15 May 2007

Star Wars

The Economist: Pining for the cold war: Condoleezza Rice & Vladimir PutinA week ago, I reported on the financial crisis facing Europe's bid to compete with America's Global Positioning System, the Galileo project. As expected, in its bid to make the continent the world's mightiest commercial and military empire, the European Commission now looks set to fund the ailing satellite navigation system.

Ever one step ahead in this battle for control of the skies, the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has today announced in Moscow that America will not allow Russia to prevent it from extending its missile defence shield into Eastern Europe. However, Washington still needs Russia's support if it is going to maintain international pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme.

So, we have Europe and America determined to prevent Iran from developing its nuclear programme, but slowly heading for conflict over Europe's potential military independence. Meanwhile, their mutual rival Russia is supplying the Islamic Republic with nuclear fuel and has today agreed to build a nuclear research centre in Burma—another pariah state.

Clearly seeing an opportunity to reassert its claim to be a superpower, Russia is now threatening to pull out of its 1987 treaty with the United States banning intermediate range nuclear forces and to end its commitments to force reductions under the Treaty on Conventional Weapons. So, when Mr Putin criticises the US for its "almost uncontained hyper use of military force" around the world and accuses it of making the world a more dangerous place, observers are surely right to talk of a new Cold War era dawning.

The question is, given this global struggle for superpower status between Europe, America, Russia, and emerging powers in the Middle East and Asia, what should Britain's role be in the new wargame? I invite your suggestions in the comments.


Doug said...

I don't have an answer for Britain's role, but don't forget the China factor, which could easily overtake America as a consequence of America's military overstretch and economic debt to China.

Better Off Out said...

Britain could start by (1) admitting defeat in Iraq and concentrating properly on stemming the flow of Heroin from Afghanistan, and (2) leaving the EU and joining NAFTA.