According to the Polish daily, Gazeta Wyborcza, sources in the United States have confirmed that the Obama administration has made the decision to abandon our anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. Unfortunately this news is not surprising at all. In March of this year it was revealed that President Obama “secretly” offered Moscow a grand bargain whereby it would sacrifice missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic in exchange for Moscow’s help discouraging Iran’s nuclear program. Then in his July summit with Moscow, Obama reinforced his message that missile defense remains a bargaining chip that can exchanged for his college dream of a nuclear free world.
This is a grave mistake for several reasons:
- The decision to abandon the “third site” deployment of 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic violates President Obama’s pledge to support missile defense that is “pragmatic and cost-effective.” Ground based missile defense is effective, affordable, and available now.
- According to the Congressional Budget Office, alternatives to the third site do not provide a comparable level of defense. The CBO concluded that the estimated $9-14 billion 20-year cost of the third site was half of the estimated costs of a sea-based alternative.
- Reneging on our promise to Poland and the Czech Republic sends a terrible signal to our allies in the region.
Abandoning our best missile defense option in Europe only encourages Iran to speed up their ballistic missile program so that they can get their threat in place before a European missile defense system is available. We are in a depserate race to beat the clock on Iran’s nuclear program. Why on earth are we stopping now to let the Iranians catch up?