Talks of US THAAD installation in Germany raise prospects of European security militarization

Europe is facing a security dilemma whereby it needs to accept and even ask for American weapons so as to deter Mr Putin's intention to use aggressive foreign policy as a means to strengthen the standing of his corrupt and inefficient regime at home, while at the same time it needs Russia's cooperation in a number of spheres.

On 1 June, Reuters reported that the US military has conducted talks with Berlin about the possibility to deploy on German territory the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile defence system, although, in accordance with the existing basing contracts, Washington does not need Germany's permission for this. The initiative is said will act as a reassurance for European allies that the US is serious about protecting them, however, it could also deepen the mutual fear and distrust between Russia and the countries in the West, and add to the growing military buildup already underway from both sides in Europe, which in its turn increases the risk of a war.

 

President's Putin has frequently stated that the anti-ballistic missile Shield in Europe represent a threat to Russia's security, as his thesis is that these shields have a nuclear-deterrence capacity which upsets the strategic power balance in Europe

 

So far, it hasn't been explicitly said whose ballistic missile capabilities would the THAAD deter, but the initiative to install anti-ballistic missile shields in European countries like Poland and Romania has generally been linked  with the threat perceived as coming from Iranian missile program, which is also one of US President's Trump stated reasons for the JPCOA withdrawal. Russia however, is saying that these shields are a threat to its national security. President's Putin frequently stated reason behind this conclusion is that the nuclear-deterrence capacity of these shields can upset the strategic power balance in Europe. President Putin has gone even further by saying that, for example, the Aegis Ashore anti-ballistic missile shield stationed in Romania could be converted into an offensive weapon system. Putin's 1 March presentation of Russia's new generation nuclear-capable weapons was clearly intended to assert Russia's readiness for escalation.

 

A potential THAAD deployment in Germany could be used by Putin as nationalist ammunition in order to persuade the Russian public opinion of the need to support his revisionist policy and to justify ipso facto the occupation of land in Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine.

 

US General Curtis Scaparotti, head of US European Command who has last week called for more American troops and equipment to be deployed in Europe to deter Russia, said that Germany didn't object to a possible THAAD deployment. Such an escalation along with Poland's recent call for a massive permanent US military presence on its territory could erect further barriers to President's Putin revisionist foreign policy in Europe. But the Russian president could also explain this situation to the Russian people in the light of his theory that Russia is being encircled by a US-led Western coalition. He could also use it as further nationalist ammunition in order to persuade the Russian public opinion of the need to support his revisionist policy and to justify ipso facto the occupation of land in Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine.

Escalation of military build-up in Europe has been increasingly gaining pace after the Russian aggression against Ukraine started in 2014. So far, President Putin didn't show any intention to yield to pressure, this being illustrated by Russia's own stationing of troops in Belarus, the permanent deployment of Iskander missile in the Kaliningrad exclave, its' regularly conducted wargames on a massive scale, and the aggressive bragging of its new capabilities of mass destruction. The build-up in Europe is further illustrated by the fact that even traditionally peaceful and non-aligned Sweden and Finland are being pressured by this increasingly hostile environment to pick a side. However, as military instruments seem to acquire an increasingly central and expanded role in the international politics of the Euro-Atlantic area, instruments and formats of dialogue and cooperation (such as the NATO-Russia Council) are becoming gradually abandoned and their importance is reduced. This is generating a situation unfavourable to peace and security in Europe, and a security dilemma where Europe needs to accept and even ask for American weapons so as to deter Mr Putin's intention to use aggressive foreign policy as a means to strengthen the standing of his corrupt and inefficient regime at home, while at the same time it needs Russia's cooperation in different other spheres, something emphasized by both the European Commission, and by Germany. Still, regardless of his reasons, Putin is right about one thing: the deployment of such American weapons in Europe would, in fact, put the host-countries in the crosshairs of Russian weapons capable of mass destruction. This is a worrying perspective for the EU which not only provides shelter and gives a chance to people fleeing war and poverty in different parts of World but is also working towards other, no less important aspects of security: climate and environment, of which both Russia and the US have manifested little interest.

 

 

About author: Mihai Turcanu

Partners

Tento web používá k analýze návštěvnosti soubory cookie. Používáním tohoto webu s tím souhlasíte. Další informace