Russian Defense Minister Igor D. Sergeyev said yesterday that if the US proceeds with a national missile defensesystem, Russia will respond with a new arms race to ensure that its strategic rocket forces will not be undermined.He said that Russia is not planning a new missile buildup, which it cannot afford, but asymmetrical technologies thatwould penetrate any missile shield.
The statement came two days after American officials told their European counterparts at a conference of top securityofficials in Munich that the United States intended to go ahead and develop a national missile shield after extensiveconsultations, whether Europe likes it or not.
According to the New York Times despite hopes that the missile defense issue will just go away, Europeanofficials now seem to accept, grudgingly, the fact that the new American team is determined to move ahead. Butaccording to German peace activists, the mainstream German papers are reporting a sharp divide between Europe and theUS on the issue.
The activists took to the streets on Saturday in support of their government and in protest of US Secretary ofDefense Donald Rumsfeld.
- Regina Hagen, activist in the German peace movement and member of the Board of Directors, Global NetworkAgainst Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space.
- DR. Juergen Scheffran, physicist and mathematician with the International Network of Engineers andScientists Against Proliferation and the German Association for Peace and Social Responsibility. He has worked sincethe early 1980s on disarmament and conflict studies.