Rebeccah Heinrichs, an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a missile defense expert, wrote a blog post at Big Peace about stopping ratification of the new START. An excerpt:
“Two weeks ago U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his Russian counterpart, Anatoly Serdyukov, cruised down the Potomac River on a U.S. Navy barge. Gates’ goal: find common ground on issues critically important to free nations such as preventing Iran from ‘nuking up’ and cooperating on building a defensive system to protect innocent people from terrorists’ missiles. They failed to find common ground and two days later it was reported that Russia, defying the U.S. and Israel, is selling sophisticated anti-ship missiles to Syria, the country famous for arming the terrorist group Hezbollah.These missiles will give Syria the ability to threaten ships in the Mediterranean Sea. Currently there are Israeli Navy ships in the Med and within the next several years the Obama administration plans to deploy U.S. Navy ships with ballistic missile defense capabilities to the Med to defend against longer range missiles.
“Russian officials opposed Bush Administration plans to deploy missile defense in Europe and now oppose Obama’s more modest, phased approach to deploy short and medium defenses in Europe over the next several years and eventually defenses for the U.S. by 2020.
“Gates’ goals of finding common ground with Serdyukov on squeezing Iran and defending against missiles are inseparable. Iran already has missiles capable of reaching Europe and the intelligence community says they’ll be able to hit the U.S. in five years. This means U.S. troops and allies in Europe are already at risk. If the mullahs in Iran successfully marry a nuclear weapon to those missiles, not only would Iran dramatically increase their ability to coerce the U.S. and our allies, they could also sell the technology to other dangerous countries or non-state actors. Missile defense cooperation between the U.S. and our allies is essential to global security.
“Just this month NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO needs to improve their very limited missile defense system. ‘If Iran eventually acquires a nuclear capability that will be very dangerous, and a direct threat to the allies. That is the reason why I am now proposing a new and effective NATO missile defense system.’
“Despite this shared threat, in February Russia’s ambassador to NATO Dmitry Rogozin lambasted U.S. plans to deploy missile defense systems in Europe.”