Obama thorn in Poland's side
Poles have been upset by Obama's move to scrap a Bush-era missile defense plan, fearing it may embolden a more assertive Russia especially after Russian intrusion in Georgia and threats of interfering with Ukraine politics.
Poland has been a loyal NATO ally of America supporting with combat troops missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, helping the U.S. regarding the war on terror. The missile shield and batteries of partiot defense missiles were the expected quid pro quo.
Russia's deputy defense minister said that Moscow would scrap a planned deployment of Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, in response to the move by the US. But, Russia's top general said on Monday that no such decision had been taken.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski, has been very critical of Russia and strongly supported the shield as a sign of a greater U.S. military commitment to ex-communist central Europe.
Last week, Kaczynski -- whose twin brother Jaroslaw pushed hard for Poland to host the shield while prime minister until autumn 2007 -- said Prime Minister Donald Tusk's government bore part of the blame for Obama's decision.
Under the Bush plan, Washington would have installed 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a related radar system in the Czech Republic as protection against possible attack by Iran. It denied claims that the shield was intended to deter Russia.
According to thenews.pl: Following the US decision to scrap the anti-missile shied in central Europe, Poland’s state owned arms manufacturer Bumar has proposed an alternative anti-missile “protective umbrella” for the region.
According to Bumar, the “Polish shield” project - in development for a few years - would consist of three layers. The first would be constructed around the Polish designed surface-to-air GROM (thunder) portable missiles system, with a range of 4 to 6 kilometres.
The second and third layer would give defence range capabilities of 20 and 200 kilometres. The project would be based on Polish radar and command systems as well as Aster 30 rockets built by the French based Eurosam consortium.
“We are capable of designing protective umbrellas not only for Poland but also neighboring countries, too” claims Edward E. Nowak, the president of Bumar. According to the Rzeczpospolita newspaper, he has already presented Defense Minister Bogdan Klich with details of the project.
Estimates are that the Polish Shield alternative can be up and running in about 4 years.
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