Sunday, November 21, 2010

Iran to join European Missile Defence Shield

Iran to join European Missile Defence Shield

by Hans Rollmann
Associated Pamphleteers (AP)

Negotiations with Iran over its participation in the European Missile Defence Shield have concludedsuccessfully, NATO’s chief announced Saturday at the alliance’s summit in Lisbon.

“Iran has committed to joining the missile defence shield and protecting Europe and itself from potentialmilitary and terrorist threats from abroad,” Anders Foggy Rasmussen announced at a press conference.

Iran’s surprise announcement comes hot on the heels of yesterday’s announcement that Russia
would also be joining in on the missile defence shield. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a written commitment indicating that NATO andRussia no longer considered each other a threat, and that both would work together to expand the military alliance and better equip it to counter whatever remaining countries it could plausibly label as threats. Analysts suggested Iran’s partnership would be based on the same type of agreement. Some insider sources suggested the EU and US would retain rights to spar with Iran over its development of nuclear reactors, while cooperating on matters of joint defense.

Rasmussen brushed off suggestions that with Iran’s joining the missile defence shield, the system would no longer be necessary.

“There’ll always be a need for a missile defence shield,” he explained. “We shouldn’t get wrapped
up in thinking about who might attack. What we need to focus on is who we’re defending. And with the number of countries that are part of our defensive shield growing, it’s only logical that we should increase the military capability of that shield.” Mr. Rasmussen noted, for instance, that both Mongolia and Madagascar still remained outside of the missile defence system, and therefore could pose potential threats to the European mainland in the future.

Defence industry contractors were also pleased. They noted that while the military and strategic value of the missile defence shield was dubious, its role in expanding arms production and other defence- related industries would provide an invaluable contribution to the global economy.

“We should think of the missile defence shield not so much as a strategic military asset, but rather as a financial stimulus plan,” said an industry spokesperson. “It demonstrates the continuing importance of NATO in today’s world, not so much as a military alliance perhaps but more as a sort of Scotiabank for the defence industry.”

Even British Prime Minister David Cameron, originally an outspoken opponent of both NATO and Iran, gave his grudging approval.

“NATO’s sort of like that old employee who’s been around longer than anyone can remember, but you just can’t quite convince to retire,” he said. “He can’t really do any of the tasks he’s assigned, and when he tries he often just bungles them and makes things worse, but if you tried to get rid of him you’d have the union all over you. I think building up missiles all around the world to protect the world from the rest of the world is a fairly harmless thing for him to be doing.”

Rasmussen, meanwhile, noted that negotiations with China over the possibility that it might join the missile defence shield were continuing on a positive footing. He emphasized however that even if China joined the European Missile Defence Shield, the need to continue expanding the system would be greater than ever.

“What critics don’t understand is that the missile defence system – no matter how large and all- encompassing it is – will never be foolproof,” he emphasized. “One weak spot we’ve already identified is the risk of a missile attack on Europe from the moon. If the Taliban, or Somali pirates, were able to get a foothold on the moon, or even worse Mars, we’d be in a very difficult strategic position. The ongoing expansion of NATO and the missile defence system play a vital role in countering that clear and present danger.”

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