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Ramstein to host NATO missile shield command

The Local · 2 Feb 2012, 14:18

Published: 02 Feb 2012 13:41 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Feb 2012 14:18 GMT+01:00

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The centre will be operational following a Chicago summit in May, according to a diplomatic source.

NATO announced last year that Spain would host US ships with interceptor missiles while an early warning radar system will be based in Turkey.

Land-based interceptors will be located in Romania by 2015 and in Poland by 2018, when the system is expected to be fully operational.

The United States insists that the missile shield aims to counter missile threats from Iran, but Russia has voiced concerns that it would target its own strategic deterrent.

German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere indicated that his country could contribute 24 Patriot missiles to the missile shield.

"Germany can imagine to put the Patriot missiles that are in Germany at the disposal of that system," he told reporters on arrival at NATO headquarters.

He also suggested that Ramstein would continue to play an important role after the US military reduces its troop presence in Europe.

"Germany will be the most important, strategically meaningful deployment of the United States in Europe. We appreciate that. And Ramstein is part of that with its strategic importance for the air forces," de Maiziere said.

Story continues below…

The United States last month announced plans to complete the withdrawal of two of its four army brigades stationed in Europe in 2014. Each of the heavy brigade combat teams has 3,800 troops.

There are some 81,000 US troops in Europe, according to Pentagon data released in September 2011. About half of them are army troops stationed in Germany.

AFP/DAPD/The Local/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:15 February 2, 2012 by melbournite
The missile "shield" is in fact the basis for an offensive capability. It is primarily aimed at Russia. Relations between Germany and Russia had been warming since both need each other economically speaking. This missile command center is designed by the US to throw a spanner in the works of a German-Russian detente.
14:29 February 2, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ melbournite

You wouldn't suggest that with operations like last year's Libya NATO is not a defensive alliance anymore, would you?
14:56 February 2, 2012 by raandy
melbournite if that were true , then the Germans wold be the dumbest of all. I doubt that very much.
16:24 February 2, 2012 by Staticjumper
@melbournite, I'm not sure what definition of "offensive capability" you're using. Even the longest range Patriot (PAC-3) surface-to-air missile has a range of only 240km meaning that its range is far too short to even come close to Russian territory and could only hit Russian missiles that were already in the air over Europe.
17:00 February 2, 2012 by coffejohn
How altruistic of Germany, to save the US by shooting down missiles over its own country.

Gives a whole new meaning to "friendly fire"!
17:12 February 2, 2012 by melbournite
@Staticjumper, I mean that having a shield that protects you from incoming missiles means that you can fire your own with impunity.

@raandy, Germany for all its economic strength still lives in a world controlled by the US. ditto for NATO
18:30 February 2, 2012 by raandy
melbournite Germany is one member out of 28,no way, your just on some anti American safari.
19:02 February 2, 2012 by Beachrider
Since Germany avows no offensive long-range missles on its turf, the 'offensive' nature of this command-site (we didn't say that we would put missiles there) is completely fatuous.

Patriots cannot shoot down ICBMs bound to the USA. PAC-2 only goes to 16 miles of altitude (PAC-3 go even less). North American-bound Russian ICBMs over Europe be ten-twenty times that high.

So that notion was full of crap.

NATO's movement on Libya was spearheaded by UK and FR, not the USA.

So I guess that notion was also full of crap.

Did melbornite get anything right?
19:10 February 2, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ coffejohn

Why do you think it is about missiles over Germany? It is only the control center that will be located in Ramstein. The article states that the missiles will most probably be fired from Romania (Deveselu base to be more precise), Poland and US ships in Spain.
22:10 February 2, 2012 by melbournite
@beachrider who said anything about ICBMs on the Americas? The missile system the US and it toadies are installing is about conventional war in europe and in particular a threat to the Russian periphery.

The Libyan war was fought under the joint command of the US, the French and the UK. Any idea who the junior partners are in the lot?
22:23 February 2, 2012 by carlm
melbournite, if Germany were as dumb and anti American as you, they could simply refuse the missile defenses. That fact that they don't seems to indicate that they agree with American reasoning.
23:32 February 2, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ carlm

Judging by melbournite's comments, (s)he is anything but dumb. Disagreeing with the US military policy does not mean being anti-American. Otherwise there would be many Americans labeled anti-American.
08:56 February 3, 2012 by Louis Prince
Melbournite do you actually know what a missile shield is, its aimed primarily at ICBM's and has no application for conventional war. But to an extent, I think some Americans are still fighting the cold war and the Russians are slightly irritated at the MDS program in europe.
09:44 February 3, 2012 by melbournite
@carlm & ChrisRea, Thats my point, hosting the missile shield cc is a two edged sword for Germany - its not in their interests to rile the Russians. On the other hand they are locked into the US military strategy. Equally the US does not want Germany or europe becoming too strong.

I actually think it is in Germany and Europe's (all of europe including Russia) interest to work together, rather than let the US reignite cold war rivalries
10:15 February 3, 2012 by wood artist

There are two options.

Option one. Remain defenseless (for everyone, including Germany, and simply wait for inbound missiles to land. The only possible action, other than dying, is to fire your own in turn.

Option two. Shoot down the inbound missiles, and allow yourself time to decide what is the best possible solution to the situation.

Given those options, defense seems reasonable. Nope, it's never a guarantee, but it's better to have the time. Russia is making something of this only because Putin seeks to remain relevant on the world stage, and he's an old-time cold warrior. He's got major problems at home, and this is "wag the dog" for him. Russia is "riling themselves."

There's been no question why these are being placed in 'Europe" (Iran) and it's always been clear it's easier (and far more likely) to shoot down a missile immediately after launch than it is when it's coming down. Sorta like stopping the plane...or trying to shoot down the bombs after they've been dropped.

11:30 February 3, 2012 by melbournite
Of course its my assumption that Iran is just being used as a rather lame excuse to restart this arms race in europe. Why has Iran got any interest in bombing europe? Unless of course europe plans to bomb Iran (more than likely). There is a course another option. Instead of letting our "leaders" lead us into yet another war, we could do what all normal people want to do i.e. live in peace
12:37 February 3, 2012 by zeddriver
It's a crazy world we live in any more. And of course as 'civilians' we are generally not given all the information. And so we necessarily make a lot of assumptions. The American military does what the leaders in congress and the white house tells them to do. They don't make it up as the go along. So I think there is a third arm of anti thinking. Anti corrupt leadership. Would be more applicable than Anti American/Military.

One problem with the Iran/Russian issue. Is that the world agrees that it would be in every ones best interest if Iran did not develop a nuclear weapon. And one way to put pressure on Iran is to put financial and trade sanctions on them. So far Russia has refused to enact said sanctions. The west sees this as a problem. even though the west believes that Iran would not attack Europe. We do believe they will attack Israel or give aid to those that would. As all it would take is for an anti Israeli radical within the Iranian nuke weapons industry to lend them support. And Russia is not helping to prevent this. and this can be seen as an anti western stance by the Russians.

The patriot missile is not an offensive weapon. it shoots down missiles and does not have the ability to carry a large enough payload or range to bomb a city.

It simply is akin to an insurance policy. I like most have health, life, And auto insurance. That does not mean however that I want to get sick or die or wreck my car. It's there just in case I do.
14:32 February 3, 2012 by michael4096
"It simply is akin to an insurance policy. "

Not really. Putting yourself in a position of immunity from attack whilst still able to attack has always been seen as aggressive.

Ask any castle builder from the middle ages.

It's not that everybody immediately assumes you are about to launch an assault but that people can no longer negociate as equals.
15:22 February 3, 2012 by raandy
melbournite , Why is it that living in peace is not as simple as laying down your sword and saying ,I have had enough, please leave me alone and go away?
15:40 February 3, 2012 by zeddriver
And you don't think that Russia's refusal to help try and stop another war in the middle east is rather aggressively arrogant? If Iran goes ahead trying to make a nuclear weapon. Israel is likely to bomb Iran. And who do you think will profit from this. Russia! And of course Russia & China have defense contracts with Iran.

So while America is a pariah for having gone to war for oil. Russia sits back and hopes for war so they can profit from their oil. And yet Europe can't help but wag it's finger at America. All the while there is a bigger problem at the back door.
16:50 February 3, 2012 by Beachrider

I am amazed that you keep firing verbal missiles when they all explode on launch. Maybe you have some Patriot missiles in your shorts!

- If we aren't talking about ICBMs to North America, what ever-lovin ICBMs are you talking about. You are wrong again.

- You are still worried about conventional war in Europe? Then why are we talking about Germany? The NATO troops have largely left Germany and some were repositioning in Poland, etc. If Russian tanks hit German soil, it is German infantry/cavalry that will die, not Americans.You are wrong again.

- no missiles in Germany, how many times does everyone have to say that. You are wrong again.
20:04 February 3, 2012 by raandy
melbournite rent a van do some time in the outback ,let it go , relax come back as a better person
01:03 February 4, 2012 by Whipmanager
I've held off as long as I could:

The german experience in Defending itself is interesting. they have historically been great at attacking but very bad at defending. These Pac 3's are only defensive. If Russia has no intention in Attacking, why worry about it? They won't attack, they spend their money on peaceful things and NATO wastes money protecting itself from something that will never happen. SOOOOO if the Ruskies are angry, it means a key part of their strategy is not to be kind and good neighbors, but to be in a position to threaten it's neighbors. So by logical extension, if you threaten, and have the means to do so, one must assume you may be compelled to act on your threat if it isn't taken serious. So, the PAC 3's are to stop the threat that would most likely be used. Tanks and American Military are going away. So manpower is gone, guess what, you only have Nukes and missiles left to retaliate with or attack with.

If there is no threat from Russian missiles, and no plans to use them, the PAC 3's are of no consequence and sholdn't be an issue. Logically. But then, hey, if someone from Australia thinks it is so, Australia being our (US) best friend in that part of the world, then they must be lacking some good info and this little comment from me should clarify things for you.
07:38 February 8, 2012 by simulator8
I love Rammstein. They are my favorite band. We're all living in Amerika, Amerika, it's wunderbar.
18:18 February 10, 2012 by moshe rosen
I am so very sad the new left (I am a committed leftist) in Germany has become the new light brown shirts who seem to agree that the only good Jew is a dead one. It's a sad day for left wing people that their movement has been taken over by a huge (80%) majority of Germans that are intent on the destruction of Israel!
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