Lord Robertson On the "Son of Star Wars"
mstainsby at SPAMtao.ca
Wed Jun 14 20:20:13 MDT 2000
My god, this little toad is such a little fascistic minded demon.
That's my little rant before this big one. Apologies for all the typos, it
was received this way.
To Louis and Russel:
Note the topic of next weeks show following the interview.
Forwarded from Bill Howard...
STOP NATO: NO PASARAN! - HTTP://WWW.STOPNATO.COM
Welcome back, with me the Secretary General of NATO, Lord Robertson. The
United States seems determined to build a shield against so called rogue
nuclear powers, a nuclear shield. Is that a good idea?
Well the Amercians think it is and they've got some reason to think that it
is the proliferation of ballistic missiles now is becoming a source of
concern for everyone, indeed the Russians agreed with President Clinton that
there was now a risk involved in this area, it's a very different world to
1972 when the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was actually framed. The
Americans believe that they can install a limited shield against the small
number of missiles that might be fired by rogue states who are not deterred
in the traditional way, or against accidental firings and they are at the
moment looking if whether that is feasible, whether it is cost effective,
whether the threat is right.
Which are these, which are these rogue threats, rogue states?
Well the States that are close to continental United States include North
Korea, but obviously we already know that Sadam Hussain had ambitions to
have nuclear weapons and with the proliferation now of ballistic missiles
then they might well, he might well be in a position to have it at some time
in the future.
So some limited shield, a limited shield is what the Amercians are talking
about just now, but they're engaged in discussion, a dialogue, maybe even a
negotiation with the Russians because the ABM Treaty was bi-lateral treaty
And of course that would have to be abrogated if a defense of shields of
this kind was.
No, no it wouldn't. no.
Well it would have to be torn up because it's .?
The ABM Treaty can be amended by mutual agreement, it has already.
Ah, by mutual agreement. Okay.
Well that is what President Clinton has made it absolutely clear he wants,
that is an amendment to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty that would allow
for this limited shield which would not in any way challenge the Russian
capability and ballistic missiles, but which would simply have it's effect
in making sure that the Continental United States was safe from the
potential rogue states.
But President Putin has made it very clear that he is dismayed by this
proposal, he suggests a Russian NATO anti-missile defense system for Europe.
Are you on side for that?
Well Marshall Sergejev the Russian Defense Minister came to Brussels on
Friday to the meeting of the Nato Russia Permanent Joint Council and he
floated the idea of some new form of anti-missile cover.
Do you have an open mind about that yourself?
Well I have to have, because we don't know the details of it yet, and
Marshall Sergejev and I agreed that they had not put the details on the
table, some very searching questions were put to Marshall Sergejev which in
the time available on Friday he could not answer.
So you haven't, you don't want to look at that?
Well we don't, it's going to be looked at in the context of this body we
have, the permanent joint council between NATO and Russia and we'll see what
it is they are proposing and whether it is actually feasible, affordable or
makes any sense at the present time. Some of the outlines at the present
moment suggest that it hasn't been thought through carefully enough and that
it might actually involve some vast expenditure in order to achieve what it
says it is, and that is to knock out these rogue missiles. They are
conceding that there is a problem but it is designed not to hit them in
space, but to hit them as they launch, now that's a big, it would appear to
me to be a pretty big technical ambition to have.
But we haven't had the details.
So, you haven't ruled it out but you are dubious about it?
Well we want to know what it's about. I think it's quite legitimate to ask
questions about and we will see.
But the US Defence Secretary has gone much further than you already, he's
said it's an idea that does not appear to be feasible or desirable for
protecting us against the threats that are emerging... and whatever the idea
may be --and he expresses the same doubts about whether it can work and what
it invoves - it could not be a substitute for the American programme that's
currently under Research & Development. Now, if they're going ahead with
that, can I put. which you. which you know they are going ahead with that
research and very likely it will go ahead into a programme - can you imagine
circumstances under which the British public would accept providing the
nuclear facilities required to make the American shield possible without
Britain, the UK itself, being protected by that shield?
Well, the UK at the moment is not threatened in the same way as the United
States is by the likes. the likes of North Korea, which has. we, we know has
got the capability at the present moment. Secondly.
Well, hang on. hang on. one point, just on that one point. just on that one
point, George, on that one point - Iraq you identified as a rogue state,
Iraq is much closer to Britain than it is to the United States. if Iraq can'
t penetrate the American shield, and if that American shield is in place
partly because what there is at Fylingdale's or around in the UK. and if
Saddam Hussein is the rogue that does these kind of things in this Dr
Strangelove way. he's going to target Britain, isn't he?
Well, no, I think it's highly unlikely that he's going to target Britain,
because none of the ballistic missiles that have yet been invented at that.
at that scale are going to reach the United Kingdom. But the. the general
principle is at the moment the Americans have...
But hold on, just on that one point.
Sorry, just on that one point, I. I'm not going to stop you saying what you
want to say in general, but on that one point: if Britain is part of
providing the shield.
Well, it isn't in the first stages.
Then you. which you would have to be to make the shield effective.
No, not in the first instance, no, it wouldn't be.
But down the road it is envisaged that Britain's nuclear facilities,
particularly the Fylingdales etcetera would be developed in ways to make
that shield effective. If that is the case, one way that Iraq gets at the
United States is by targeting those facilities in Britain, surely? And
therefore, I put the question to you again, can you imagine the British
public accepting that prospect without saying, "You have got to deliver for
us the nuclear shield as well" - not, "It would be interesting to have it",
but "We've got to have it or we won't have your facilities here" ?
Well, you're a way down, a long way down the road, quite frankly, from the
situation that we're talking about at the present moment. And that's
But it is down the road?
Well. but it's precisely why the Americans have been talking with the
Europeans about the prospect that if national missile defence is employed in
the United States - and it is still an if, they have not made the decision
about it, the President has not made the decision about it.
How much do you bet that he. how much would you bet he doesn't go ahead? It'
s election year, the Republican leadership are asking for an even bigger
Star Wars-like operation. are you really saying that he might say, "No, we
won't go ahead with it" ?
Well. well, that's the. the President has made it absolutely clear that he
has not made a decision and that as criterion. the criteria he laid down,
first of all an assessment of the threat, secondly a question about the
efficacy of the system... and there's a further test to come up, because it
has not yet been proven. the third one is the affordability of the system
and the. the fourth criterion is the overall net gain to security by
deploying the. the. the national missile defence. So, the President has made
it absolutely clear he will listen to the views of the allies and intensive
consultation and discussion is going on, not just with the Russians but with
the. the NATO allies.
Does it. does it have to be. ?
You keep asking questions, Jonathan.
Oh, that's my job.
Well, I know. but, but my job is to answer.
But you've been answering very interestingly and just.
You won't let me finish the question.
And just one more thing. are you saying it has to be one for all and all for
one in NATO, in respect of this shield or not?
Well, we are consulting inside it about what the Americans are saying is the
first component part of a national missile defence, which is a very limited
facility that would allow the Americans to knock out a small number of
incoming missiles, but which in no way would question the. the totality of
the armoury of the. of the Russians or of the Americans. and it's something
that is limited to. to rogue firings or accidental firings of. of. of
missiles. And you can see why that is very, very attractive inside the
United States at the moment.
Okay. And your general point that you wanted to make was what?
Well, that we're a long way down the. the road.
. from discussing a lot of these things. And at the moment it is a matter
for the Americans and for the Russians, perhaps to come to an agreement
about amending the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty as it has been amended in
the past, to make it more relevant to the present situation - and Mr Putin
has not said no. Mr Putin is engaged in the discussions and if you read
carefully the agreement that was reached between President Clinton and
President Putin last year you see a common concern about the terms and a
common concern about the prospects for the proliferation of these kinds of
Of course, that suggests that if you don't get Putin's agreement, then you
will get arms treaties unilaterally torn up or the Americans won't go ahead?
Well the anti-ballistic missile truly provides for an ABM system, an
anti-missile system to be deployed and the United States - and one to be
deployed in Russia. Russia has got its system at the present moment, America
has chosen not to even have one of these anti-missiles shields at the
present moment. So we're quite a bit away from this and inside the alliance
a sober, grown up analysis has taken place at the present moment and a
serious discussion is taking place between the Americans and the Russians.
So I hope that a sensible solution will be the outcome.
Meanwhile, we've only got a few moments left I'm afraid, you're doing the
rounds as Secretary General, NATO, urging European Governments to spend more
on defence. If they don't, what?
Well if they don't spend wisely and spend enough then we'll be left with
anti capabilities which frankly will simply be a deceptive comfort blanket
for the kind of risks and problems that we're all going to face in the
future. If we don't build relevant capabilities, not for yesterday's enemies
but for tomorrow's threats then we will leave the people that we represent
under-protected and the safety that people have grown used to over the years
simply won't be there so, spending smartly and spending enough is a real
Not a popular message is it? Cut spending on health, education, transport or
alternatively increase taxes in order to get the defence spending that you
say is needed?
Well what value is your health service or your education system if your
country is not safe, if you are not able to deal with the trouble spots in
the world which eventually come home to us. The conflict in the Balkans
spilled over, not just into neighbouring countries, but right over into this
country as well. The tide of asylum seekers that we see at the present
moment has a lot to do with instability in other parts of the world. I think
in Britain we should be very proud of the forces who went out and got
stability to Sierra Leone, out of the chaos that was there. Now if we're
going to make that sort of contribution to making the world safer then we've
got to have the right capabilities, we've got to have modern armed forces.
Out of date armed forces are a waste of money and a deceptive comfort
So in the case of the United Kingdom which is part of this debate your
message to Gordon Brown is give the money to the Secretary of State, to
defence that he wants and at the very least don't cut it?
Well that is my message to all finance ministers including Gordon Brown that
we've got to make that investment for future generations because if we don't
they won't be safe and frankly that is a major priority. So right across
Europe where Governments are actually increasing their defence budget and
not cutting defence budgets, where we're now facing up to the Europeans
carrying a bigger and a better burden inside the alliance then we cannot
afford to cut back on defence. You can't get defence on the cheap and the
first thing to do is to re-organise and re-shape and modernise armed forces
and that is in many ways what we did in this country. But then you've got to
make sure you're spending enough, that's the only way to guarantee real
safety for the future.
Lord Robertson thank you very much for being with us today.
Next Sunday we'll be back in London and with our studio audience again and
the issue at stake, the future of Fox Hunting. If you would like to join
that debate then here's the number to ring 020 7261 3781.
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