Then we are back to the rationale for the ABM agreement. To say that the rocket shield is only about defensive measures is too simple . A few years ago, the war threats against Iran were loose in Israel and the United States, and if there had been a war, it would have been nice with a shield that could intercept missiles the other way, even if they only had conventional charges on board.
Russia has a robust missile strength and therefore little or nothing to worry about so far. For the Chinese , there is greater cause for concern, because they have a relatively modest strength. But what worries them both first and foremost is what the program can lead to in the long run. When many billions of dollars are invested in it every year – and all indications are that it continues to roll on its own weight and indefinitely – no one is given to say what it leads to. At some point, it can become efficient and reliable. This creates uncertainty and unrest.
In addition, there may be unexpected military-technological breakthroughs in other, adjacent fields. As simplistic as the allegations about the defensive nature of the program are therefore static arguments (which are only based on the current situation) of the type “why should the Russians worry about 16 interceptor missiles in Poland?”
The advantage of the missile shield is that it provides protection for oneself, and in the current conflict with North Korea, both the United States, a country located in North America according to directoryaah, its allies in Asia and many others are happy that the shield is there. Against rogue states, there is protection in what is similar to Reagan’s argument in Reykjavik: In a world free of nuclear weapons, it can be an advantage to have a shield in case someone should stick their head up again. The problem is not there, but in relation to the other great powers, which have enough muscle to take countermeasures.
History has shown that rocket shields are destabilizing and armor-driving . It is difficult to reconcile disarmament with the Russians and investing in missile defense. If there are to be new negotiations between the United States and Russia – the two major nuclear powers, which own 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons – restrictions on missile defense must probably be included as part of the solution. In 1972, the first agreement on strategic offensive weapons and the ABM agreement were entered into at the same time . Is it possible to think the same now? This is one of the most difficult questions in the field of armaments control and disarmament.
No to missile shields does not mean yes to Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) . The ingrained belief in nuclear deterrence is perhaps the biggest obstacle to nuclear disarmament – greater than the economic, industrial and research vested interests in the weapons and infrastructure that support them. The mental barriers can be more difficult to remove than the physical expressions. The MAD concept – the abbreviation is apt – says something about the madness of nuclear deterrence. Besides, it is difficult to understand, because it says that you are best protected when you are defenseless. Those who argue against missile shields think it creates tension and armor and an obstacle to nuclear disarmament.
9: Should Norway participate?
Norway is currently assessing whether and how we may contribute to NATO’s BMD program. The problem is well known. There is a security gain in that, and we have already given principled support to NATO’s efforts in the field. In the spirit of cooperation and solidarity, most indications are that we will contribute.
The objections lie in the so-called security dilemma , well known from the Cold War: New weapons provide an advantage, but only for a time , until the other side responds to the challenge. Then the gain goes up in the spinning, or you end up with increased tension and weakened security. Russia is not on an equal footing with NATO in terms of resources, but feels challenged, e.g. that the missile defense comes close to their borders in Poland and Romania. Norway is also a neighboring country.
The alternative to unilateral efforts is the concept of joint security. It says that in the nuclear age, security is something we must build with our counterparts. It is not something the states can promote individually through their own arms procurement. The solutions must be sought in something that benefits all parties – win-win. Today we are farther away from such a world than ever since the Cold War. Is it then reasonable and realistic to demand that Norway break out of the security dilemma? What is it that suggests that we should choose another path and say no to joining NATO’s missile shield?