Ivo Daalder, the U.S. Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), last week seemed to be in a state of denial or ignorance when discussing a planned U.S.-led ballistic missile defense system’s effect on Russia. His position should be of particular concern to Americans, because implementing such a system grinds us directly into another cold war, if not a hot one. And it also directly affects America’s massive and growing deficit, which will plague our children and generations beyond.
In speaking at a gathering of the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington last Monday, Daalder said that Moscow was wary of the proposed missile defense system, and even wanted legal assurances the system wouldn’t threaten Russia.
Daalder said that the missile system’s placement “doesn’t concern Russia” because its sights will be on the Middle East, which must mean Iran and Syria. Although Daalder didn’t mention those two countries specifically, the U.S. Defense Department in a May 3 briefing in Moscow did:
“Shorter-range threats within key regions are growing rapidly: Iran, Syria, and North Korea possess 1000s of short-and medium-range missiles, potentially threatening to U.S. forces, allies, and partners,” the PowerPoint briefing said in its opening point “Ballistic Missile Threat Continues to Advance.” Yet the briefing also said, while the U.S. will provide missile defense to protect itself and its European partners, the defense system isn’t aimed at Russia.
Here’s the problem with that rationale: for a long time, Russia has aligned itself with Iran. At one point, while visiting Iran along with other Middle-East countries’ reps-to discuss their mutual relationship regarding natural gas supplies and distribution-Russian President Vladimir Putin and the other nations agreed that an attack on any one of their natural-gas alliance members, including Iran, would be an attack on all of them.
More recently, in January 2012, Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s deputy prime minister and former envoy to NATO, said, “Iran is our close neighbor, just south of the Caucasus. Should anything happen to Iran, should Iran get drawn into any political or military hardships, this will be a direct threat to our national security.”
So, are Daalder, who represents the Obama administration and our country, and the Defense Department really not aware of these threatening goings-on? Are they in denial about Russia’s position? Or do they think America’s citizens who heard his question-answer session last Monday aren’t smart enough to catch the administration’s untruth, or can’t connect the dots between Russia and Iran’s relationship?
Daalder also told the Washington crowd that NATO is made up of 28 countries and is a Democratic organization in which each nation has a voice and vote in determining NATO policy and actions.
To anyone who understands money and power, that stance is hard to swallow. NATO receives funding from each of the nations, but four of those countries-the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France-provide 60% of the funds. The U.S. contributes nearly 22%. Do you really think those major funders don’t decide the directions NATO takes?
We’ll get a clearer view of that later this month, when NATO holds its 25th summit in Chicago May 20-21. The agenda will include Afghanistan’s future. Also, the media is speculating that France’s new socialist president Francois Hollande may want to pull his country out of NATO. That would mean a loss of 12% of NATO’s funding. If that happens, who do you suspect NATO would eye to make up that deficit, and increase ours?
Ivo Daalder Q&A: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/Stepsfo
Funding NATO: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_67655.htm
U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense briefing:http://photos.state.gov/libraries/russia/231771/PDFs/U_S_%20Ballistic%20Missile%20Defense%20Briefing%20ENG.pdf
NATO Summit in Chicago: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-18E5B832-418B2ED0/natolive/news_87077.htm
Ivo Daalder: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivo_Daalder