US Missile Defence in Central Europe: A Comment
Three different missile defence systems are currently operational or under construction within the European theatre. These are: 1) NATO Missile Defence, 2) NATO Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence and, 3) an American Missile Defence initiative (achieved bilaterally). Recently, the American system caused fervour among security experts of the European Union and NATO, particularly as Central European states competed for inclusion in the American initiative. The participation of newly acceded Central European states to the American initiative causes an acute problem for the EU which is trying to construct its own security and defence culture.
Nearly two decades have elapsed since the fall of the Warsaw Pact and Eastern Bloc, The Czech Republic together with Poland), as Central European states, have grown in importance for geo-strategic reasons, particularly because of their positive disposition towards the US and other western powers. In comparison to the early 1990’s, when Soviet military forces were redeploying out of Central Europe, the current situation is based on extensive security cooperation between the US and the newly acceded EU states. The focus of such cooperation is strategically hypothetical, based more on potential rather than actual challenges, however it aims at establishing a wide aerial defensive shield over the US and Europe. This Missile Defence system is meant to deter regular (i.e. Russia) and rogue (terrorist groups, Iran, North Korea, etc.) military challenges against US, NATO and (ultimately) EU interests.