#14 - JRL 2009-172 - JRL Home
Pundit plays down 'Russian factor' in USA's decision on missile defence system

Moscow, 17 September: The USA's (reported) decision not to deploy an ABM system in the Czech Republic is prompted by a desire to overcome the split within NATO, besides the desire to improve relations with Russia, director of the Institute for Political Studies Sergey Markov has said.

"Of course, Washington's decision not to deploy ABM facilities in the Czech Republic is not just a positive signal to Moscow, but a specific action which is favourable for Russia's security," Markov told Interfax on Thursday (17 September).

At the same time, the US administration was primarily guided by its interest in overcoming disagreement within NATO, a number of whose members are opposed to deploying ABM system facilities in Europe, during the process of preparing and taking this decision, he added.

"I believe it is not worth exaggerating the factor of Russian-US relations in this situation, although the factor is highly significant. The prospect of the deployment of ABM (facilities) in Eastern Europe provoked serious objections on the part of old NATO members like Germany and France. There was basically a split in the alliance over the ABM issue," Markov said.

Dropping the ABM (facilities) in Europe will give Washington more chances to count on increased military activity in Afghanistan on the part of a number of European NATO members, he said. "To all appearances, it seems that the USA is hoping that those very same Germans will fight better in Afghanistan due to this position," he added.

The financial and technical problems linked to deploying the ABM system should not be discounted either, Markov said.

"There simply isn't money for this system, and as far as I understand, there is no unanimity regarding the effectiveness of the ABM (system)," he concluded.

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