact the security of such regional powers as Russia and China. Therefore, the deployment of THAAD Anti-Missile System in South Korea, while emphasizing that the plan has been implemented in order to resolve a shared issue between the two Koreas, is a completely irresponsible measure. While expressing its grave concerns over Washington’s and Seoul’s actions to transfer parts of the THAAD Missile Defense System to its location in South Korea, China has urged the two countries to give up the decision (11).

Western officials faced a clear threat by Moscow, threatening to conduct a military strike against US military installations in Europe if the impasse in the negotiations about missile defense shields continues. The Russian president has announced that Russia will adopt countermeasures in the event that the US Missile Defense System is deployed in European countries, including the deployment of Alexander’s missiles in the Kaliningrad region in Western Russia and avoidance from destruction of part of its strategic and aggressive stockpiles of weapons. The Russian Armed Forces warned that “Russia’s reaction to the development of the US anti-missile defense system in Europe will not be limited to the deployment of Alexander’s missiles in Kaliningrad or the Baltic Sea. Rather, these missiles will be used to destroy the parts of the defense system.” Given nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers, the Russian government has once again raised the issue that, with this agreement in place, Iran posing a threat to Europe is out of question and that the missile system must be completely abandoned. Moreover, right from the outset, Russia has reiterated that the Missile Defense System in Eastern Europe is not aimed at countering the threat posed by Iran; rather, it has been intended for the purpose of containing Russia’s  strategic power and it still is (12).

Over the recent months, we have witnessed a dispute and a war of words between Russia and the Western world over the United States’ plans to deploy Missile Defense Systems in Eastern Europe, which, according to many experts, can be a warning that the idea of the Cold War could be revived again.

Deployment of Missile Defense Systems and Balance of Power: Investigating Arms Race and Deterrence
Deploying US missile systems around the globe could lead to an arms race the world over. In addition to Russia, Chinese officials also think that the deployment of a Missile Defense System in South Korea will not help with easing current tensions and enhancing peace and stability in the region; rather, it will be disruptive to the strategic security interests of the country. In reaction to this, Russia has not only taken countermeasures, but also it has focused on designing and manufacturing missiles capable of evading the US anti-missile system. In this same vein, Russia’s high-ranking military and political officials have pointed out that, given the significant accomplishments and advances Russia has made in the technology of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and their warheads, the US anti-missile systems in Europe or East Asia, are no longer capable of intercepting Russian missile ballistic missiles or nuclear warheads (13).

Russia’s foreign ministry said that if the missile defense system is approved, “we are not required to give a diplomatic response; rather, we will respond with technical-military tactics. At a joint press conference with the Finnish president, Vladimir Putin indirectly warned NATO, “If someone approaches our territory, it suggests that we should likewise deploy our armed forces in areas where the threats originate. Can it be otherwise? It is the NATO approaching our borders; it is not us going somewhere” (14). The remarks came after New York Times revealed Pentagon’s plans to deploy tanks, armored vehicles for infantries and other heavy military equipment for nearly 5,000 US troops in several countries in Eastern Europe and the Baltic Region. In reaction to the start of the deployment of an advanced system, Beijing has announced that it will strongly defend the country’s security. “We are definitely opposed to the deployment of the THAAD Missile Defense System in South Korea, and we will take the necessary measures to safeguard our security interests,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said. The United States and South Korea will be held accountable for the consequences. We once again strongly urge the two countries to stop the process of the deployment of the Missile Defense System” (15).

The main objective of the United States in setting up Missile Defense Systems is to maintain its dominance and to contain countries that are opposed to its hegemonic policies. This will bring about the intensification of arms race and will create unrest in different parts of the world.

The establishment of Missile Defense Systems by the United States is aimed at maintaining and expanding US unilateralism and dominance. They have stated that the intention behind the deployment of these systems is to deal with the nuclear power of Iran and North Korea. However, needless to say, these actions are a form of confrontation with and control exercised against Russia, as a rival and a traditional enemy. Initially, Americans claimed that their objective in setting up a Missile Defense System was to prevent from Iranian nuclear missiles to reach the West. However, since signing a deal with Iran, the West can no longer use this as a pretext, and now Russia regards the Missile Defense System as the biggest threat, which undermines its deterrent power. US actions in Eastern Europe and Far Asia have intensified the arms race and have created military rivalry. In additions, these militaristic actions bring about insecurity in different regions. China and Russia issued a statement announcing that they would increase their cooperation to deal with THAAD Missile Defense Program in South Korea. Both countries are concerned that, after South Korea, Japan may also be interested in setting up such a system, which can jeopardize the interests of both Beijing and Moscow in the region. This comes at a time when Japanese Defense Minister has left for Guam Island to visit US military facilities, including this same missile system. As China and Russia see things, the situation in the Korean Peninsula is complicated and volatile, and the deployment of THAAD in South Korea will just aggravate the situation (16). These issues, in turn, will create tension in different regions, culminating in the Russian invasion of Georgia.

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