United States should stand with its allies

Stephen Ontko

Americans felt helpless as Russia invaded an ally, Georgia, and to prevent this scenario from recurring, we must not hesitate to equip our allies with what they need to defend themselves, and to prevent them from falling in the future.

This is why Rep. Ellen Tauscher, a Democrat and chairman of the House Strategic Forces Subcommittee, should not obstruct, in any way, a missile defense pact between Poland and the United States. Unfortunately, Tauscher wrote such a deal would “build an ideologically-based system that is untested and certainly not ready, against a threat that has not yet emerged,” in a very skeptical column on the Huffington Post Aug. 20.

The Iranian nuclear threat has already been emerging for several years now, and the U.S. response to Iran’s actions has only been a few economic sanctions. Given Iran’s persistence in its weapons program, providing Poland the necessary defenses is the smallest consequences the world should be proposing.

Tauscher went on to say that we “need a system that works . against the threats of today.” Even if Iran’s progress with developing more deadly weapons is presumptively slow, this by no means should suggest that the world’s response in handling these threats should also remain sluggish.

First, this does not place our safety and security in a favorable position, and the nature of the threats could easily surprise an unsuspecting nation. Also, the absence of a powerful defense would fail to provide a deterrent to a nation developing military capabilities against the United States and allies. Because waiting for the perfect defense to protect ourselves against threats may mean waiting for surrender in the interim, any measure that is available must be taken.

Tauscher also claims that our current Patriot missile interceptor technology isn’t effective or ready.

“Democratic lawmakers intend to withhold funding for the interceptors planned for Poland until they are properly tested, a move that could delay the deployment for years,” The Seattle Times reported Aug. 21.

This doesn’t coincide with the involvement the missile defense system has in other strenuous regions in the world.

In just one instance, in order to help protect our allies in Japan, the Pentagon quickly laid out “plans to deploy advanced Patriot interceptor missiles on U.S. bases in Japan for the first time,” as a result of North Korea’s military endeavors, The Washington Post reported June 27, 2006.

Therefore, allowing a Patriot interceptor missile site in Poland would not be the first time such a program has been deemed appropriate.

Plus, once a Patriot interceptor missile station is begun, improvements are possible. For example, concerning Taiwanese missile defenses, as Agence France-Presse reported Nov. 13, 2007, the “Defense Security and Cooperation Agency said the upgrades would involve ground support equipment of three existing fire units so that they can be armed with the most advanced Patriot interceptor missiles.”

Although the Missile Defense Interceptors do not have a direct relationship to Russia’s military might, Poland pursuing its own military defenses with the United States demonstrates to the Russians that they cannot intimidate or impose their will upon Poland without serious ramifications.

The United States needs to get serious about defense and not wait until it’s too late to prevent its allies from being bombed into submission like Georgia. When it comes to Tauscher’s “ideologically-based system that is untested” belief about the Polish-U.S. alliance, it is noticeably absent from her House of Representatives’ Web site dealing with the issue. The United States and Poland are already bound ideologically through NATO, a relationship that can be heavily trying. With recent difficulties in defending against aggression toward those who share America’s values, any failure or delay to secure the peace with strength will put the lives of America’s allies at stake.

Contact columnist and senior economics major Stephen Ontko at [email protected].