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Czechs Must Learn to Love the Bomb Again
[Opinion] Missile defense scheme revives memories of Cold War
Michael Werbowski (minou)     Print Article 
Published 2007-01-22 16:24 (KST)   
Barely a week has passed since the doomsday clock was forwarded two minutes to five before midnight. Henry Kissinger the architect of Detente and one of the sages who drafted the SALT treaty to limit the nuclear arsenal of the two superpowers, spoke out against nuclear rearmament.

Yet no one in the White House or the Pentagon is listening to him it seems.

It is becoming apparent to all that we are heading closer towards Nuclear Armageddon. The manufacturers of missiles at Raytheon may not mind but the rest of us anxious Earth dwellers do. And now a renewed Cold War is in the making with the announced plans to build a U.S. made and run missile defense system in Europe.

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Once again former Warsaw pact countries, now firmly ensconced within Washington's overprotective embrace, are on the front lines of a potential nuclear confrontation between East and West.

With or without nukes? That is the question

The price tag of this elaborate defense shield is US$600-700 million dollars. A trifling pittance really if compared to the Pentagon's overall defense budget. And despite the gargantuan budget deficit in America and the astronomical costs of arms spending, Washington's war chest seems to be magically full. As for their allies, the Czechs, according to polls, they are overwhelmingly opposed to playing pawns -- as they did during the Cold War -- in these 21st-century war games. The once "proud" Poles on the other hand, bent to the will of Washington like a Russian serf to his Boyar, must again be as they were during the old Cold War, forced by their "new protector" to allow the new missile bases on their territory.

Whether these bases will also store nuclear weapons is a big unknown for now. Nevertheless, after sitting on the sidelines for over a decade the Poles and Czechs are going to have to learn to love the bomb again.

A resurgent Russia's icy growl is nothing to be sneezed at

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia has seen its near abroad drift away into the West's sphere of influence. Central European states joined NATO in 1999 (Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary) and the Baltic States followed afterwards in 2004.

Georgia and Ukraine are next in line to join the NATO gang it seems. A security threshold has already been crossed.

Furthermore, by revving up the American war machine in Central Europe, Russia is bound to see its regional interest further undermined. How will the nuclear state respond to the U.S.'s drive to restart the arms race in its "old neighborhood"?

Moscow in view of the NATO noose continuing to tighten around it, will most likely not stand idle in the face of this emerging "strategic threat" in the "new" Europe. Russia may counteract this tilt, re-balancing the scales of military might by means of increasing defense and strategic cooperation with China. This move might offset some of the growing pressure on its Western front while transferring tensions to the Far East and the Sea of Japan.

Or Russia could make life miserable for Europeans, including Czech and the Poles by withholding energy supplies in the form of gas delivery, as we have already seen. Whatever the method may be to the madness of rearming Europe's newest NATO members, some chillier times can be expected in Europe as the doomsday clock ticks faster and louder and closer to midnight.
©2007 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Michael Werbowski

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