Merkel Calls for Discussion on Missile Shield

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Merkel Calls for Discussion on Missile Shield

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The US intent to deploy a missile defense shield in eastern Europe is beginning to show signs of creating concern among European leaders.

The United States intends to deploy missiles in Poland and part of a radar system in the Czech Republic to help counter a possible threat of long-range missile attacks. US officials have said the shield would counter threats from what it calls "rogue states" such as Iran and would not pose a threat to Moscow.

Last month Russian President Vladimir Putin raised his concerns about this project in a speech at a security conference in Munich. Speaking before US Defense Secretary Robert Gates Putin said, "that the United States has overstepped its national borders in every way", and was causing "new centers of tension". Putin had this proposed missile shield in mind when he spoke. It appears Putin and Russia see a bigger threat from an American missile shield than from Iran or any other Islamic state that could use its weapons on Europe.

Speaking of this proposed shield Merkel said, "We should always make sure that we discuss everything in a spirit of trust to avoid rifts. No one can master the new challenges on their own." The Chancellor was speaking over the weekend in Poland.

Merkel wants a broader discussion among allies on this issue before it leads to a crisis.

A small Czech village voted over the weekend to prevent deployment of the missiles near its location. You can read the article in Der Spiegel here.