The battle presently playing out in Gaza is not only about Israelis and Palestinians; it is the herald of a considerable revolution in the format of warfare between nations, and between nations and non-state entities. The ballistic missile is no longer reserved for world powers; it is becoming within everyone’s reach.
From now on, all countries or non-state entities that control a territory large enough to hide shooting ramps, even makeshift ones, can project bombs dozens of miles. Tomorrow a few hundred. Then a few thousand. With precision reserved for ballistic arms which today only the largest powers possess.
When all is accounted for, the battle of Gaza will appear as the simple general repetition of a conflict of an entirely different range.
First of all, faced with weapons – be they nuclear or traditional – carried by long-range ballistic missiles, no nation will be safe from a surprise attack surging forth from anywhere on Earth. At least from an all-out antimissile deterrent, which could only insure one planetary satellite cover, which would reveal the departure of hostile fire and send antimissiles as a counter-attack, such as those tried out under the name of Patriot during the first Gulf war. In order to protect itself today from the threat coming from so-called “rogue” states like Iran, the United States is currently installing, under the cover of NATO, ten missile-launcher interceptors in Poland and a highly sophisticated radar in the Czech Republic. Everything will be in place by 2012. In doing this, they will define their allies by those included in their protected area, giving countries who are excluded the feeling that they are being threatened and that they will have to equip themselves with the same system. Especially if Poland and Ukraine are covered and Russia isn’t, the latter will feel threatened. And she will equip herself accordingly. The arms race will be back on.
Next, so that such a network of long-range antimissiles functions efficiently, a thousand questions will have to be addressed: who will control the network of surveillance satellites? Who will decide to launch the antimissiles? Which countries will accept taking the risk of receiving on their territory the debris of missiles aimed at others? Who can guarantee that an antimissile weapon cannot be reconverted into an offensive weapon?
On all these subjects, American technological advancement is immeasurable. No one (and particularly not the EU) has the means to lead the setting up of such a defensive network alone. Neither short or long range.
Strange world, one in which the Chinese savers and the masters of the Persian Gulf finance American industry so that it develops technology guaranteeing Washington the power to monitor markets and people; and choosing to whom it will entrust its protection.