German FM: U.S. anti-missile defense plan could split Europe
BERLIN, March 17 (Xinhua) -- Germany on Saturday cautioned the European countries against the danger of a split by Washington's plan to locate parts of an anti-missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, which has sparked debates in Europe.
Europe should not allow divisions during the debates about the U.S. missile defense system, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said in an article to be published in the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
Security in Europe is the common concern of all European countries, and the Europeans should rely more on their own strength for European security on condition that the transatlantic military alliance not be compromised, he said.
"Our top priority remains disarmament and not rearmament. We don't want a new arms race in Europe," Steinmeier was quoted by local media as saying.
The minister said the issue should be discussed within the framework of NATO.
The United States and Russia should avoid the "old reflexes" of the Cold War, he said, adding that Washington should not trigger mistrust and a new insecurity in Europe, even though it says the planned deployment of the anti-missile shield in Europe is to counter a threat from Iran.
"A missile defense system should be neither a cause or a pretext for a new arms race," Steinmeier said.
On Jan. 20, Washington proposed to start negotiations on the deployment of a radar center of its National Missile Defense (NMD) system in the Czech Republic and interceptor rockets in Poland, and the two countries agreed to the talks.
Washington said the missile defense system is not targeted at Russia. However, the plan has drawn sharp criticism from Moscow.
Over half of the populations in both Poland and the Czech Republic are opposed to the plan.
My initial reaction to this is not positive. The obvious problem is that the United States has interests and concerns that may not be shared by the EU as an entirety. However, the pledge in Nato, is that an attack against one is an attack against all. There are three nuclear powers in Nato, the US, France and the UK. Any military conflict that involves any of those members could go nuclear.
In order for the US to fulfill its obligations it may have to intervene in the support of any of the Nato members which include Turkey and countries through and including the center and northern Europe.
Any military conflict may involve exposing the US to possible nuclear missile attack. Not likely, but possible. The Germans have to understand that.
Steinmeier said,"Our top priority remains disarmament and not rearmament. We don't want a new arms race in Europe." The top priority should be the common defense of Europe, not adding to or reducing arms. If Germany wishes to equate the US and Russian defense posture, then Germany needs to consider its participation in Nato. It may very well require the US to do likewise.
It may very well be time for the US to consider all our military committments, some of which are non-sensible. Certainly the treaty with Taiwan is up there, but in this day and age, the Nato alliance and others should be reviewed.