The United States has officially asked the new Czech government for permission to build a radar base in the country. The Czech Republic and Poland were two candidates in Europe to be involved in the U.S. anti-missile defence system.
The new government will try to persuade people that the American long-range radars will not threaten the Czech Republic, on the contrary, it will boost the safety of the country.
UPDATE: Most Czechs against U.S. radar base – poll
The United States have found
- two locations for the radar base – near Pribram and Olomouc. There would be about
- 200 American soldiers in the country, everything would be
- financed by the U.S.
A Czech team of experts will discuss with the U.S. about political, economic and strategic issues concerning American soldiers in the Czech Republic. If the radar base is approved here, it can start working in 2011.
The US-led effort to expand the military BMEWS (ballistic missile early warning radar system) to Poland and the Czech Republic provoke Russian military strategists. Putin has proposed using their already operative radar base in Azerbajian (See “Azeri radar eyed for US shield”, BBC) in exchange for information from the US system. The US/NATO proposed TMD (theater missile defense) will also integrate early warning systems for short-range missiles in southern Europe. Is the race for space awareness and the weaponization of space inevitable?
The justification for the missile shield is the potential threat of long range missiles from Iran and North Korea (See “N-Korea test fires missile”, BBC). Military experts predict that with the current progress of nuclear research and missile technology available to Iran they will pose a threat to the US in 2015. NATO and Russia co-operate in certain military matters through the Russia-Nato Council but has increasingly been in conflict over the Iranian nuclear program and the European missile shield. (See “Russia-NATO: A marriage of convenience”, RIA Novosti). Russia has also demonstrated the ineffectiveness of the missile shield by launching their RS-24 multiple missile system carrying 10 warheads (See “RS-24 Missiles to replace old systems within next few years”, Interfax).
Terrestrial radars need to be complemented by satellites to keep track of missile launches across the planet (so called “boost phase interceptors”, see “Missile defense, satellites and politics“, The Space Review) to ensure complete space awareness. The Chinese Space Agency tested an anti-satellite missile earlier this year (See “Pentagon says China’s anti-satellite test posed a threat to nations”, AP). The move towards a hot space war could be imminent. The official press release was the only information given from Chinese authorities. The secrecy surrounding space capabilities was recently challenged by French authorities when they discovered 20-30 unregistered US surveillance satellites. (See “French says ‘non’ to U.S. Disclosure of Secret Satellites”, Space.com).
The race for the control of space is threatening to destabilize established military power structures. Secrecy is not the way of solving imbalances in international relations. Space is a part of the “commons” and should be dealt with accordingly. I propose an open source approach to the space awareness problematique. There are several approaches to distributed space awareness, e.g. launching private satellites for surveillance and distribution of real-time satellite imagery in order to counter a military space race. The alternative is a UN led control organization like the IAEA.
Other organizations like the Lifeboat Foundation could also play an important role in developing a threat reduction system for the ongoing cold space war.