A selection of your comments on our viewpoint piece, Russia's missile fears, in which Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of foreign affairs journal Russia in Global Affairs, spoke to the BBC News website about the spat over US plans to install an anti-missile system in Poland and the Czech Republic.
I am very glad to read these words by prominent Russian analyst. He gets right to the point and gives all pros and cons of the current freeze in the US-Russia relationship. As for me, United States use Eastern Europe, especially those states that suffered a lot from Russian Empire (Poland and Ukraine) as a small change. Those countries feel insulted and annoyed by long lasting Russian dominance, and that is why their leading politicians exploit any trifle to pinch a bear (Russia). From 1990s up until 2004-2005 the bear was in hibernation. Now it is awakened and strives to establish status quo. I hope the bear would have enough wisdom not to race with an eagle (US) and they would leave in peace. Otherwise, catastrophe might happen, eventually, because bears cannot fly?.
Ilshat, Manchester, USA
Even though they talk a lot about N Korea and Iran, but in fact, US control them quite well and they have got a lot cheaper solutions to protect anyone from the "danger". The AMS is not related to them at all, and done for completely different purposes. It's geopolitics, and anyone related to it would not even mention "axis of evil" countries seriously... It is obvious that Russia, and some other countries would be left with no choice, but develop new systems to overcome the AMS. Not that they don't do already, but as imbalance increases they would have to speed up the process. You can say honestly (as Putin did) or not talk about it openly, but there is no doubt that AMS bases, radars, missiles bases, etc (Russian or American) are the first targets of attack in an escalating conflict. All that would not make any country more secured.
President Putin takes a very sensible stance on the proposed US military expansion into Eastern Europe. The AMS becomes an integral part of the US nuclear arsenal. Do the Europeans really need American nukes in their back yard? Russia is already surrounded by a ring of American military bases in the former Eastern block states and Soviet republics. She also now shares borders with several new quazi-tyrannical states that the US keeps on a short leash and sets them off to bite Russia when expedient. The AMS is another affront that does not achieve any useful purpose, but makes things globally much worse.
Yuri Zharikov, Odessa, Ukraine
Putin is right: the US anti-missile system is an existential threat to Russia's existance. 10 missiles now will become 1000 missiles in ten years time. And who will guarantee the US wouldn't tip these alleged "anti-missile missiles" with nuke warheads? The defunct ABM-treaty recognized that, if country 1 could nuke country 2 with impunity, because it could shoot down incoming missiles of country 2, the ONLY logical course of action for country 2 was to pre-emptively fire its missiles at country 1, before country 1 had brought this anti-missile system online. In short: "use 'em, or lose 'em"...
Roel, Leuven, Belgium
Is it any surprise that the US would want to maintain its global dominance and provide every option available, especially when we know that we cannot rely on other nations to solve our problems ? Those in the EU need to realize that this isn't being unwillingly imposed on your governments. The EU should grow a spine and prove that it can independently act without the US military/economy, otherwise nothing is going to change- get REAL! Additionally, it really doesn't help that the Russians and the Chinese consistently undermine the US's position in dealing with rouge states. What the hell are we supposed to do? If those "powerful" states want to play with the big boys then so be it. Certainly there are always more diplomatic options, but the truth is every nation is out for its own interest and if there is room to expand and flex muscle, someone will always fill that vacuum.
Andrew, Chicago, USA
Quote: "many of the people I have talked to in private have told me they believe the anti-missile system is a US tactic to prevent the EU from becoming an independent player in foreign policy". A fantastic point which is rarely articulated - US foreign policy & particularly it's 'Special Relationship with Britain' always seems divisive & geared to weaken the EU, maintaining their superior position as the world's only superpower. Coincidence?
Iain, Bristol, UK
Hmm, let's see---Putin has botched the Ukraine (remember he called to congratulate yanukovich), and he's botched Georgia, the Baltics and Poland. He's killed off the free press, in particular TV, in his country. Remember that no matter what he says or does he is ALWAYS portrayed as a winner on TV in Russia. Russia is far less free today, for example, than it was even in 1988 in the USSR!! And the U.S. is supposed to listen to him??? His country is weak and poor, and old ladies beg EVERYWHERE on the streets of Moscow. His country is skid row, and he's worrying about U.S. missiles?! Geez, maybe solve your domestic problems first. Shouldn't he worry more about Russia's shrinking population?? He's a loser leader of a loser country and he should be ignored.
John Kluver, Tucson, USA
Rogue nations. Who's to decide which nation is a 'rogue' one? and what 'rogue' exactly means? There are UN rules and Russia strictly abides with them as nuclear materials are concerned. Why the US didn't stop Pakistan (Israel) and bomb it into quarks after it acquired nuclear weapons? Why Iran is worse? Pakistan is surely more unstable and unpredictable. What if Japan decides to go nuclear? There are no easy answers, it is better to wait and see. A country may acquire a nuclear deterrent and behave. You can always launch a nuclear war. How can you stop Iran? A military action may cause worse consequences than patient politics.
Pavel, Rostov, Russia
A pox upon both your houses. The global economic and military dominionism of the USA government and the resurgent autocratism of Putin's government are the festering poison that is so revolting for the average citizen of the world who is trying to make a world that is livable for ALL it's citizens. The impudent arrogance of both governments is reprehensible.
Harold L Nicol, St Paul USA
...Ever since Britain lost superpower status at the end of 19th century it has been thriving on balancing power dynamic between Europe and the US... What is happening today is no different. Britain and the US are trying to keep the status quo in the regional and global distribution of power. They are trying hard to preempt any meaningful change that can undermine their strategic positions. They want to deny the continent any chance of emerging strong as a whole. Playing on anti-Russian and pro-American sentiments in young states of Eastern Europe is a smart preventive tactic to weaken European unity and regional security and, thus, secure the status quo for long time to come... The only problems is, as Mr. Lukyanov put it "there are big players watching on the sidelines - China, India, and Iran - that can emerge as winners" if the US gets stuck keeping European continent weak. If, however, the US and Britain jointly manage to drive another long-term wedge in Europe (regional "Cold War"), it will be able to afford to get busy with weakening others. Now THAT will be the start of the New American Century. If that happens, Britain will have to get busy making the US dependent on British as the irreplacable agents meddling in European affairs and keeping Europe weak. Otherwise, Britain risks being reduced to a mere lapdog of the Americans. Although that will happen anyway if the US project of the New American Century truly gets realized.
Yevgeni, Moscow, Russia
As a citizen of the country, Ukraine, which Mr Lukanov calls former integral part of the Soviet Union, I would million times say "God bless America!", again, just in the case of deploying anti-missile defence shield in Eastern Europe, because this is completely correct and up-to-date decision, despite of my criticism of other actions of the Bush's Administration. I'm surprised how blind sometimes Western Europeans are in terms of Russia. Something I've conceived of Mr Lukanov's article as well as Russian President's behaviour is that this country has been planning to become new Soviet Union (even precursory look at modern Putin's Russia displays that it had become so already). And I want to ask all people here so worried about global warming, why Mrs Merkel, if she is so worried about this issue, does not openly say that Russia is major energetic terrorist? In the beginning of 2006, when Russia blackmailed my country by gas price, I heard words of support only from Poland, Baltic Countries and the United States. Mrs. Merkel instead called only for fast compromise between Ukraine and Russia, clearly understanding that the price of this compromise could be only shifting control over our main gas pipelines to Russian GazProm? Oh, of course, do German enterprises, which 40% depend on Russian gas supplies, causing pollution too, care about something like Ukraine?
Oksana, Kyiv, Ukraine
This defense system tips the balance of power completely, creating a super power with the single most biggest nuclear arsenal. What would a wannabe president with the same superiority complex as Bush do with this power on nations opposed or making things difficult. This should be discussed at the UN to ratify the implications of such moves, this doesn't just affect Russia.
Gerry Mangan, Basingstoke, England
All Russia has to do is stop providing Uranium to Iran, stop largely siding with them on their nuclear program and forth and stronger back the calls for North Korea to disarm. If Russia wasn't aiding these countries through it's lack of will for tougher sanctions or tougher action against these nations then they wouldn't be a nuclear risk, hence the US would also have no excuse for needing a missile shield. Russia is as much at fault in helping give the US an excuse for a missile shield in the first place helping these rogue nations...
i think that 'europe' just need someone to be afraid of, and now i read so many anti-russian reviews and almost nothing that explains russian position without fear of 'big bad russia'. its very pity
Igor, Moscow, Russian Federation
I have no brief to make for Mr. Putin, who seems to be more of an autocrat than a democrat. But it is absurd to compare contemporary Russia to the former Soviet Union. U.S. Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry S. Truman had the wisdom to understand that you do not treat a former foe like a convicted criminal, but rather like an errant friend whose friendship might be won again. It was needlessly provocative to extend NATO right up to the Russian border, and it is needlessly provocative to attempt to put elements of an anti-missile defense in countries bordering on Russia. There are anti-ballistic missile radars and interceptor missiles that can be deployed aboard ships which can be stationed off of the coasts of North Korea and Iran. This is where it is most feasable to detect and intercept ballistic missiles just after they are launched anyway.
George, Somewhere in Texas
...It is not the case that Europe's Russia policy is filtered through Poland; only in the last few weeks has the EU finally recognized any of Poland's concerns about Russia's behaviors. Further, if the EU did base its policies towards Russia on Poland, that would still be a potentially advantageous situation for Moscow, as, for all the historical hostility, most Poles understand that their security and prosperity ultimately depend on finding some accommodation with Russia. Poland will never be fully secure without Russia also feeling secure, and an economically prosperous Russia would benefit Poland immensely -- while an impoverished and politically unstable Russia will always threaten Poland's own economic and political security. We have no choice; we are (relative) neighbors, like it or not, and most Poles understand that just as renewed relations with Germany had to be rebuilt, so too will someday a rapprochement with Moscow be necessary. That, however, will take two sides to achieve, and as I said, for now the onus is on Russia to decide whether its imperial past or a potentially prosperous future is more important.
Tomek, Londonderry, NH USA
The shield is "defensive." So calm down all of you America haters. In fact, after listening to how much you hate us i think we need more defense sites. I bet you wish you had a shield too. Well, if you're nice we'll put you under the umbrella. If not, you can play with the trustworthy Russians, the loving North Koreans, and the ever so friendly Iranians. I'm sorry that we're not like them enough for you to like us.
Alex Turner, Las Vegas, US
The analysis is mostly excellent. Russia, however, is not "sadly encouraging" the situation: it is all the US that is being obdurate because it cannot begin to imagine life on a planet where it does not, in the manner of the most spoiled of brats, get its own way. Neither are Britain & France "formerly" Empires: that is just pap for the primary grades. We all know that America, Britain, France, Spain & Germany continue to command vast Empires to this day, even if there is some self-government in their cultural or economic dependencies. Russia is not "asking to get something back" -- i.e. 'superpower' or even 'great power' status. Russia was, and remains, a mighty nuclear power not to be taken lightly. The idea that it was ever not powerful is as silly as the suggestion would be that American was not a global power during its global Depression -- or after 9/11, or even now, when it remains on its knees in Iraq & incapable of extricating itself from a small botched war. Let's set aside the propaganda slogans & the politically correct cant, and look at simple, patent realities staring us in the face. Can the US afford to go to war with Russia, for example over Kosovo? Of course not. Can Europeans afford a revival of the decade of gore & agony that brought about the Kosovo problem in the first place? Not at all -- much less a major or even minor conflict between the US & Russia. Kindly simply turn off Bush's microphone... & stop throwing petrol on a fire that is rapidly swelling out of control...
Maria Amadei Ashot, Berkeley, California
I'm not sure I particularly believe/trust Russia or the US, but I do envy Russia's ability and willingness to stand up to Bush and say 'No'.
Nik, Milton Keynes
The true question is why America is taking this course of action against Russia at this time? Its military is overstretched, its global popularity is at an all-time-low, and Russia is one of the few world powers that is content to not challenge America if it is left alone. Why does America antagonize Russia while pretending that unapologetically totalitarian regimes in P. R. of China and Saudi Arabia are 'friends'?
Mike, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada
The fact of the matter is, The American have provided security to the world, can you imagine without American security? God Bless America...
Great analysis! When the USSR put nuclear missiles in Cuba it didn't change anything strategically either, both the US and the SU were capable of mutual destruction. A few extra missiles fired from Cuba would not have changed that. Yet, the Americans made a huge fuss about it! That's exactly the situation here, anything that diminishes or degrades Russia's nuclear capability is clearly an act of aggression.
What a shame that no EU country leader has guts to accept that Mr Putin is right.
Amazing timing: Did Bush and Putin agree in advance of the G8 meeting to have this missile issue overshadow the very real threat to this planet, global warming, so that they could avoid having to discuss it? And by the way has Bush ever stopped to think that rising sea levels caused by global warming triggered by US in-action could be just as devastating to coastal areas of nuclear armed India and Pakistan as a direct attack on them and that at some point in many years time they may point their weapons at the US to save their own land?
Colin McKenzie, Manchester, UK
The article that is presented here has some validity in some respect about the protection of Eastern European countries because neither the Russian nor the Western Eurpean countries would come forward to protect them other than United States of America. The Eastern Europeans feel much secure if the Americans are there to save them and by virtue if and when their security interests are jeopardized by either Western Europe or the Russians. In this context, it is fair to point out that out of this tension about the Missile Defense system initiated by the U.S may have some validity to the protection of Europe overall as we all know that Western Europe will not make such a defense plan that would serve up as a common goal for all Europeans. It is not only going to bankrupt them but also will not have a cohessive defense policy to safeguard European interest. Yes, Putin may have a reason to be upset about but he may take it easy not worrying to much about Russian security interest because he has asserted himself aligning with the the Americans and the Europeans in a common security interest of the global world that we live in. He must realize that the old Geopolitical game that had been fought early in the 20th century is not going to work and for that reason he must work jointly with the U.S to irradicate poverty, terrorism from the face of this earth.
Azim, Harrisburg, PA, United States
Yes we did drop the bomb...and the entire planet was not destroyed. As a matter of fact, the enemy did not care enough about therr own people so we had to drop a second one before they surrendered. It's tough being the only remaining super power. It would be a lot tougher on the rest of you, if we weren't.
Chuck D, US Mil - Deployed
I think the bases could just be a wedge issue to put pressure on Russia to deal with Iran. It's the Russians who are building the Reactor for Tehran. I wouldn't be suprised if the State Department says "Russia, if you can help us make sure Iran doesn't get the bomb we won't humiliate you by putting these bases in your former sphere of influence." The same goes for the British and the Russian spy case. It might all be a way to put pressure on Moscow.
TJ, South Dakota USA
It's obvious that the West is on the path of confrontation with anything it regards as 'incompatible' with Western interests and was encouraged, so to speak, by the unbalance in the UNSC after the USSR and allies ceased to exist. It was offered a finger and decided to go for the whole hand. The Russian government finds that the circling of its territory by US/Nato (and belittling of Slavs?) has gone far enough - rightfully IMO - and is determined to restore the balance. We should get used to the idea that there can't be a Yin without Yang.
JJ van Kempen, Den Haag, Netherlands
Why is everyone so quick to call the United States a bully? Modern Russia under Putin is just the USSR by another name. It is deeply unsettling. Have we forgotten their barbarousness in Afghanistan and inside the Iron curtain? Putin is... a despotic autocrat - just how accountable is he? Is Russia trustworthy? No.They use their new-found economic clout to strangle former CIS countries. Is Russia stable? No. What happens when oil prices drop etc? Why should we continue fearing a vast poverty stricken country with a declining population.Why can't the US protect the West from nuclear attacks? Russia only need to fear this if they plan on bombing the West otherwise they should relax. Why should we respond every time a decaying ex-superpower wants to flex its muscles? Maybe the nuclear defence system might finally highlight the absurdity of Nuclear missiles. If not- at least we're safe.
No-one needs to be a lap dog, and surely no-one will laugh if US does put the missiles shield. Takes one or the other radical view point to tip the balance, doesn't it? Actually, it might not happen (it's expensive and military spend only helps sending US into a solid budget deficit) - some of the US objectives are already achieved 100% anyway - divide and conquer that is. It's amazing how oblivious people remain: may I ask a simple question - to whose benefit the current situation is? who exactly is provoking, dividing and conquering; preventing us to benefit? Has EU not learnt any lessons from history ? we have a great leverage of strong western economies and a willing growing strong market next door! As well as an excellent collar for provision of peace. Let's be honest - it's a gold mine for the city.. Why in the world are we not pursuing it and entertaining someone else's tactics and interests (who's interests, by the way, do not include our wellbeing - wake up)??
Mr Lukyanov is absolutely right. Russia has every right to be aggressive in this case. It is a cause of worry for India also and any other country with nuclear weapons if a global missile defence system comes into place. It would give the US complete immunity in case of a war. America is systematically trying to conquer the world. They seem to be afraid of the fact that China, Russia and India are growing stronger and want to stop this. Europe on the other hand should realise they are not going to benefit from this missile shield. When it comes to a war, America would not care one bit what happens to europe. Europe should not alienate Russia keeping old cold war memories in mind. They have to realise the present situation with America having it selfish and dangerous objectives.
I can see a few fair points in general however when talk about Russia's interest in Economic growth and want to be in the club I think they should be prepare to play by the rules of the club. Can any of the developed nations see Russia contributing anything to that extent other than playing cheap games with immaturity and aggressive outburst from Kremlin instad of intelligent political and tactical manoeuvres to promote their genuine desire and comitment.What actualy went wrong to Glasnost & Perestroika one should wonder.
M Thomas, London, UK
Europe needs what the US has to offer!! Its not only rogue states like Iran and North Korea which we need to contend with, but Russia as well. The most feared would be Russia, because when the chips are down, its the rogue states and Russia who will join hands against the US and Europe. And believe me, its heading that way soon, unfortunately though!
Juliana Smith, Croydon
The various comments are quite enlightening. But whatever the real reasons for this new chill in global nuclear politics, the most worrying thing may be the growing inability of U.S policy-makers to distinguish their own propaganda from real threats, and to systematically dismiss the protests of those who disagree like Mr Putin. It would be excessive to claim that the world no longer cares for any thing that Washington says, but people - powerless as they may be - are not idiots, and it is equally doubtful if a nation's strategic interests can be durably ensured through browbeating and force. The other serious reason for concern is the complacency of major nuclear stakeholders like China. Their fence sitting tactics, far from weakening the U.S or gaining them any strategic edge, has instead helped to reinforce the position of the U.S, thus enabling this latter to move its mile stones into central Asia since the collapse of the USSR and its satelite states.
Dominic Lulu, C.D Spain
Russia is right. Anyone who takes a detailed look at what the experts are saying and have been saying for the last decade or so (and not since last week) will know that the US, being in a unique position as the most militarily powerful nation on Earth, will want to consolidate it's position and keep ahead of the other rising powers while it can before the other world powers can catch up. One of the ways the US will stay ahead of the others is by having a nuclear first strike option, where by the US military can destroy a rival nuclear power in a first strike without having to fear a devastating nuclear retaliatory response since what nuclear weapons the opposing military may launch (those that survived the first strike) will be intercepted by the Global US ABM system. Of course to set up such a system will take a few more decades (more or less) but for the US military, it will be worth it. What we are seeing in Poland and the Czech Republic is the first steps for such a system. Such systems will be able to track and intercept the older Russian missiles that are in it's radar coverage even if Russia shoots them towards the North Pole. The US knows only they have the financial resources and technical know how to build a Global ABM Network at this moment in time. They are going ahead with it. The US will not be able to impose itself on others using purely conventional means, but with WMDs it can.
Bablu Rahman, Haywards Heath, U.K
We Polish do not want missiles on our soil, do not want to be a target but we know, we cannot rely on Europe which is depending on Russia's energy supplies more and more. Russia's never been reliable partner! You witness it on daily basis. Russia ( Soviet U) had destroyed our country for 50 years, plus between 1939 - 41 of WWII killed more Poles then Germans did. I know US shields ain't the best solution but at least something. Don't get me wrong, I think that the USA is the bigest danger for peace on our globe but that's why we need to stick with them. This is business.
ROB, Krakow, Poland
Reagan offered to make the original "Star Wars" systems available to other nations - "We're not gonna give it away, they're gonna have to pay for it..." If the US makes the current systems available to Russia, surely that rebalances the equation? It could be useful for all concerned to have interceptors closer to the likely origins of hostile missile launches.
D Wilson, London, UK
Yeah, I also agree with the article. lets agree on that US is the sole power and is trying very hard to protect its interests while undermining the others......be it the attacks on the middle east or the simplest thing like not accepting the CO2 emission curbs set prior to the G8 meet. It is doing the same thing in India by that Nuclear agreement which will retard the nuclear capabilities of India while 2 nuclear countries namely China and Pakistan sit next to it and mind you both are hostile to India.
Devendra, New Delhi,India
ITS ALL ABOUT PUTIN... Just as Russia was about to emerge from 1000 years of darkness, into the light of democratic freedom - Putin and his KGB gang has plunged his people back into the abyss... The EU must go directly to the Russian people and offer them a different vision of their future ¿ a future of a strong democratic Russia - economically and politically.... The EU must explain to the Russian people that because of the expansion of NATO and the EU for the first time in a thousand years - Russia is free from invasion from the West. Russian mothers no longer have to bury their sons by the millions due to invasion or leave their dead bodies on European battlefields due to their government alliances with Western countries. The expansion of the EU through the Enlargement Process and the creation of a Special Free Trade Zone including a privileged partnership with Russia is the only way to guarantee freedom and democracy for Russia and Central Asia and oil/gas supply security for Europe.
Larry Houle, Spring Texas
I think Russia are right to object in this instance and can understand why Putin has reacted in the way he has done. I was infuriated when I heard of how the USA wanted to plant various defence systems across Europe as though the continent belongs to them... It's about time someone stood up to them and said 'no, this is unacceptable'.
Sarah, Hereford, UK
And what if Russia, or Venezuela, or some other party not in the Freedom Club, did a deal so they could place military bases in either Canada or Mexico (or Cuba) to protect some intangible interests against unidentified parties? Would the US stand idly by? Also, given current US record with truth and integrity and (almost) unilateral interventionism, why shouldn't Russia hyperventilate?
paolo, powell, usa
In my opinion, we should fear not only Russia, but also the US. If Russia's and China's nuclear capabilities are undermined, or even useless, then the US would be the only nuclear superpower capable of sending one of those missiles ( of which they've got thousands, by the way) to Europe. This situation is a double edged sword. We, Europe, should arm ourselves against both.
Markus Pihlström, Helsingfors, Finland
I thought your article was another in a long list of 'pundits' making their living by chewing up today's news and regurgitating it to market to the masses. Until the ending statement about (Russia) being "a young..." . It reminds me of US history in the 1800s, when today's powerful families and organizations were first starting up, ie. 'the robber barons' of the Old WEST (trains and newspapers). I think I understand Russia a bit better now - thanks.
Bill, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, USA
Under the current administration the moral compass of America has changed dramatically. In a world of rapid technological advances and changes in warfare the US is pursuing an approach easily circumvented. The US appears to becoming more out of step with the world at a time when friends and allies are most important. Combine this with the US habit of pursuing its interests at the expense of all others and we have a worrying scenario.
bill wallace, Perth , Australia
I think Mr. Lukyanov fails to mention the primary reason for the US missile defenses in Europe: the inevitable attack by Iran and North Korea against Poland. As Bush said, these defenses have nothing to do with Russia. Russia really has no missiles to speak of. And, even if it did, everyone in Poland loves the Russians. It's the North Koreans that the Polish are really concerned with. Hordes of starving North Korean soldiers. Thus, every major kielbasa [Polish sausage] factory must be protected.
Veniamin Nikolayev, Philadelphia, USA
Take a look at the geography - if Russia were to fire missiles at the USA, they would go over the north pole, not Poland or the Czech Republic. I would suggest, therefore, that they are next to useless as a defence against Russian missiles. Now if they base any in northern Canada that would be a different matter altogether.
Mike, Salisbury UK
Europe is pathetically spineless, divided and weak and the US and Russia untrustworthy and childish. With the enlargement of the EU, any possibility of a common foreign and defense policy is lost which is why it is necessary to retain the British nuclear deterrent, however Russia itself poses little threat as long as we maintain independent energy supplies (i.e. nuclear) as at the moment the Russian state does not have the money to throw at a huge increase in its military capability. European incompetence on foreign policy is just staggering.
Why do we always dodge the real issue - oil? The ongoing Iraq war is about installing a U.S. friendly regime to secure oil for America's future energy requirements. The war in Afghanistan is due to the Taliban not allowing a gas-pipe to run through it from Kazakhstan to the Pakistan coast. And now that Iran has started negotiating oil sales to China, instead of America, the U.S. seems to be moving its pieces around the global chess-board in readiness to secure yet more oil, by force (again) if need be. No wonder Putin's worried. Russia, with its own not inconsiderable oil and gas reserves, could be the next battleground - sandwiched between China one side, and America's AMS on the other.
Robert Hossack, St Austell, UK
All I see is American Neo-Cons forcing their world view agenda & Russian fascists pushing theirs. All it does is highlight Europe's weakness, even if you're generous it's obvious that economic "soft power" can only get you so far. Europe has common interests with both America and Russia but without Europe-wide co-ordinated miltary procurement, strategy and forces then Europe will always be stepped on by one or the other or both. Until Europe has the military muscle to push it's viewpoint and command some respect then we'll always be sidelined and at risk.
Chas, Manchester, UK
We must do everything in our power not to become dependent on Russian gas and oil. Back track on deals already done or in negotiations. The Americans are playing some long term strategy for their own benefit. Just keep out of it.
Ray Sparrow, Woodley England
I'm an American engineer who earned my living designing missile defense systems for many years, and I agree with Russia. This is the start of a world-wide system of surveillance radars and interceptor missiles. It is part of the Neocon's agenda to establish a lasting American hegemony. Countries who do not wish to live under such a new world order should oppose it now.
George Works, St. Eustatius, Netherlands Antilles
In ascribing to the latest 'defensive' missile plan a diabolically devious long-term plan to ensure US hegemony well into the 21st Century is probably to credit US foreign policy planners with far more intelligence and foresight than history suggests they actually possess. The problem for us all, including Mr Putin, is not that the US is too clever, too sophisticated in its understanding of the world and US global interests: the problem surely is the dangerously unsophisticated world view which permeates all levels of American society, including the higher echelons of the US administration. Shouting at Mr Bush et al from behind the barricades is counter-productive in-so-far as it only serves to further reinforce their simplistic perception of foreign affairs. In school, in life and in the conduct of foreign policy understanding is more usually achieved through reasoned explanation, rather than polemics or confrontation.
Do not think that everyone in America (USA) supports this "shield" for Europe. Most of us in the US do not want this war in Iraq, we do NOT want NATO, we do NOT want our troops in Europe, we do NOT support "FREE TRADE" or "Globilization". Don't just judge us by CNN or "W". He does NOT speak for most of us. Give America some credit. At least we try to pretend to care about others, we raise money for relief efforts, some of us are trying to be good world citizens...so don't give up on America. Please.
Marc Daniel, Charleston, South Carolina, USA
Excellent summary from Fyodor Lukyanov... What I wonder is whether Mr Lukyanov would agree that, from the USA's point of view, the AMS could be perceived as a mechanism for diverting global attention away from US failures/war crimes (depending on your point of view) in the Middle East. This dispute flared up a couple of months ago, when the 4-year anniversary of the Iraq invasion had just been clocked, the Democrat-led Congress was fighting for withdrawal (which it seems to have given up, sadly), and US military strategy was under intense scrutiny and criticism. Suddenly the front page focus is all on Russia, and the EU and USA seem to have succesfully sidelined the issues of the Middle East and other problem areas. The Middle East is no less volatile than before, with Palestine, Lebanon and Turkey/Kurdistan witnessing either mass violence or heightened tensions, Guantanamo is in a legal shambles, Israel's brutal military occupation of Palestine is reaching its landmark 40th anniversary, yet the top international stories have consistently been Putin's rhetoric on the West and the AMS, the Russia-Estonia clashes, and so on. President Putin insists that the AMS is an affront because there is no threat to the US from either Iran or North Korea - apparently Iran have no ICBMs and will not do so for 5-8 years, and as for North Korea - if they were to attack the USA, even in theory, surely they would go over the Pacific, which is much shorter in distance? There are plenty of indicators that the threat countered by the AMS is a fabrication, and recent history has shown that the US (and UK) governments under the present administrations are prepared to lie to the public to get what they want. It is one thing to say that Putin is electioneering, which is a perfectly reasonable theory, but given that both the current US and UK governments may well be on their way out within the next two years, this could be perceived as a last stand to ensure that their neo-conservative, 'New American Century' ways remain embedded in the global political framework. (They really have nothing to fear, for, as Zbigniew Brzezinski shows in his latest book, the Democrats' way of thinking in foreign policy doesn't differ hugely in its imperialist overtones). As for the Czechs and Poles and the East-West Europe divide, it is the USA, still the global superpower despite upsurges from India, China, Russia and others, which has the most to gain from exploiting these disagreements. They continue to "divide and rule", as they always have, all over the world. Putin's Russia is countering the USA's power games by befriending the Middle East (talk of a 'Gas-OPEC' or equivalent "forum" springs to mind straight away) and builiding diplomatic and economic relations with strategic countries including Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Japan, and China.
Simon Lewis, London, UK
Well... I try to look @ it from both sides. The whole plan is useless. If someone wants to fire a nuke, they will. If they do then? Guess we are done as humans. Every single one of us know the consequences. Oh, wait a minute! Someone did drop the bomb, right? Anyway... I hope peace will prevail as usual. Its only going to take all the righteous to bond together and defeat WHATEVER evil that is out there!
Jzen, SF, California
Russia only has to worry about the US anti-missile defence if she plans on firing her nuclear missiles. Does Russia REALLY anticipate doing this? If so then we need the protection of the shield and if not then Russia can laugh as Bush wasting billions.
The idea of an unopposed and un-opposable US superpower, a power that need not fear anyone else and is able to obtain the 'full spectrum dominance' it craves, is deeply scary. The quiet birth of the kind of global dominance set out in the Project for a New American Century, must be noticed. Or else we may see a kind of global apartheid, where the US gets whatever it wants whenever it wants and howsoever it desires and the only way for any other nation to have its interests even nearly served is to be play lap dog. Just as the US thought it was its manifest destiny to control the continent of North America, at the expense of the natives, it now seems to think it is its manifest destiny to control the globe, at the expense of every other person on the planet. At least the cold war brought balance.
James Waldorf-Nicol, Kent, UK
Mr Lukyanov said: "If the idea of a global anti-missile system becomes a reality, the nuclear capability of Russia, China and other countries will be undermined." And why exactly is this a bad thing? Surely we, in Europe, would be safer if Russia and China were unable to use their nuclear weapons against us? I find it very hard to sympathise with the Russian viewpoint when their President is threatening to point nukes at us...
[no name supplied]
"Russia only has to worry about the US anti-missile defence if she plans on firing her nuclear missiles. Does Russia REALLY anticipate doing this? If so then we need the protection of the shield and if not then Russia can laugh as Bush wasting billions." You miss the point entirely. A system like this can be used aggressively. The US can launch a strike against another nation in full knowledge that that nation cannot strike back. It is the death of the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction which is what prevented the cold war escalating. The US can use the leverage of its ability to launch unanswered nuclear and conventional strikes to achieve whatever it demands.
James Waldorf-Nicol, Kent, UK
Putin is totally right to be concerned. The US hypocrisy on this is frightening. Why should Russia's reaction to US plans be described as aggressive and unhelpful when it is US plans for domination that give rise to this level of anxiety the globe over. Some are describing this as 'cold peace' - I don't think the US ever ended the cold war...and are now threating a nuclear strike on Iran to stop it developing a defence against US armed Israel! As a US general said long ago - "we fought WW1 in Europe, we fought WW2 in Europe and if you fools let us we'll fight WW3 there too".
I've thought from the start that this all seems like the US causing trouble, and reading more into the background just strengthens my views. Bush isn't trying to protect "The Homeland", he is sending out a message that the US is in charge, and in charge of a lot. I'm sorry, but it's not Russia that needs to be put in it's place, it's the United States.
Miles Hayler, Warwickshire, UK
Wake up people, the US that people looked towards for inspiration is no longer there - it hasn't been since Bush came to power in the questionable elections of 2000. Although Russia isn't a better option, we need a bi-polar world in order to be free and safe - each side will think very carefully before launching wars to impose their wills on the peoples of the world.
The US under the Bush administration invaded Iraq under false pretences so why should the Russian government trust them on anti-missile systems. President Putin is right to resist this plan and it says little for the East Europeans who are allowing anti-missile systems on their territory.
Kenneth Clark, Hemel Hempstead UK
Putin is exactly right to be concerned as should we. Whats going on with the world? Is the EU that useless? Why can't we put our own missile defence system in? By relying on the Americans we are removing any control in world affairs we thought we had. Its pathetic how weak europe is as a power. So weak we don't mind being used by america as a dumping ground for shot down nuclear missiles. Tony Blair's support for Bush in this makes him more than a laptop dog, it makes him a traitor.