President George W. Bush and Polish President Lech Kaczynski recently discussed moving ahead with plans to deploy a missile defense system in Central Europe. The project would put ten interceptor missiles on Polish soil and a radar installation in the Czech Republic. Mr. Bush said the planned deployment of a missile defense system reflects the U.S. and Poland's desire for peace:
"We talked about how we can enhance the mutual security issues. And there is no better symbol of our desire to work for peace and security than working on a missile defense system, a missile defense system that would provide security for Europe from single or dual-launched regime that may emanate from parts of the world where leaders don't particularly care for our way of life, and/or in the process of trying to develop serious weapons of mass destruction."
President Kaczynski emphasized that the proposed missile defense system is intended to protect against attacks by rogue states such as Iran and North Korea:
"It is aimed at defense of our democracies against the countries who might have, or already do have, nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction."
The proposed missile defense system would be of no use against larger ballistic missile arsenals such as that possessed by Russia. The United States is committed to cooperation and transparency in its missile defense plans for Central Europe. That is why the U.S. has consulted over the years with both Russia and NATO allies and will continue to do so.
"We all face an emerging common threat," said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates in a newspaper commentary, "and America has proposed a practical solution. Europe above all, must know -- based on its own modern history -- that the time to cooperate is now, not when the threat is imminent."