In exchange for Russia’s help in securing Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama today formally called off former President George W. Bush’s plans to build a missile defense shield based in Eastern Europe, much to the dismay of Ukraine and much of NATO. Last night Obama gave personal calls to leaders of both the Czech Republic and Poland, informing them of his decision. According to former Czech prime minister Mirek Topolanek: “This is not good news for the Czech state, for Czech freedom and independence.”
What does the US have to gain by not building the system? Well, for one it improves US-Russia relations and opens up for more cooperation in securing Afghanistan and Iraq. It is extremely ironic that during the Cold War the United States helped the Taliban resist the soviets and now is encouraging the soviets to help defend against the Taliban.
According to top Republicans including Jon Kyl the number two Republican Senator the decision is dangerous and brash, and John McCain who ran against Obama in the 2008 elections calls the decision “disappointing” and may encourage a “resurgent Russia.”
According to McCain :
“I am disappointed with the Administration’s decision to cancel plans to develop missile defenses in Eastern Europe. This decision calls into question the security and diplomatic commitments the United States has made to Poland and the Czech Republic, and has the potential to undermine perceived American leadership in Eastern Europe. Given the strong and enduring relationships we have forged with the region’s nations since the end of the Cold War, we should not, I believe, take steps backward in strengthening these ties. Yet I fear the Administration’s decision will do just that, and at a time when Eastern European nations are increasingly wary of renewed Russian adventurism.
“Given the serious and growing threats posed by Iran’s missile and nuclear programs, now is the time when we should look to strengthen our defenses, and those of our allies. Missile defense in Europe has been a key component of this approach. I believe the decision to abandon it unilaterally is seriously misguided.”
Ron Paul, the man popularly known as “Mr. No” in the House of Representatives, had the following to say about the US defense budget in December 2003 :
“As the Pentagon’s budget soars to $400 billion, 17% of American children live in poverty. For what the US will spend on Missile Defense in one year we could: put over a million children through Head Start OR provide healthcare for over 3.5 million children OR create over 100,000 units of affordable housing OR hire over 160,000 elementary school teachers.”
The decision is most likely putting many in Europe on the alert, and causing many of them to rethink their dependence on US military power for their safety. Is this another “please-all” stratagem of Obama or a well thought out strategic maneuver? Along with the announcement the White House released on their website a three phased plan of missile defense :
The White House also released a fact sheet on U.S. Missile Defense Policy, outlining the President’s approach. An excerpt:
- Phase One (in the 2011 timeframe) – Deploy current and proven missile defense systems available in the next two years, including the sea-based Aegis Weapon System, the SM-3 interceptor (Block IA), and sensors such as the forward-based Army Navy/Transportable Radar Surveillance system (AN/TPY-2), to address regional ballistic missile threats to Europe and our deployed personnel and their families;
- Phase Two (in the 2015 timeframe) – After appropriate testing, deploy a more capable version of the SM-3 interceptor (Block IB) in both sea- and land-based configurations, and more advanced sensors, to expand the defended area against short- and medium-range missile threats;
- Phase Three (in the 2018 timeframe) – After development and testing are complete, deploy the more advanced SM-3 Block IIA variant currently under development, to counter short-, medium-, and intermediate-range missile threats; and
- Phase Four (in the 2020 timeframe) – After development and testing are complete, deploy the SM-3 Block IIB to help better cope with medium- and intermediate-range missiles and the potential future ICBM threat to the United States.
There is no doubt in my mind that the world will realize a US-Iran conflict within five years or less. This is not because of the will of the people, but because of the shameless pride of the peoples’ rulers. Ever since operation “Iraqi Freedom”, US-Iranian relations have steadily and understandably deteriorated. Iran is without a doubt trying to develop nuclear technology for military applications, and probably wants to at least match Israel’s nuclear arsenal.
The United States is understandably reluctant to allow Iran to develop their nuclear technology, as it is seen as a threat to global security, as it would be easier for real WMDs to leak out into the world as IED materials have leaked into Iraq. Right now the US has a strong naval force located in the region, and is building up its military bases in Iraq.
The sad thing about all this is that without US intervention in the 1950s to dispose a diplomatically elected Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh Iran would be a much more politically open and less radical nation than it is now. Instead because Iran nationalized its oil the US installed a puppet Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi who was quickly overthrown and replaced with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini . Ever since then ties have been tenuous at best and we are facing a possible war with Iran.