Democrats Aid Putin Aim To Kill European BMD: Analyst
Congressional Democrats, as they criticize and cut budget funds for the U.S. ground-based midcourse missile defense (GMD) system planned for Europe, are playing into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin in his drive to block the protective shield.
So says Helle Dale, an analyst with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank, writing in The Washington Times.
It is “monumentally shortsighted, even reckless, for congressional Democrats to target for cuts one of the most important strategic, collaborative efforts between the United States, Poland and the Czech Republic,” Dale wrote.
Leaders in the Czech Republic, which would host a radar center, and Poland, which would be home to missile interceptors in silos, took great political risk in siding with the ballistic missile shield (BMD) plan, and with the United States, Dale asserted.
They have attracted the wrath of Russia, which opposes the BMD shield against missiles fired from Middle Eastern nations such as Iran toward targets in Europe, U.S. troops serving there and the United States.
If Congress abandons the European GMD system, leaving the Czech Republic and Poland hanging in the wind, others will be reluctant to side with the United States, Dale asserted
Dale also flailed Democrats for cutting other U.S. BMD programs.
“Democrats … don’t seem much to care about protecting American citizens from missile attacks by rogue states, nor about the vital strategic U.S. alliance relationships in the challenging world of the 21st century,” Dale asserted. Rather, Democrats “are aiming for big cuts in missile defense funding in the Department of Defense authorization bill, currently under debate on the Hill. The president asked for $8.9 billion in his 2008 budget proposal, which Democrats are whittling, basically with the aim of crippling the program beyond recovery.” Dale observed that many BMD programs are being slashed.
“Already, the Democratic leadership has removed $764 million from the missile-defense top line, and during mark-up Rep. Ellen Tauscher [D-Calif.], who is chairman of the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee, has cut $400 million from the Airborne Laser program, $85 million from the Space Tracking and Surveillance System, $80 million from the Multiple Kill Vehicle program and $10 million from the proposed Space Test-Bed.” Some of those cuts have been restored, at least partially.