Russian Threat To US
Growing - From Kitty Hawk
To Topol ICBM Deployment
Center for Security Policy
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Henry Shelton will be the next U.S. official to seek to reason with an increasingly unreasonable - or simply more contemptuous - Russian regime when he visits Moscow next week.
If, as expected, Shelton raises the issue of Russian breaches of a secret 1995 protocol between Vice President Al Gore and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, in accordance with which Moscow was supposed to end all conventional arms sales to Iran by Dec. 31, 1999, the JCS chairman will likely get the same back-of-the-hand treatment the Kremlin has lately been dishing out to other representatives of the Clinton-Gore administration.
Among the recent examples of such ominous behavior:
* Aggressive Russian overflights of the USS Kitty Hawk (insult was subsequently added to injury when photographs were e-mailed to the ship showing its unprepared crew scrambling to respond to that unfriendly act).
* The forward deployment of long-range nuclear-capable bombers to the Russian Far East, within striking distance of Alaska.
* The conviction and sentencing to 20 years in prison of American businessman Edmond Pope on trumped-up charges of spying, after a classic Soviet-style "show trial" and the inhumane denial of Western medical care to a man believed to have recontracted a potentially fatal cancer.
With these and other actions, the Kremlin is clearly putting the United States and the world on notice that Russia is once again reverting to form - a certain rival for influence and resources around the world and a potentially serious threat to American citizens and interests.
Clinton Administration To Sneak In
Back-Door Deal With Russia?
This week, NATO foreign ministers and their Russian counterpart will meet in Brussels for the North Atlantic Council meeting. All other things being equal, this occasion seems likely to be the last one available to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Russia's foreign minister to sign a particularly ill-advised bilateral agreement ñ one that would obligate the parties to provide advance notice of all ballistic missiles and virtually all space-launch vehicles.
This agreement would be a disaster to the ability of the United States to "maintain ... U.S. leadership in space," as Clinton's national security strategy for the U.S. ostensibly requires. This accord - called the "Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Missile Launch Notification" - would effectively pre-empt decisions and perhaps even preclude recommendations now being readied about U.S. space policy by a second congressionally chartered commission led by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
Specifically, Rumsfeld's commission seems likely to call for far more ready and reliable and far less costly access to space if America is to project and exercise space power.
The Clinton-Gore team should respond honorably, by deferring the signature of this so-called "Pre- and Post-Launch Notification System" (PLNS) accord - and the new limits it will impose upon America's access to space and, therefore, the impediments it will create to U.S. control of the increasingly indispensable theater of commercial and military operations known as outer space.
This Site Served by TheHostPros