Skip to comments.Britain Formally Agrees to U.S. Missile Defense
Posted on 02/05/2003 5:43:34 AM PST by kattracks
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain formally agreed on Wednesday to a request from the United States to help it build a missile defense shield, saying Washington could use a key radar base in northern England.
The U.S. asked Britain in December to approve the upgrading of early warning radar systems at the Fylingdales base to allow its missile defense program to go ahead.
Britain said in January it was minded to agree but the government wanted to give interested parties time to consider it, although it did not offer Parliament a vote.
Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon said in a statement to Parliament Wednesday that he would be writing to the United States to give the green light for the missile system, which is fiercely opposed by some members of the ruling Labor Party.
"I am now satisfied that we have been able to take fully into account the views of all interested parties in coming to a decision," the statement said. "I am therefore today replying to the United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, conveying the Government's agreement to the U.S. request."
The system, dubbed "Son of Star Wars" after an initiative pioneered by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, depends on intercepting an incoming missile with another missile.
Hoon said the upgrade would comprise computer hardware and software modification, and involved no new development or change to the radar's external appearance or power output. The base would continue to be operated by British personnel, he said.
"The upgrade does not itself commit the U.K. Government to any greater participation in the U.S. missile defense program," Hoon said. "It does, however, keep open the prospect of acquiring missile defense capabilities for the U.K."
Many in Blair's Labor Party, already worried about British involvement in a possible Iraq war, argue that a missile defense shield could spark a new global arms race.
They also fear that backing the U.S.'s missile defense shield could put Britain in the front line of any possible attack by a potential aggressor.
In a first step toward setting up a missile defense umbrella, the U.S. last year unilaterally withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty which banned such systems.
Hoon has said the costs would be borne by the United States.
He said the British government would also seek to give British industry the best opportunities to win work on the U.S. program.
Morons. There IS a new global arms race, no matter how long these ostriches keep their heads in the sand.
Get used to it.
The Yanks are back again.
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