Sunday, July 13, 2008

Missile Defense: Rehabbing the Cold War

Apparently not content with starting a new Cold War with Iran and Islamist countries in general, the Bush administration is pushing hard for a reprise of the old Cold War through installation of a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe. The inclusion of the term 'defense' of course is meant to obfuscate the reality that the sites will include missiles, and thus be fully capable of playing offense just as well.

The posturing began long ago, in Bush's first term, when Congress first established that it would do absolutely nothing to fulfill its Constitutional duties and allow the separation on powers to simply fade into the abyss. In December of 2001, in a move which telegraphed quite transparently the current maneuvers, Bush decided on his own to pull out of the US's 30-year commitment to the ABM treaty with Russia.

"Today I am giving formal notice to Russia that the United States of America is withdrawing from this almost 30-year-old treaty," Bush said in the White House Rose Garden. "I have concluded the ABM treaty hinders our government's ability to develop ways to protect our people from future terrorist or rogue state missile attacks."

Under US Code, "treaties to which the United States is a party are equivalent in status to Federal legislation, forming part of what the Constitution calls ‘the supreme Law of the Land.’" So, in withdrawal from the ABM without congressional consultation, Bush was essentially unilaterally striking a law from the books, using his newfound (invented) status as President-at-war powers, which of course would eventually be used to justify everything from war without Congressional declaration to torture. Congress, though, was still in a conciliatory mood only months after the WTC collapse and not about to assert itself on a seemingly minor infraction.

Yet, as we have seen, the administration has out-maneuvered Congress at nearly every turn since, and the last week has begun to bear the fruit of the ABM withdrawal, leaving Russia is none too pleased.

"If the real deployment of an American strategic missile defense shield begins close to our borders, then we will be forced to react not with diplomatic methods, but with military-technical methods," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

In a world governed by principles of universality, US leaders would understand that their response should the roles be reversed would be similar. But, as we know, to suggest that the same rules that the US applies to other countries be applied in turn is sacrilege and anti-American. Not pro-logic or rational, but anti-American. It doesn't put too much of a strain on the imagination to consider what would happen if Russia, say, tried to install missiles on Cuba.

The stoking of the old Cold War flames returns us to the prevailing theory in American politics, namely, that all other countries should have a foreign policy that aims to support US interests rather than protecting their own. Thus, while Bush claims the Czech (and maybe Polish) shield is necessary to protect his own citizens, he declares it unfair for the Russians to see said shields as a threat to the security of their own people.

In the long run, the US is essentially in the process of doing whatever it can to provoke Iran into doing something stupid and provide the US-Israel alliance a justification for attack. All rhetoric aside, these actions still hide the fact that any uranium enrichment being undertaken in Iran is supervised by the IAEA, is legal under the terms of the NPT, and at a level 20 times too low for weaponization.

But, of course, this is all according to plan. By continuously stoking the embers of international animosity, the government is able to provide the populace with an outward enemy. An enemy which requires their quiet ceding of civil rights and provides an imperative of electing yet another administration which will continue down the same path. By directing attention outward, the government ensures that there are enough voters willing to vote against their own self-interests in November and accept quietly the assault on their freedom and pocketbooks.


US Steps Up Covert Action Against Iran, June 29
US Foreign Policy Principles, June 25

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1 comment:

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