The Bush administration’s planned anti-missile complex in eastern Europe and its joint development of an anti-missile system with Japan are raising the specter of a new Cold War with far-reaching consequences for global political stability.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says installation of interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic would threaten the security of Russia’s European area, and warns Russia may target European sites in response. Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov predicts “negative effects” on security throughout the European-Atlantic region.

This week Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu sharply criticized both the European and Asian programs. “The Chinese side has always held that missile defense impacts the strategic balance and stability,” she said, adding, “It is not conducive to mutual trust between major powers and also regional security. It can also bring new proliferation problems.”

Polls show some 60 percent of Czechs oppose anti-missile installations in their country, and nearly three-quarters think the issue should be decided by referendum.

Military experts say the technology has a very poor track record, and House and Senate committees have significantly cut its funding.

The administration’s claims that the systems are intended to counter threats from Iran and North Korea have been skewered as flawed and misleading.

However, the fundamental issue is not whether the technology will ultimately work, but the meaning of the anti-missile systems in the Bush administration’s drive for global military dominance.

For decades until the administration scuttled it in 2002, the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty signed by the U.S. and USSR in 1972 helped keep nuclear war at bay, and made possible limited steps toward nuclear disarmament.

Now the once-banned anti-missile systems, along with the Iraq war, the threats against Iran and the buildup of U.S. bases around the world, are part and parcel of the administration’s drive for global political, economic and military dominance.

As the 2008 election approaches, the American people have a crucial opportunity to press for a foreign policy of peace and cooperation that can make our country and the world safe from war and terror.