President George Bush is expected to propose to President Vladimir Putin that the Russian Federation join the USA in the construction of a nuclear missile defence shield during their meeting next week.
This proposal is the result of detailed talks between the two sides and would be a breakthrough in the deadlock which until now has separated the two countries. President Putin had considered that the USA should not unilaterally build a National Missile Defence (NMD) system, since this would give it an unfair strategic advantage and would go against the spirit of the 1972 international treaty on ballistic missiles which was based on a balance of power between the two super-powers. Apart from this, president Putin feared that the implementation of such a system would provoke other states to enter into an arms race to try to find a way through the shield. The Russian Federation then agreed to cooperate with a rival European plan for a missile defence shield, after a meeting between President Putin and Lord Robertson, Secretary-General of NATO.
A joint commission is expected to be set up between both countries to monitor the installation of a global NMD development. In the joint operation, Russia and the USA will exchange strategic information and technology. This would be the first step towards the realisation of Ronald Reagan’s Star wars project two decades ago.
Originally, the system was dismissed internally as being far too costly for little results because in practice, it would not guarantee that all warheads from an incoming multiple-warhead ICBM. would be destroyed before entering the atmosphere.
The heart of the NMD system will be installed in Fort Greely, Alaska, for which a military budget of 7.8 bn. USD has already been set aside for next year. The completed project is expected to cost up to 65 bn. USD over the next 12 years.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru
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