NATO, Russia Discuss U.S. European Missile System
by Emily Harris
All Things Considered, April 19, 2007 · Russia and the members of NATO are meeting in Brussels today to discuss a number of issues, most particularly U.S. plans to install elements of its missile defense system in Europe. The United States is currently talking with Poland and the Czech Republic about installing elements of the system in those two countries.
U.S. officials say the system is needed to defend against attack from so-called rogue states like Iran. But up till now, the plans have met with skepticism from some European allies, and hostility from Russia. Much of the opposition in Europe to the missile defense plans have come from elected members of parliaments.
Russia’s ambassador to NATO says he feels a real dialog has finally started with the United States on missile defense – and he says Moscow likes that much better than merely being told what Washington is doing.
But going into today’s meeting, Konstantin Totskiy said Moscow still believes the United States’ plans for placing new radar stations in the Czech Republic and unarmed interceptor missiles in Poland changes the post-Cold War stability between Russia and the West.
After the session, Totskiy added that Russia believes the U.S. site could in the future expand beyond the 10 unarmed interceptors planned for now. He also said Moscow and Washington disagree over the best place to put missile interceptors in Europe – and that Russia doubts any nation, including Iran, would soon be a real threat to NATO.