"WASHINGTON -- The White House is scrapping a Bush-era plan for an Eastern European missile-defense shield, saying a redesigned defensive system would be cheaper, quicker and more effective against the threat from Iranian missiles.
"After an extensive process, I have approved the unanimous recommendations of my secretary of defense and my joint chiefs of staff to strengthen America's defenses against ballistic-missile attack," President Barack Obama said in an announcement Thursday morning.
The previous administration's plans will be changed, moving away from the installation of a missile-defense shield in the Czech Republic and Poland in the near future. A second phase to begin in 2015 could result in missiles being placed on land in Eastern Europe.
"Our new missile defense architecture in Europe will provide stronger, smarter and swifter defenses of American forces and America's allies," Mr. Obama said. "It is more comprehensive than the previous program, it deploys capabilities that are proven and cost effective, and it sustains and builds upon our commitment to protect the U.S. homeland."
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the decision to abandon the Bush administration's plans came about because of a change in the U.S. perception of the threat posed by Iran."Obama is simply doing what he promised to do. Make us a weaker nation by disarming our defenses. Nile Gardiner comments:
This is bad news for all who care about the US commitment to the transatlantic alliance and the defence of Europe as well as the United States. It represents the appalling appeasement of Russian aggression and a willingness to sacrifice American allies on the altar of political expediency. A deal with the Russians to cancel missile defence installations sends a clear message that even Washington can be intimidated by the Russian bear.Such committment means little to Obama or other democrats. Never has.
What signal does this send to Ukraine, Georgia and a host of other former Soviet satellites who look to America and NATO for protection from their powerful neighbour? The impending cancellation of Third Site is a shameful abandonment of America's friends in eastern and central Europe, and a slap in the face for those who actually believed a key agreement with Washington was worth the paper it was written on.
Lots of reacts at Memeorandum, and I'm on the road and update a bit later. But if ever a reason existed to accuse a sitting President of treason and remove him this is it.