Friday, September 18, 2009

Obama Abandons Missile Defense to Appease Russia, Iran

From the Wall Street Journal, "Obama's Missile Offense: It's Better These Days To Be a U.S. Adversary Than Its Friend":

President Obama promised he would win America friends where, under George W. Bush, it had antagonists. The reality is that the U.S. is working hard to create antagonists where it previously had friends.

That's one conclusion to draw from President Obama's decision yesterday to scrap a missile-defense agreement the Bush Administration negotiated with Poland and the Czech Republic. Both governments took huge political risks—including the ire of their former Russian overlords—in order to accommodate the U.S., which wanted the system to defend against a possible Iranian missile attack. Don't expect either government to follow America's lead anytime soon ....

The White House justifies its decision by claiming to have new intelligence showing that Iran's long-range missile capabilities are not as advanced as previously believed. Instead, it intends to upgrade and deploy currently available missile interceptors that are useful mainly for intercepting short- and medium-range missiles, where, it says, Iranian capability "is developing more rapidly than previously projected."

We're all for deploying interceptors to stop Iranian missiles of every range. But the Administration's argument is difficult to credit, not least because our sources told us as early as February that the Administration was prepared to abandon those sites—which is to say, well before the allegedly new intelligence became available.

It's also hard to square the intelligence community's sanguine assessment with Iran's successful launch of the solid-fuel Sejil missile in May. With an estimated range of 1,560 miles, the Sejil could deliver a one-ton payload as far as Warsaw. That cannot be comforting when the International Atomic Energy Agency is now saying that Iran has "sufficient information" to build an atomic bomb and will also "overcome problems" involved in its delivery system.

The Administration's likelier motive for scrapping the interceptors is that it hopes to win Russia's vote at the U.N. Security Council for tougher sanctions on Iran. Maybe the Russians have secretly agreed to such a quid pro quo, though publicly they were quick to deny it following yesterday's decision.

And as Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov has noted, Vladimir Putin's Kremlin benefits by keeping the Iranian crisis on a low boil, because the threat of a Middle East crisis drives energy prices up while putting U.S. interests at risk. Russia also likes spooning out dollops of diplomatic help at the U.N. in exchange for material Western concessions. This time, the concession was missile defense. Next time, perhaps, the West can be seduced into trading away the pro-Western government of Georgia, or even Ukraine.

Also, at National Review, "President Obama knows how to put a smile on faces in Tehran and Moscow: This morning, he announced the abandonment of plans to develop a small missile-defense system in Eastern Europe."

At Hot Air, "Democrats to Obama: Um, What Exactly Are We Getting For Selling Out Poland to Russia?" (Via Memeorandum.)

Plus, see the Astute Bloggers, "OBAMA CEDES POLAND AND CZECH REPUBLIC - SCRAPS MISSILE DEFENSE FOR EUROPE." And Stop the ACLU, "Obama’s European Missile Plan Is Actually Pretty Good If We Take Out the Appeasement."

Image Credit: Bosch Fawstin.

6 comments:

Old Rebel said...

Wrong. Obama has long made it clear he supports the Neocon dream of attacking Iran. He's only placating Russia so it'll allow DC to launch its next war -- an aggressive war, by the way, on another nation that has not threatened us.

Donald Douglas said...

Your mind is clearly warped, Old Rebel ...

Old Rebel said...

Gee. Here I am trying to engage you in an adult conversation, and you immediately resort to name-calling.

I am hurt. And disappointed.

constant gina said...

once again...no weapons of mass destruction...again..?

Dennis said...

Sometimes I think Old Rebel is drinking too much of what a lot of old rebels produced. That he thinks he has a lock on adult conversation demonstrates a somewhat distorted definition. I love the resort to conspiracies and the assumption of knowing what Obama is thinking.
Would you bet your life on no WMD? Silly.

Old Rebel said...

Dennis,

Iran has not threatened this country. As a sovereign nation, it has the right to self-defense.

Seeing as how the US sponsored Saddam's invasion of their country, and murdered 290 innocent civilians on Flight 655, I'd say they should be concerned over further US aggression.