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No single factor in the process of the debate was more important than this heavy historical baggage, Jørgen Dragsdahl explains. The concerns expressed by politicians from Greenland about Thule becoming a target and Greenland having coresponsibility for world peace, were real. But the likelihood of having any influence on Washington’s plans were considered negligible, while a window of opportunity to further independence vis-à-vis Denmark was seen very clearly. Copenhagen was caught in a dilemma. It needed to square the circle of over-coming its colonial past by granting more sovereignty to Greenland – and enhance the foreign policy shift of becoming a strategic actor by demonstrating its willingness to behave as the closest US ally. This resulted in Copenhagen’s ‘Yes’ to upgrading the Thule radar, but the government was also forced to accommodate demands directed against its own sovereignty. 31
• The Netherlands: The long-standing procurement policy of Patriot missiles systems from the United States for distinct out-of-area missions which only a few members could fulfill within the North Atlantic Alliance has been the major MD topic for the Dutch. Philip Everts explains this policy by pointing to the Netherlands as a strongly internationalist, multilateralist trading state with a distinct Atlanticism and a role conception as a reliable junior partner of the United States.
• The Federal Republic of Germany: The delivery of German Patriots to help Israel, Turkey, and the United States during the looming Iraq war had to be decided on.
The same applies to the co-development of the MEADS System. Both topics touch upon the changing role of Germany as a selective exporter of security in international affairs (delivery of the Patriot), cautiously displaying a willingness to take a more active role in international affairs (MEADS). Would the system mainly designed for the protection of troops in out-of-area activities be necessary, efficient and affordable in view of the long-lasting economic crises and unprecedented social restructuring? Legitimising MEADS in view of the double domestic and foreign policy transition of the trading power was the nucleus of the brief but intense debate. The decision in favour of co-development was mainly due to the ‘mini’ military-industrial complex which successfully opted for a follow-on system. 32
• Japan: The central MD issue – Tokyo’s extensive co-operation with Washington – has to be explained in the context of the country’s changing foreign policy identity from the restraints of the past as a loser of the Second World War, to gradually taking a more active role in the international arena, and thus, rather cautiously, becoming a ‘normal country’, as Taku Ishikawa notes. (The parallels to Germany 31 See on this Kristian Søby Kristensen, Negotiating Base Rights for Missile Defense: The Case of Thule Air Base in Greenland, in Bertel Heurlin and Sten Rynning (eds), Missile Defence. International, Regional and National Implications, London/New York 2005 (Routledge), pp. 183-208.
32 Kubbig, Als Entscheidungsgrundlage für das Raketenabwehrprojekt MEADS ungeeignet, op. cit.
are striking in this respect, putting these two non-nuclear states into the same subcategory.) Another sign of its changing identity is Japan’s more active military role in Asia. Tokyo’s strong commitment to MD is part of its relationship with the United States as the major external driving force. Yet MD has strong supporters in Japan as well, especially in the government bureaucracy and in the major parties. The missile capabilities of North Korea and of rising China as the major concerns of Tokyo’s changed security environment have made it easier to legitimise Japanese MD programmes as counterbalancing efforts. 33 2.7.3 The Three New Democracies in Europe: ‘America First!’ for Poland and the Czech Republic, with Equidistance to the US and Europe in Hungary
• Poland: Warsaw’s extraordinary interest in becoming the host country for an MD facility as part of the US multi-layered umbrella with a global range is due to four facts: First and foremost, as Rafał Domisiewicz and Sławomir Kamiński underscore, this interest appears almost natural, given the historically and culturally deep rooted Polish-American ‘special relationship’ as the country’s most important policy orientation (additionally underlined by a 10 million strong ethnic group in the United States). Second, Poland’s special status as the most faithful US ally in Europe includes political affinities with the Bush administration; they contain threat perceptions and the particularly contentious American policy, and military concepts (exporting democracies worldwide and military pre-emption). Third, the Polish elite was desperately waiting for a US offer to host MD-related installations as a long-term investment not only in its security, but in its economy as well. Fourth, being tied to the United States appears to be a good precondition for playing the European card successfully. 34
• The Czech Republic: As underscored by Radek Khol, the past is present in two of the three major factors explaining the principal interest of large parts of the Czech political establishment in accepting an early warning radar or a tracking station on its territory as part of the American umbrella (an interceptor facility is unlikely, because of the considerable reservations within major parties which will have a major say on hosting such facilities): First, history is present in its distinct Atlanticist orientation (‘Instinctive Atlanticism’) with a strong strategic interest in the American presence in Europe and a grateful attitude to Washington’s extraordinary role in the enlargement of NATO. Second, there was no bad historical experience with the United States in the past. The third explanatory factor for Czech MD policy is the perception of the increasing ballistic missile threat.
• Hungary: This new democracy, for a certain time-span the third candidate for MD installations, ticks at least in part differently than the other two Visegrad states.
Budapest has pursued a more balanced policy towards the US and Europe. In recent years the pro-European foreign policy orientation has become stronger, 33 On Japan see also Ken Jimbo, A Japanese Perspective on Missile Defence and Strategic Coordination, The Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 9, No. 2 (Summer 2002), pp. 57-58; Michael Swaine, Rachel Swanger, and Takashi Kawakami, Japan and Ballistic Missile Defense (Santa Monica: Rand Corporation, 2001), pp. 29-32; Masamitsu Yamashita, Susumu Takai, and Shuichiro Iwata, TMD: Sen’iki Dandō Misairu Bōei (Tokyo: TBS Britannica, 1994), pp.
34 On Poland see Marcin Zaborowski and Kerry Longhurst, America’s protégé in the east?, International Affairs, Vol. 79, No. 5 (October 2003), pp. 1009-1028; see also Anke Groll, Raketenabwehrsysteme für Australien und Polen, Bulletin
No. 53, Ballistic Missile Defense Research International, Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, available at:
while the relations to the United States have been increasingly ambivalent. The security perception differs, too, in that the primary focus is on domestic issues, as András Rácz emphasises, whereas proliferation of WMD and of missiles is seen as less of a problem. From a Hungarian perspective, such an installation would be a burden rather than a help for the troubled economy. An American MD facility as a strictly bilateral topic and not part of the North Atlantic Alliance is likely to face considerable opposition both within society and within the parties in parliament.
There are still strong anti-NATO feelings – the planned radar on Hungarian territory as part of the Alliance’s integrated air defence system (and more than 90% financed by NATO) has already caused a lot of political trouble.
2.7.4 The Two European Nuclear Powers Great Britain and France: Missile Defence Cuts Across Traditional Positioning Towards the United States
• France: Participating or not participating in the traditionally criticised US global shield while pursuing its own consensual TMD-related activities: This question has been clearly answered by the state (intimately intertwined with the strong and influential industrial sector) showing that it is extremely interested in participating in the US umbrella. This technological-economic interest is not at variance with the first major traditional foreign policy goal of la grande nation nucléaire: maintaining the status of a medium nuclear power with selective global aspirations and preserving (even enhancing) its nuclear status in view of a perceived increasing
missile threat. But those interests conflict definitively with the second objective:
autonomy and the refusal to subordinate to other powers. According to Ronja Kempin/Jocelyn Mawdsley this inconsistency explains both the French interest in participating in US defence missile programmes and the way of presenting it in a silent way as a genuinely French project. The United States remains the ambivalent point of reference as an open competitor and covert partner. 35
• Great Britain: Three major issues have to be explained: 1) Why a British ‘No’ to the US request regarding the upgrading of the Fylingdales radar was not a real option; 2) Why the protection of UK territory is not a priority, while 3) there is a consensus that theatre MD is necessary. Mark Smith’s answer can be summarised as follows: Maintaining the British status of a medium nuclear power with selective global power projection capabilities by an ‘Instinctive Altanticism’, i.e. a traditionally close relationship to the, in principle, undisputed United States. At the same time, contrary to France, a military-industrial complex is absent in the MD area, and Britain has a more cautious view of an evolving missile threat environment. The small influence of the arms industry combined with a growing Europeanist trend in recent years has had a remarkable effect, namely that British ‘Instinctive Atlanticism’ has not directly translated into a strong MD policy at the continental and the theatre level – in fact, British MD policy is much closer to that of many of its European allies than to its major transatlantic partner. 36 The fact that the other European nuclear power, France, is in this policy field, paradoxically much closer to the United States is largely due to the different importance and influence of the military-industrial sector.
35 See also Justin Vaïsse, French Views on Missile Defense (Washington, D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 2001), available at: http://www.brookingpp.edu/fp/cusf/analysis/missd.htm.
36 See also Jeremy Stocker, Britain and Ballistic Missile Defence 1942-2004 (London: Frank Cass, 2004); Gray, European Perspectives on U.S. Ballistic Missile Defense, op. cit.
2.7.5 Two Traditional US Allies in Conflict Regions and a Likely Strategic Partner:
Turkey, Israel, and India
• Turkey: Which TMD option should Ankara pursue? As Isil Kazan explains, the possibilities which the government is considering should be seen in the context of the following factors (with different positions both in the military and between the General Staff and the Foreign Ministry): The self-perception of Turkey as a geopolitical ‘buffer’ at the crossroads of several conflict-bound regions and its view of the growing threat from ballistic missiles in neighbouring countries. The people in the south-eastern part of the country have also had direct experience of stray missiles during the last Iraq War in 2003. The Turkish-based military industry has not played an important role in weighing those TMD options. Both the United States and the European Union remain important, though ambivalent strategic and economic/cultural partners, respectively, accentuating NATO’s role for Turkey. 37
• Israel: Its geographic position is even more exposed to direct missile threats from hostile non-democratic neighbours. But, as Reuven Pedatzur has emphasised, it is not Israel’s location per se which led to the development and deployment of the Arrow system. It was, first and foremost, the events of the Gulf War in 1991 in which Saddam Hussein broke with the central unwritten ‘rule of the game’ followed by all Arab states, namely not to fire missiles against civilian targets. And second, the Arab countries and Iran have accelerated their process of missile procurement. Especially the Gulf experience radically changed the attitude of the crucial actors – the ministry of defence, the military industries, and later the Israeli Defence Forces – which constitute Israel’s autonomous security establishment.
These efforts have to be seen in the overall strategic culture of Israel which has been undoubtedly offence-dominant. 38
• India: The primary interest of this non-aligned – and rising – democracy in acquiring theatre MD systems is almost exclusively determined by Pakistan’s missile capabilities, part of a long history of intense conflict, while the Chinese and the North Korean arsenals are not regarded as a (serious) threat. Rajesh Rajagopalan has analysed that the MD plans of the Bush administration are the second driving force, and New Delhi’s warming up to MDs may be seen as a way of improving its relationship with the United States and as part of a possible strategic partnership against the rise of the non-democratic Chinese rival. From a comparative perspective the three Asian democracies demonstrate how different the threat perception is: South Korea fears the United States as a menace to its identity, Japan is afraid of North Korea and Chinese missiles, while India’s concerns are Pakistan-centric. A crucial factor for explaining this variance of threat perception seems to be the above mentioned different foreign policy orientations and the historical conflict pattern in the case of India.
To summarise, what accounts for the variety of MD policies of the democracies analysed on an aggregate level? In a nutshell, it is not their formal status as a democracy and not their different quality as a democratic country within the spectrum of the stable, new, and 37 See Hikmet Sami Turk, Turkish Defense Policy, speech held at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 3 March 1999 (transcript), available at: http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC07.php?CID=34.