dangers in US Missile Defense Plans|
Moving Beyond Missile Defense
Carah Lynn Ong
Moving Beyond Missile Defense, a joint project of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation (INESAP) and the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, held its first international workshop in Santa Barbara, California, March 19-21, 2001. It was the first in a series of workshops that will take place in several different international regions, including Northeast Asia, Europe, South Asia and the Middle East.
For three days, 17 experts in science, technology and security gathered to discuss the technological and geopolitical problems as well as the negative impacts of missile defenses on international security.
Participants of the Moving Beyond Missile Defense conference argued that deployment of a U.S. missile defense system could provoke new arms races, including in outer space.
Experts from Russia, Germany, Egypt, India, Israel, China, Pakistan, Japan and the U.S. provided regional perspectives on missile defenses and offered alternatives. "There is great concern among Europeans about these plans," said Juergen Scheffran, a senior researcher with the Interdisciplinary Research Group in Science Technology and Security at the Technical University in Darmastadt, Germany. "And not only among Europeans, but also Chinese and Russians. They fear that the United States is adding to its nuclear weapon capabilities."
Russian and Chinese leaders, as well as most allies in Europe, have decried the planned system as the start of new nuclear arms races. Missile defense opponents also contend that such a system would violate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, signed by the U.S. and the former Soviet Union, which prohibits national missile defenses.
"We think the way to go forward on this question of threat from other countries is to pursue diplomatic means and find ways of actually banning these missiles, globally." Said M.V. Ramana, a research associate at the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies at Princeton University. "The U.S., Russia and China will also have to cut back their arsenals if they expect other countries to do the same."
David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, said that "the Moving Beyond Missile Defense project aims to present alternatives to missile defense that would not undermine international stability and security."
"It's very good to have people from all over the world cooperating in this," observed Regina Hagen , Coordinator of the International Network of Engineers and Scientists Against Proliferation at the organization's headquarters in Germany.
The conclusions and recommendations from the Santa Barbara workshop will be utilized by an International Study Group to further explore alternatives to missile defenses and in a series of international regional meetings over the next three years. They will also be made available to government policy makers and non-governmental organizations working in the arena of global security.
Participants in the workshop reached the following preliminary findings:
We therefore recommend:
Video clips and articles are available on the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation's website at http://www.waginpeace.org.
Carah Lynn Ong