US ‘Prepared to Put it in Writing’ Missile Defense Not Aimed At Russia

Ellen Tauscher Atlantic Council 2009

From James Joyner, the New Atlanticist:  Ellen Tauscher, Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, says  the United States is prepared  to "put it in writing" that NATO missile defense systems are not aimed at Russia. At the same time, however, "We cannot provide legally binding commitments, nor can we agree to limitations on missile defenses, which must necessarily keep pace with the evolution of the threat."

She made these remarks at Transatlantic Missile Defense: Phase II and the Lead Up to the NATO Chicago Summit, the Atlantic Council’s fourth annual conference on this subject.

Tauscher repeatedly underlined that "we must continue our efforts to develop missile defense cooperation withRussia." She noted that "We are continuing work to establish a political framework that would open the way for practical cooperation on missile defense, including a center that would coordinate radar data and another center that would coordinate operations."

In the boldest terms any administration official has yet used, she proclaimed, "The missile defense system we are establishing in Europe is not directed against Russia. We have said that publicly and privately, at many levels. We are prepared to put it in writing."

She laid this case out in great detail, declaring, "As full partners in missile defense, we would partner to counter threats originating outsideEurope, not each other. Our NATO European missile defense system is not and will not be directed at Russia, and Russiawould continue to be able to confirm that the system is directed against launches originating outside Europe and not from Russia."  

James Joyner is managing editor of the Atlantic Council.

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