McNamara and Spring on Post-Summit Missile Defense
The Heritage Foundation’s Sally McNamara and Baker Spring wrote about NATO’s summit, held last weekend in Lisbon, and what must happen with missile defense in light of the newly adopted Strategic Concept and Russia’s agreement to cooperate on missile defense. An excerpt from their web memo:
“The new Strategic Concept adopted by NATO at the Lisbon summit this weekend stated: ‘The greatest responsibility of the Alliance is to protect and defend our territory and our populations against attack, as set out in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.’ Accordingly, NATO has declared missile defense a core competency of the alliance. The 2010 Strategic Concept states that the Alliance will ‘develop the capability to defend our populations and territories against ballistic missile attack as a core element of our collective defence, which contributes to the indivisible security of the Alliance.’
“The development of a transatlantic-wide missile defense architecture will produce an effective defensive strategic posture for the alliance and marks a welcome step forward in terms of addressing the security challenges presented by the post–Cold War world. History will view it as a major milestone in moving the West away from the Cold War policy of maintaining deterrence primarily by the threat of nuclear retaliation for any strategic attack on members of the alliance and toward a policy putting in place defenses to protect its population and territory against such attack.”
With the post-Cold War threat of rogue states like Iran and North Korea, protecting allies is more important than ever. Expanding missile defense in Europe is vital, and McNamara and Baker contend that NATO should honor its June 2011 deadline to implement the plan.
The authors also contend that the former Soviet Union’s contradicts itself by agreeing to cooperate with NATO in expanding missile defense in Europe, while at the same time asserting that START limits U.S. missile defense and “by extension, NATO missile defense options. Russia has threatened to withdraw from START if the U.S. strengthens missile defense in Europe. Since the U.S. is part of NATO, and NATO approved a plan to expand missile defense, will Russia withdraw from START?
“If the Russian pledge to cooperate with the West in the area of missile defense is to have real meaning, the Russians will have to issue three policy statements in addition to accepting the programmatic guidelines listed above:
“1. That Russia no longer sees the development and deployment of robust missile defense capabilities as undermining the strategic balance and believes that moving toward defensive strategic postures will enhance stability in the post–Cold War world;
“2. That Russia accepts the fact that fielding missile defenses capable of countering missiles that are in the hands of third states both now and in the future will necessarily have some capability to counter Russian missiles; and
“3. That Russia understands that the new NATO missile defense policy is a legitimate part of the alliance’s inherent right to collective self-defense and not a threat to Russia.”