US General Henry Obering is “very concerned” this week as Polish lawmakers still haven’t ratified August’s deal to host a US interceptor missile base in Northern Poland. The base, ostensibly aimed at preventing Iranian missile strikes but being built well outside of the range of Iran’s missile arsenal, will not see its first interceptor missile “in the ground in Poland until 2012” according to the General. Even then, the base’s full complement of 10 missiles won’t be online until 2013 or 2014 even if Poland ratifies the deal by year’s end.
General Obering seems considerably less concerned about the Czech government’s difficulties in getting parliamentary approval for the radar base, saying the plan wouldn’t be slowed down by the struggle. The Czech coalition government is struggling to hold on to power after a devastating defeat in last weekend’s elections, which may have been spurred in part by public opposition to the radar base.
Russia has repeatedly cautioned the nations that hosting the US sites could lead to them becoming targets for Russian ICBMs to ensure the credibility of their nuclear deterrent. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described the Russian opposition to the shield, which it believes is aimed at its arsenal, “borders on the bizarre.”
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