NATO Summit: anti-missile shield forgotten challenge

Dr Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann OPINION On the occasion of the NATO Summit on July 11 and 12, the media and the European political class are  focusing almost exclusively their attention on the small sentences of Donald Trump, to detect his degree of loyalty to the Atlantic Alliance.

However, much more concrete and decisive issues for European security should receive their full attention.

The Iranian nuclear threat was the main justification for NATO’s anti missile shield (ABM) project, which has continued to be implemented until today. Since the withdrawal of the United States on May 8 at the initiative of Donald Trump, of the Iranian nuclear agreement that was signed in 2015, Europeans should be preoccupied by the future role of the anti-missile shield (ABM) and its repercussions on their security. This device meets the opposition of Russia. Russia feel threatened by the anti-missile shield as it destabilizes the strategic nuclear balance.

The map inserted in this article shows the location of the existing and anticipated shield infrastructure. The brown belt of  American bases and shield elements appear as a continuous spatial unit. The blue arrows that create movement from a US “head” to its allies, represents the perception of encirclement of the Russians and Chinese (although the shield’s stated purpose is to protect against missiles from Iran and North Korea).

The question of the anti-missile shield, if the project is strengthened, could therefore make the European territory again a theater of confrontation between the Russians and the Americans with the prospect of reinforcing a New Cold war. The European territory would become again an issue between the United States and Russia by the deployment of the anti-missile shield without agreement negotiated between the two countries.

The Germans and the French, who were initially suspicious of this project, but who finally supported its incorporation into NATO under pressure from the United States, would benefit from addressing this major issue again in the interests of European security.

Their own sovereignty is the first challenge, since it is obvious that neither will have the finger on the button to decide on the firing of ballistic missiles. The other issue is that of peace in Europe. The disagreements between Russians and Americans, increases the risk of nuclear war in Europe. Instead of speculating on Donald Trump’s  comments in the media, Europeans should ask him to clarify his position on the role of this anti missile shield within European security in order to obtain better guarantees.







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