Ongoing Campaign, U.S./Europe vs Missile Defense system
- February 1, 2009This is an outreach effort from London, England, animportant letter by Kate Hudson, of the Campaignfor Nuclear Disarmament set the stage for the conferenceyesterday in London, Europe Against U.S. Missile Defense.See listing of notable activists speaking. Let's networkwith CND and look for reports on that important meeting.Too, continued efforts to lobby President Obama atcomments@..., and others in Congress keepsa focus on the need for this missile program to be cancelled.Russia has pulled back the threat of attack on Poland andthe Czech Republic with hopes that the U.S. would cancelthe plans for missile defense there. For the sake of securityand peace in Eastern Europe and to avert any further threatsof aggression let's say, Stop the Missile Defense Systemin Europe Now, Mr. President.Disarmament is the key to peaceful co-existance.(missiles can be used for aggression or defense in themissile defense system in Europe by the U.S. or Russia)arn specter, phila.pa.usa---------------------------------------------------------------------------New Statesman, London
Obama's nuclear test
Kate Hudson, ChairwomanCampaign 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 inaugurationhe 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 becauseobviously the US and Russia have the vast majority of the globalarsenal between them. But it does mean that if any progress is tobe 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 withthe system since he was elected. Although he hasn?t explicitlyopposed 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 Kaczynskifollowing his election success - Kaczynski claimed that Obama said thatmissile defence would continue. An Obama spokesperson subsequentlyannounced that the President- elect had made no such commitment.
But US Missile Defence is not just something that the peacemovement opposes. There is substantial mainstream politicalopposition 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 interestingrecent statements of opposition has come from four majorGerman 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 aninteresting development and one that it would be good to seemirrored 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
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