For Russia, “Open Discussion” Means Divide and Conquer

Michaela Dodge /

While Russia gives the illusion of looking for missile defense cooperation, it has waged a full-scale campaign against U.S. missile defenses.

Dmitry Rogozin, special representative of the president of the Russian Federation for interaction with NATO in missile defense, recently stated that Moscow has been working to bring the issue of the European missile shield to a “broad open discussion.” Rogozin’s comments followed a meeting with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store.

Consider another statement by Rogozin: “It is obvious that the missile shield planned to be established on the continent is nothing else but a part of the U.S. military complex, which they want to place in Europe and pay for with European money.” This is false for several reasons.

First, the European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), President Obama’s missile defense plan, is defensive in nature. It is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles regardless of the launch point. Should the United States sacrifice its forward-deployed troops and allies just because the launch location happens to be in Russia?

Second, the EPAA is primarily concerned with the defense of U.S. allies and will not protect the U.S. homeland until 2020, provided that the plan proceeds on schedule.

Third, most costs related to the development and deployment of missile defense capabilities will be covered by the United States. According to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen’s plan to expand transatlantic missile defense to U.S. allies in Europe, allies should contribute about €200 million ($279 million) over 10 years as well as some national assets.

Rogozin is employing divide-and-conquer tactics, implying that Norway still hasn’t decided on the EPAA. Norway, however, signed on to NATO’s 2010 Strategic Concept, which declares missile defense NATO’s core competency. All members of NATO endorsed the Strategic Concept. It is therefore correct to assume that missile defense has strong support among NATO member states.

The threat is real, as more than 30 countries possess ballistic missile capabilities. Some of these countries, especially North Korea and Iran, are openly hostile to U.S. interests. North Korean missiles can reach Hawaii and Alaska. Iranian missiles can reach Turkey and southeastern Europe. The United States and its allies must proceed with expanding and deploying missile defense plans regardless of Russian objections.