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Ongoing Campaign, U.S./Europe vs Missile Defense system

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  • arn specter
    February 1, 2009 This is an outreach effort from London, England, an important letter by Kate Hudson, of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament set the stage for
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2009
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      February 1, 2009
      This is an outreach effort from London, England, an
      important letter by Kate Hudson, of the Campaign
      for Nuclear Disarmament set the stage for the conference
      yesterday in London, Europe Against U.S. Missile Defense.
      See listing of notable activists speaking.  Let's network
      with CND and look for reports on that important meeting.
      Too, continued efforts to lobby President Obama at
      comments@..., and others in Congress keeps
      a focus on the need for this missile  program to be cancelled.
      Russia has  pulled back the threat of attack on Poland and
      the Czech Republic with hopes that the U.S. would cancel
      the plans for missile defense there.  For the sake of security
      and peace in Eastern Europe and to avert any further threats
      of aggression let's say, Stop the Missile Defense System
      in Europe Now, Mr. President.
      Disarmament is the key to peaceful co-existance.
      (missiles can be used for aggression or defense in the
      missile defense system in Europe by the U.S. or Russia)
      arn specter, phila.pa.usa
      New Statesman, London
      International Politics
      Obama's nuclear test

      Kate Hudson, Chairwoman
      Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND)
      campaigns@... and phone 0207 700 2393
      27 January 2009

      Will the new administration in Washington DC usher in a new era when
      it comes to nuclear weapons? CND's Kate Hudson on some of the
      positive signs emanating from Obama

      Menwith Hill plays its part in the US missile defence system
      ( a location in England, a site of missile defense)

      It's interesting to watch the Obama agenda unfold. So far we're
      getting some tasty morsels on the nuclear disarmament front,
      but will they add up to the full feast?

      Throughout the presidential campaign, he made it quite clear that he
      favours global abolition of nuclear weapons. He even talked about
      some specific steps to start down that road. This was all very
      encouraging, and it has been reassuring that since the inauguration
      he has reiterated some of these points.

      The White House has announced that Obama and Biden will stop the
      development of new nuclear weapons; work with Russia to take US and
      Russian ballistic missiles off hair trigger alert; seek dramatic
      reductions in US and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons and
      material; and set a goal to expand the US-Russian ban on
      intermediate range missiles so that the agreement is global?.

      It sounds like a good start. But there is one particularly striking
      feature to that White House statement: it seems to hinge on
      agreements with Russia. That makes perfect sense because
      obviously  the US and Russia have the vast majority of the global
      arsenal between them. But it does mean that if any progress is to
      be made, then there have to be good relations between those countries.

      At the moment there are a couple of obstacles to that in the foreign
      policy field. Both are US initiatives which make Russia feel under
      threat. One is NATO expansion. The other is the US missile defence
      system, and its planned expansion, pushed under the Bush presidency,
      into the Czech Republic and Poland.

      This is the system which would give the US the ability to attack
      other countries without fear of retaliation.

      So what position will Obama take on these vital issues which will
      crucially affect the relationship between the world's nuclear
      superpowers? On missile defence at least, I think there is the
      possibility of a little cautious optimism.

      Obama has already expressed hesitation about pressing ahead with
      the system since he was elected. Although he hasn?t explicitly
      opposed it, the conditions he places on it seem to be almost prohibitive,
      not least that it has to be "proven to work" ,  which has not yet
      happened; and it mustn''t be expensive!   I don't think either of those is
      happening any time soon.
      It is also notable that after Obama spoke with Polish President Kaczynski
      following his election success - Kaczynski claimed that Obama said that
      missile defence would continue. An Obama spokesperson subsequently
      announced that the President- elect had made no such commitment.

      But US Missile Defence is not just something that the peace
      movement opposes. There is substantial mainstream political
      opposition in Europe, not least from social democratic parties,
      in the Czech Republic, Poland, Germany and elsewhere.
      But it is also a cross party issue too. One of the most interesting
      recent statements of opposition has come from four major
      German political figures: former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (Social Democrat), former President Richard von Weizsacker
      (Christian Democrat), former Minister Egon Bahr (Social Democrat),
       and former Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher (FreeDemocrat).

      In a statement specifically timed to send a message to the incoming
      Obama administration, they not only called for global nuclear
      disarmament, they also called for the restoration of the
      Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. This was the Treaty which banned
      missile defence systems, and from which the US withdrew in 2002 in
      order to build one.

      European stability, which they argue, was strong enough to survive
      German reunification and the collapse of the East, "would be
      jeopardised for the first time by the American desire to station
      missiles and a radar system on extra-territorial bases in Poland and
      the Czech Republic on NATO's eastern border."

      The restoration of the ABM Treaty is key, in their view, to
      preventing a return to the era of confrontation. It's certainly an
      interesting development  and one that it would be good to see
      mirrored in Britain, where we already host two missile "defence" bases.

      All these issue will be discussed by politicians and activists from
      across Europe, at CND?s conference
      "Europe Against US Missile Defence", to be held at SOAS,
       University of London, on Saturday 31st January.
      Speakers will include: Michael Connarty MP, Jeremy Corbyn
      MP, Jean Lambert MEP, Walter Kolbow MP (SPD, Germany), Jolanta
      Szymanek-Deresz MP (SLD, Poland), CSSD Rep (Czech Republic), Monika
      Knoche MP (Die Linke, Germany), Jana Glivicka, ( Ne Zakladnam, Czech
      Republic), Filip Ilkowski, (Inicjatywz Stop Wojnie, Poland) and many
      other activists from across Europe.

      Kate Hudson is chair of CND

      --- End forwarded message ---

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