Comrades in Arms

October 12, 2007

Dear Members and Friends,

On the eve of U.S. Russia talks in Moscow, it is important to note that the proposed United States European Missile Defense sites in Poland and in the Czech Republic will be a primary agenda item of which two different views of political perceptions will be confronted and discussed. In the conclusion of these talks on Monday, we as a nation and a world would hope for a mutual understanding and transparent sharing of information that could defend both countries and their national interests from current and future rouge nation WMD threats.

Russia perceives the U.S. missile defense based in Europe as a threat beyond the technical capability of the 10 ground-based interceptors and one large x-band radar as strictly what it is – U.S. military presence in two former Warsaw pact countries that were once under Russian influence. Having U.S. military presence in Poland and the Czech Republic changes political perceptions both externally and internally in Russia and in Eastern Europe. Thus President Putin has worked over the last year to offer counterproposals and other alternatives to the U.S. Missile Defense Sites located in Poland and the Czech Republic. These proposals, such as the Moscow/NATO forum and the radar in Azerbaijan, have some merit, however they have not and cannot address the technical merits of detecting, discriminating and destroying ballistic missile warheads coming from the Middle East aimed at Europe or the United States.

The United States recognizes Iran as a current and future Ballistic Missile threat with WMD capability to the United States National Security and that of its allies and friends. As such, a missile defense capability that can seek and destroy ballistic missiles fired from Iran before they land in Europe or the United States is a necessity that this administration and U.S. Congress are committed to acquiring and fielding. The United States will continue to increase its determination as Iran’s proliferation grows with their aggressive international behavior. It is also important to note that the U.S. missile defense system that would be deployed in Europe is the most technically proven and desirable in both development and physical location.

The talks this weekend among Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will become a diplomatic negotiation of opposing wills and perceptions. In this international art of diplomacy, selling perceptions can go so far in a room of skilled and experienced diplomats, as the diplomatic skill of what to compromise and how much is the true value of a successful summit between confronting powers.

We believe that the compromise between Russia and the United States should be the transparency of the system and the amount of information shared from these U.S. European Missile Defense sites to Russia. The future of missile defense and our ability to counter threats relies on the international participation of fielding and sharing these missile defense technologies.

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