Will US Missile Defense Plans Undercut Russia’s National Security?

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With its commitment to improve missile defense cooperation with Russia, the United States of America today underscored that its missile defense plans will not undercut Russia’s national security.

On her remarks in Moscow during a conference, Special envoy Ellen Tauscher for Special Envoy for Strategic Stability and Missile Defense discussed the views of United States on how cooperation can help establish a new security environment in Europe.

“That cooperation is the key point that I want to emphasize at the start of this speech.” -Ms. Tauscher

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U.S. President Barack Obama with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in 2009.

She stresses that the United States and Russia are working closely together on a range of issues.

Both parties are working together to stop the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and reduce global nuclear stockpiles that includes implementing the New START Treaty, which has been in force for more than a year now.

Both are working together to move materials to and from Afghanistan and also working together on counter-narcotic and counter-terrorism operations.

She reports that the most recent report of the Bilateral Presidential Commission, established by Presidents Obama and Medvedev, highlights what two governments are doing to broaden and deepen their cooperation and to advance their common interests.

“We’re not just working together in the capitals of the world, we’re actually working together at the ends of the world, too.” -Ms. Tauscher

Cooperation on missile defense would also facilitate improved relations between the United States and Russia, she highlighted.

She says it could be a game-changer for those relations and has the potential to enhance the national security of both the United States and Russia, as well as build a genuine strategic partnership.

“It presents an opportunity to put aside the vestiges of Cold War thinking and move away from Mutually Assured Destruction toward Mutually Assured Stability.

-Ms. Tauscher

She underlined that nothing US does with respect to its missile defense plans will undercut Russia’s national security.

“It would not be in our interest to do so, would be expensive and technically extremely difficult.” -Ms. Tauscher

Sharing of sensor data, working on developing common pre-planned responses, conducting a joint analysis of missile defense systems, and working together on missile defense exercises will allow Russia to see how we do missile defense, Ms. Tauscher underlined.

She cites Russia has observed US intercept tests in the past and the invitation to observe a future test still stands.

She stresses that by cooperating with US on missile defense, Russia will be able to see that the European Phased Adaptive Approach is directed against regional threats. Limited regional threats from outside of Europe… not Russia.

She adds that Russia today is in a position of strength that should allow them to explore cooperation.

“Our missile defense systems are not directed against Russia’s sophisticated nuclear deterrent force.” -Ms. Tauscher

The United States does not seek an arms race with Russia. Rather, it seeks cooperation that can help convince you that your national security and strategic stability is not threatened.

“While Russia talks about countermeasures as a hedge against our defensive system, we hope that instead, through cooperation and transparency, Russia will conclude such development is unnecessary. So join us now, in the missile defense tent.” -Ms. Tauscher

She stresses that one of the best ways to build that confidence would be to work with them on NATO-Russia missile defense Centers where they can share sensor data and develop coordinated pre-planned responses and reach agreement on their collective approach to the projected threat.

While both parties undertake this missile defense cooperation, the two governments could do even more to prevent the proliferation of ballistic missile technology, she stressed.

Both countries already cooperate in the Missile Technology Control Regime and in the Proliferation Security Initiative.

Both countries are working together in the UN to counter Iran and North Korea’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles.

However, Ms. Tauscher stated that while both parties can work cooperatively together, the US government cannot agree to the pre-conditions outlined by the Russian Government.

“We are committed to deploying effective missile defenses to protect the U.S. homeland and our Allies and partners around the world from the proliferation of ballistic missiles.” -Ms. Tauscher

She stresses that the US government will not agree to limitations on the capabilities and numbers of its missile defense systems.

She notes the United States cannot agree to a legally binding guarantee with a set of “military-technical criteria,” which would, in effect, limit its ability to develop and deploy future missile defense systems against regional threats such as Iran and North Korea.

The United States cannot accept limitations on where it deploys our Aegis ships, she noted.

The United States and NATO also cannot agree to Russia’s proposal for “sectoral” missile defense, she underlined.

“Just as Russia must ensure the defense of its own territory, NATO must ensure the defense of its own territory.” -Ms. Tauscher

Ms. Tauscher emphasizes that the United States has also been transparent about its missile defense programs.

She notes that Russia is a major global power and European security is central to Russia’s security, as it is to the security of the United States and our European allies.

“Missile defense is the big new idea in European security.” -Ms. Tauscher

The United States seeks genuine cooperation. Our objective is to create lasting cooperation and change outdated thinking. This is too important an opportunity to let it pass by, Ms. Tauscher underlined.

With the relentless efforts of the United States to fight nuclear terrorism, the US government wants and is prepared to cooperate with Russia on missile defense.

US intends to continue negotiations with Moscow on broadening missile defense cooperation with Russia both in diplomatic channels and at the military-to-military level.

Both governments are continuing to discuss a mutually acceptable approach to practical missile defense cooperation.

United States and Russia have been working together to transform mistrust into partnerships and progress as both countries affirmed cooperation in keeping global security after the end of the Cold War.

In an effort to promote understanding and cooperation on missile defense issues, Presidents Obama and Medvedev agreed at the July 2009 Moscow Summit to conduct joint assessments of missile challenges and threats, which we now refer to as the Joint Threat Assessment, or JTA, for short.

The objective of these talks has been, at a minimum, to share with one another our respective threat perspectives and, if possible, to come to agreement on the nature of the common threats that both countries face. Both Governments have held three JTA sessions, in July and December 2009, and again in May 2010.

The United States has offered a number of proposals for bilateral missile defense cooperation. Specific areas of potential cooperation include, among other things:

Joint research and development; Joint missile defense testing; Joint modeling and simulations; Missile defense exercises; and Joint analyses of alternative U.S.-Russian missile defense architectures for defending against common, regional threats.

These recent proposals build on earlier initiatives that involved sharing missile warning data and providing timely launch notifications between our two countries.

Mina Fabulous follows the news, especially what is going on in the US State Department. Mina turns State Department waffle into plain English. Mina Fabulous is the pen name of Carmen Avalino, the NewsBlaze production editor. When she isn’t preparing stories for NewsBlaze writers, she writes stories, but to separate her editing and writing identities, she uses the name given by her family and friends.