As if things weren’t bad enough for Europe after the French and Dutch “No” to the European Union Constitution, a new divisive issue now threatens to strain Europe’s cohesion. The United States wants to establish an anti-missile defense system that is supposed to protect America and parts of Europe against missiles from the Middle East. The American missiles are to be stationed in Poland, with a radar system to be set up in the Czech Republic.
Russia is up in arms about the US plan. A month ago, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a fiery speech against the project during the Munich Conference on Security Policy. The US representatives were perplexed; the Europeans were shocked.
Now the US says it has reached agreement with Poland and the Czech Republic to study the concrete details of the stationing of the necessary defense systems. Once again, Europe is shocked: the two great powers of the Cold War seem not to be taking Brussels seriously.
Are we threatened with a new arms race between Russia and the US, with Europe once again the theater of their rivalry? Indeed, is a new Cold War looming?