Even one of the most intelligent of the Bush crew is capable of mouthing the most ludicrous line without even wincing. These defences are supposed to be directed at Iran or North Korea. Such crap. Of course media dutifully report the line and usually leave it to be critiqued only by an equally official source from the bad side, Russia! Many commentators do not themselves bother to point out the ludicrousness of the U.S. explanation. It is particularly risible that the defence should be against North Korea given its location and the fact that it has just recently reached an agreement with the U.S. I wonder what the North Koreans think of the explanation not that the US or anyone else probably cares. Maybe they will think it is OK to go ahead again with nuclear expansion. Since the U.S. has a defence system against them their nuclear development will no longer threaten the U.S.
Anyway as part of the agreement the U.S. provided Poland with short range missiles that definitely are oriented to repelling an attack from Russia. The U.S. can hardly dress this up as aimed at Iran or North Korea. The U.S. has in effect guaranteed a new cold war. The problem is that in the last cold war there was a buffer zone around Russia but now there is none just a ring of mostly hostile states. If they all belong to NATO any conflict with any of them is liable to bring in NATO. This is exceedingly dangerous. We could theoretically go to war to protect the integrity of the borders of Georgia should South Ossetia claim independence and Russia support the claim with force. Bush can mouth off about the territorial integrity of Georgia but where was his mouth when it came to the territorial integrity of Serbia when Kosovo unilaterally declared independence?
US and Poland sign missile deal
Washington and Warsaw have signed a deal to deploy US interceptor missiles in Poland, despite Russian opposition to the move.Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, and Radoslaw, her Polish counterpart, signed the accord at a ceremony in the capital, on Wednesday.
The signing comes six days after the two countries agreed to a deal that will allow 10 of the missiles to be placed just 180km from Russia's westernmost frontier."The negotiations were very tough but friendly," Donald Tusk, Poland's prime minister, said.
"We have achieved our main goals, which means that our country and the United States will be more secure."'New threats'Rice told reporters: "This is an agreement that will establish a missile defence site here in Poland that will help us to deal with the new threats of the 21st century, of long range missiles ... from countries like Iran or North Korea." Russia sees the placing of the missiles in parts of central Europe as a threat to its security.
It says Washington and Warsaw rushed into finalising the deal as a response to its military action in Georgia.
Some Russian politicians and generals have said Poland must be prepared for a preventive attack on the site in the future.
Nato on Tuesday denounced threats against alliance member Poland as "unacceptable". It endorsed the missile plan for Europe at its summit in Bucharest in April even though some allies are sceptical about its effectiveness and concerned it could lead to a new arms race. The deal must now be approved by the Polish parliament, which is seen as a formality. Tusk's government demanded greater military co-operation with the US for agreeing to host the site.
Neave Barker, reporting for Al Jazeera from Moscow, said: "The first indication that this [signing] was going to happen took place a few days ago - mid-conflict [between Russia and Georgia] I might add - where Poland indicated it was willing to allow the US to station its missile defence shield on its territory."
Rice, left, and Sikorski say missile shield will help ward off Iran attacks [EPA]Russia then took this indication to mean that the intended target of the missiles, as the US claimed, "rogue states" - the likes of Iran - but Russia, said Barker.
"That's the main concern here, and what we have been seeing over the past few days is Russia acting accordingly to beef- up its own defences as well," he added.
"We have heard some incendiary comments from the ministry of defence here that Poland would now be perhaps a new target for Russian missiles."
Philip Coyle, a senior adviser with the Centre for Defence Information in Washington DC, said the Bush administration has been trying for about 18 months to agree the deal, but the timing has turned out to be "most unfortunate from a Russian point of view".
"The tragedy in all of this confrontation with Russia is that the system that's proposed for Poland and the Czech Republic is a scarecrow," he told Al Jazeera.
"It's not something that Europe can rely on, it is not dependable.
"If Iran had missiles that could reach central Europe, which they don’t yet, this system couldn't be relied on to defend against them anyway."
The "commotion and sword-rattling with Russia is for nothing", Coyle said.
"Some of this may be just a threat, but Russia has shown in just the past week or so it has a formidable military force, so if I were Poland or the Czech Republic, I would be more worried about Russia than I would be about Iran or North Korea."
The US says the missile system is aimed at protecting it and Europe from future attacks from states such as Iran.
It rejects Moscow's insistence that it is a threat to Russia.
For Poles, it has a further dimension at a time when Russia's actions in Georgia have generated alarm throughout Eastern Europe.
They see it as offering a form of protection beyond that of Nato in light of a resurgent Russia to the east.
The two countries spent a year-and-a-half negotiating, and talks recently had stalled on Poland's demands that the US bolster Polish security with Patriot missiles in exchange for hosting the missile base.
Washington agreed to do so last week, as Poland invoked the Georgia conflict to strengthen its case.
The Patriots are meant to protect Poland from short-range missiles from neighbours - such as Russia.
Kaczynski said the shield was purely defensive.
"For that reason, no one who has good intentions toward us and toward the Western world should be afraid of it," he said.
Poles have been shaken by Russian threats against their nation in punishment for accepting the US site.
A day after Warsaw and Washington reached agreement on the deal last week, a leading Russian general made his country's strongest warning to date against the system.
"Poland, by deploying [the system] is exposing itself to a strike - 100 per cent," General Anatoly Nogovitsyn was reported as saying on Friday by the Interfax news agency.