Thursday, September 17, 2009
Announcement on Europe missile shield sounds like appeasement
Is anyone else troubled by the latest moves by the United States to appear impotent in its dealings with Russia? That's the effect of the Obama adminstration's impending decision to scrub plans to build a missile-defense system protecting Poland and the Czech Republic before Russia fulfills its treaty obligations in Georgia. The White House will announce its decision to forego the Bush administration-proposed system as early as this week, according to the Wall Street Journal newspaper. Moscow apparently was outraged by the proposal, which it believed was directed at its intercontinental ballistic missiles despite U.S. assurances that it was intended to counterbalance the perceived threat from an increasingly radicalized and militarily sophisticated Iran. The Iranians are developing nuclear technology and are expected to have missiles capable of reaching European capitals and close U.S. ally Israel by 2015. But Washington needs Moscow's cooperation at the UN Security Council to impose new sanctions against Iran if Tehran refuses to give up its nuclear program at six-nation negotiations planned in October. The Obama adminstration denies such linkage, the Journal said, and maintains that it is dropping the missile shield after a reassessment of the Iranian threat. Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a speech last month that the missile programs of Iran and North Korea "are not there yet," according to the Journal. "We believed that the emergence of the intercontinental ballistic missile would come much faster than it did," Cartwright said. "The reality is, it has not come as fast as we thought it would come." The Bush administration-proposed system would have included a radar installation in the Czech Republic and 10 missiles in Poland.