U.S. 'Missile Shield' plan alarms world

Greg Butterfield theredguard at SPAMexcite.com
Thu Jun 8 11:35:18 MDT 2000


-------------------------
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the June 15, 2000
issue of Workers World newspaper
-------------------------

FROM ASIA TO EUROPE: U.S. "MISSILE SHIELD" PLAN ALARMS
WORLD

By Fred Goldstein

President Bill Clinton's latest tour of Western Europe,
Russia and the Ukraine has ended in a fiasco. He was there
as a sales rep for the Pentagon and the military-industrial
complex to peddle the so-called "missile shield." But no
one was buying.

Not that he was actually going to sell the system to
Europe or Russia. On the contrary. The U.S. wants the
exclusive right to deploy a complex, high-tech, anti-
missile system that would increase Washington's military
dominance over both its European imperialist rivals and the
Russian counterrevolutionary bourgeoisie--while raising a
significant threat to the People's Republic of China.

Such is the arrogance of U.S. imperialism that it is
trying to strong-arm its adversaries into giving
"permission" for its military domination over the world.

At issue is the deployment of a misnamed National Missile
Defense (NMD) system. This system would be composed of
ground-based, advanced radar stations, satellite-based
sensors and a battery of anywhere from 100 to 250 missile
interceptors. The interceptors would be placed in Alaska
and the radar stations would be dispersed all over, from
Greenland to Asia.

According to the Congressional Office of the Budget, the
system would cost $60 billion by the time it is scheduled
to be deployed-the first 25 interceptors in the year 2005
and up to 100 by the year 2007. This is not counting cost
overruns.

NOT `DEFENSE' BUT FIRST STRIKE

This system is deliberately misnamed as a "defense" system
to conceal its aggressive nature. A functional anti-missile
system is fundamentally a first-strike weapon. It frees up
the U.S. to make an attack on a country, nuclear or
conventional, and without fear of retaliation.

The Pentagon, the State Department and the White House
have tried to sell the system based on creating a hysteria
against so-called "rogue states," principally the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea and also Iraq and
Iran. They base much of this hysteria on the fact that the
DPRK launched a missile over Japan in 1998 to send up a
satellite.

"Rogue state" is an inflammatory label invented by the U.S.
government that really applies to themselves. If there is
any "rogue state," a state that sets itself apart by its
unmitigated viciousness and isolationist disregard for the
rest of the 180-plus states in the world, it is the U.S.
government. This is the government that unleashed on the
world the horror of nuclear arms. It is the only government
in the world that ever used nuclear weapons. And it is the
one government that makes nuclear terror the fundamental
basis of its military strategy. Most recently, it is
drenched in the blood of the Yugoslav and Iraqi people. Its
crimes are too numerous to list. It is truly a "rogue
state" that has pitted itself against the entire world.

In fact, the NMD system is an extreme danger to the DPRK.
The idea that the DPRK would launch an unprovoked attack on
the U.S. is too ludicrous to even contemplate. But it takes
little imagination to envision the U.S. and its puppets in
south Korea, with 37,000 U.S. troops on the ground and
close to 1,000 nuclear weapons in the area, provoking a
military conflict to overthrow the socialist government in
Pyongyang.

The NMD system is designed precisely to eliminate any
potential nuclear deterrent, either by the DPRK or the
People's Republic of China, to such an act of aggression by
U.S. imperialism. The same military reasoning applies to
Iraq or Iran, both of which have been attacked by the U.S.

In fact, an anti-missile system has long been regarded as
such a dangerous military development that such systems
were strictly forbidden by the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile
agreement between the U.S. and the USSR. But with the
destruction of the USSR, and the advent of the decadent,
counter-revolutionary regime in Russia, which has
bankrupted the country and allowed its military
establishment to deteriorate, the relationship of military
force has changed drastically in favor of Washington. And
now the Pentagon is pushing to tear up this form of
restraint upon its aggressive designs.

EUROPEAN RIVALS OPPOSED TO NMD

Such dangerous developments have caused consternation
among the European imperialist "allies." According to the
New York Times of June 2, "German Chancellor Gerhard
Schroeder warned President Clinton . that Europeans fear
that plans for a U.S. missile defense system could set off
a new arms race and provoke fresh instability in Russia."

During a 90-minute meeting, originally supposed to last
only 20 minutes, "the two leaders verbally dueled over the
dangers and protections they foresee if the U.S. launches
its reinvention of the 1980s `Star Wars,' " continued the
Times article. " `We have to be very careful that any such
project does not re-trigger the process of a renewed arms
race,' Schroeder told journalists after the talks."

Schroeder was expressing the dismay of the European ruling
class with this new attempt by Washington to exert absolute
world dominance. The European imperialists were recently
humiliated by the exercise of U.S. military domination in
NATO's war of aggression against Yugoslavia. They are just
now trying to develop their own 60,000-troop rapid
deployment force and the military capability behind it to
exert some semblance of military independence from the
Pentagon.

Now they are confronted with the hopeless choice of
falling further behind Washington or engaging in an
expensive new technological arms race which the U.S. is
bound to win.

CLINTON IN MOSCOW

Things did not go any better for Clinton in Moscow. The
Putin regime was adamant. "The Cold War may be over," wrote
the Dow Jones Newswire on June 5, "but there was a distinct
chill in the summer air in Moscow Sunday when U.S.
President Bill Clinton wound up a summit with Russian
President Vladimir Putin with no major agreements, no use
of first names and no smiles."

Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbot said that
"President Putin made it absolutely clear to President
Clinton that Russia continues to oppose changes in the ABM
treaty that the United States has proposed since last
September." He added, according to Dow Jones, that "Russia
believes that NMD will undermine strategic stability,
threaten Russia's strategic deterrent, and provoke a new
arms race."

Clinton tried to sell the missile interceptor system to
Putin on the grounds that it could only shoot down a small
number of missiles and therefore could "only" be directed
against states with small numbers of missiles, such as the
DPRK or China. But Putin did not buy the argument that
Washington would limit itself. Nor do the Russian
capitalists necessarily look forward to the U.S.
establishing further dominance in Asia.

Whether Putin was putting on a public display of hostility
for the sake of political appearances to distance himself
from Yeltsin's consistently humiliating policy of
capitulation to the White House, the Pentagon and the IMF,
only time will tell. Both sides tried to paper over the
impasse with side agreements on the destruction of
plutonium stockpiles and a joint early-warning monitoring
system. But for the moment, Clinton hit a stone wall.

CHINA WARNS OF GLOBAL ARMS RACE

What has received less publicity, but which is in the
short run the most important consequence of the deployment,
is its affect on the PRC. Early last month China's chief
arms negotiator, Sha Zukang, had an interview with the New
York Times declaring the missile shield to be "an
unacceptable threat to China's security." (New York Times,
May 11)

The NMD "would leave China dangerously vulnerable to
bullying or attack, said Mr. Sha, the Foreign Ministry's
director general for arms control. If that appears likely,
`We won't sit on our hands.' The American proposal, he
said, would spark a new global arms race and possibly what
he called a `nightmare scenario' of weapons proliferation."

The Times article pointed out that "Since the 1960s
[China] has avoided trying to match American and Soviet
arsenals, instead keeping a small number of missiles as a
minimal deterrent, able to retaliate in the event of an
attack.

" `To defeat your defenses we'll have to spend a lot of
money, and we don't want to do this,' Mr. Sha said, adding
that China's greater priority is economic development. `But
otherwise, the United States will feel it can attack anyone
at any time, and that isn't tolerable,' " reported the
Times.

Despite all the maneuvering and diplomatic dancing between
Wall Street and the government of the PRC over trade, the
fundamental hostility of U.S. imperialism towards the
socialist government of China is expressed in this
escalating military pressure. And it was exerted at the
very moment that Congress was voting for Permanent Normal
Trade Relations with China.

`FULL COURT PRESS' AGAINST CHINA

The PRC is no doubt aware of the Pentagon's Asia strategy,
alluded to in an article in the Washington Post of May 26.
"When Pentagon officials first sat down last year to update
the core planning document of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
they listed China as a potential future adversary, a
momentous change from the Cold War," wrote the Post.

"When the final version of the document, titled `Joint
Vision 2020,' is released next week," continued the Post,
"it will be far more discreet. Rather than explicitly
pointing at China, it simply will warn of the possible rise
of an unidentified `peer competitor.' "

In fact, the new push for a missile system directed at
China and the DPRK is a strategy directly taken from the
Cold War. In addition to the military threat, it is an
attempt to undermine socialist construction by diverting
vast financial and intellectual resources to military
spending.

It was Reagan's $2-trillion "full court press" of military
spending that did a great deal to undermine the morale of
the USSR and bring to the fore the most reactionary
elements, headed by Mikhail Gorbachev, who wanted to make a
complete accommodation with imperialism. This helped set
the stage to go from accommodation to counter-revolution.
The NMD is a full military, economic and political strategy
of the most aggressive character.

This U.S. offensive against Asia, Russia, Europe and the
rest of the world must be opposed by the masses of workers
and oppressed people at home. The consequences of the
Pentagon's quest for world domination are intensified
hardship at home. The tens of billions in new military
appropriations will not come out of the vaults of the rich
but from the pockets of the masses of people. This will be
expressed in less spending on education, housing, medical
care, childcare and all social services.

It will result in another huge transfer of wealth from the
working class to the military-industrial complex. Some $60
billion has already been spent on research since Reagan
first announced the plan, called the Strategic Defense
Initiative at that time. Now the major players--Lockheed
Martin, Boeing, Raytheon and TRW Inc., together with
Northrup Grumman and thousands of subcontractors across the
country--are waiting to gather in the contracts.

HESITATIONS IN THE RULING CLASS

There are hesitations in the ruling class over whether
this system can really work. There are other hesitations
over whether it is better to spend the money on other, more
immediately desired means of aggression. There is
vacillation in the ruling class over whether the whole
endeavor is worth the risk of political destabilization.

Clinton has said he will make a decision by November, but
there is strong pressure in some sections of the ruling
class to hold off on the decision for the moment. Such a
momentous step inevitably produces conflict among the
bosses.

But the long-term prospect for stopping the development of
this new phase of militarism on a truly progressive basis
lies in the mass movement. All movement activists and
organizations of the workers and the oppressed, from the
unions to the community, need to get together in an anti-
militarist front and say no to the Pentagon.

                         - END -

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