May 23, 2004

EuroPolis: Hungary a piece of the missile defense puzzle? 

posted by Paul Smith @ 4:06 AM
Several sources are reporting that Hungary has been approached by Americans looking to have the Central European nation host Patriot missile batteries as part of a missile defense shield. The Hungarian government is vehemently denying this, however:
Népszabadság [a left-leaning publication] claimed US defense analysts and senior officials from Hungary's Foreign Ministry and the PMO engaged in high-level talks on deploying certain elements of US-manufactured Patriot PAC-3 missile batteries and/or radar stations in Hungary.

Adding to the speculation, specialist publication Jane's Defense Weekly has reported that several US allies in this region have been approached on the subject, which is reportedly being initiated in a bid to guard against the potential of ballistic missiles being launched by states listed as being among the "Axis of Evil". […]

Hungarian defense analysts, who spoke to Népszabadság "on condition of anonymity", said that Hungary's geographical location made it an ideal candidate for such missiles which could potentially be used to destroy hostile missiles from Iran or North Korea while they are still in the upper layers of the atmosphere. --Budapest Sun
As I noted before, the Bush team is quietly going about its business abroad putting the pieces of the missile defense folly in place, and they can more or less hide in plain sight with Iraq absolutely (and of course justifiably) dominating the American press. Since most domestic U.S. polling excludes questions of missile defense, it's hard to know what Americans think of it, but in my humble opinion I would venture to say that if they knew it was proceeding apace without debate, most people would be rather skeptical of yet another '80s retread.

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