The extension of the American Ballistic Missile Defence System (BMDS) in Europe curiously arouses little comments from key stakeholders, i.e. the Europeans.
The deployment of these most advanced technologies, whose effectiveness is however questionable, is supposed to provide protection against a non-existent threat, i.e. the Iranian long-range missiles. Seemingly innocuous – since it is presented as strictly defensive –, this shield is a continuation of the U.S. nuclear strategy. Deterrence put definitively aside, this increasingly offensive strategy opens the way for the actual use of nuclear weapons on battlefields.
Illustrating the dividing line established by Washington between the “Old” and the “New” Europe, the BMDS finds its way on the Old Continent through bilateral negotiations between the United States and two European capitals, Prague and Warsaw. In so doing, the Bush Administration makes the economy of a substantive debate within NATO while exploiting the contradictions of a European Union still in search of its political identity. At the same time, a new period of tension with Moscow is looming on the horizon. A European debate is urgently needed.