The United States is looking to establish a powerful missile shield in Germany in a potential move that would further inflame tensions with both Moscow and Tehran.
Though NATO has long insisted that its missile defense systems are not directed at Russia, the Kremlin has repeatedly condemned what it sees as NATO encroachment in Eastern Europe, especially after countries like Romania — which is not engaged in any ongoing conflict with Russia — have recently installed their own US-supplied ballistic missile systems, with renewed multi-billion dollar Patriot missile expansions to follow.
Screenshot from a U.S.-Germany Anti-Air Missile Live-Fire Exercise In Greece, November 2017
And former Warsaw Pact turned NATO member Poland in late 2017 struck a $10.5 billion missile defense deal with the US. Also supposedly neutral non-NATO Sweden, which lies close to Russia’s western and northern borders, last year inked a $1 billion deal with the US for the advanced Patriot surface-to-air missile defense system.
So what are now reported as preliminary US military and German discussions about boosting European defenses with the proposed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in Germany will no doubt be interpreted as more of the same unnecessary expansive NATO spending and encroachment on Russia’s borders.
The talks further come as Europe and the US are at odds over the fate of the Iran nuclear agreement, with Washington threatening severe economic punishment for those countries trying to stick it out through opening trade and energy ties with Iran.
Close US Middle East ally Saudi Arabia, for example, shocked the world when news emerged last week that it has ceased awarding government contracts to German companies over anger at both Germany staying by the Obama-brokered JCPOA and recent criticism of Saudi meddling in Lebanese politics by German officials.
The Pentagon has denied plans to install the advanced THAAD system in Germany; however, Reuters reports that US European Command is pushing it in the wake of the White House pullout from the Iran nuclear deal:
U.S. European Command has been pushing for a THAAD system in Europe for years, but the U.S.