As Iran inches closer to crossing the nuclear weapons threshold and continues to advance its ballistic missile program, the dangers to Europe and America increase. Estimates predict that Tehran’s missiles could hit Europe’s entire landmass within 4 years, with parts of Europe already in Tehran’s crosshairs.
An attack on Europe would almost certainly hit American assets on the Continent, and would be invoked by NATO as the same as an attack on the United States itself. As the commemorations of the 9/11 terrorist attacks begin, it should be remembered that it was on 9/12/2001 that for its first and only time, NATO invoked the sacred Article V clause to demonstrate the indivisibility of Euro-Atlantic security.
Iran has already demonstrated that it is an aggressive actor on the international stage, supporting and consorting with odious regimes such as North Korea and terrorist actors such as Hezbollah. It has violently crushed legitimate domestic opposition and sought to solidify its position among Iranian elites with extreme anti-Western rhetoric and actions that glorify past terrorist acts and incite further terrorism.
As President Obama looks to defend the United States against such rogue regimes, missile defense is a tried, tested and trusted protection strategy. The placing of missile defenses outside of the U.S. as well as on the Homeland reinforces America’s long-held commitment to the NATO alliance. To make America and her allies deliberately vulnerable to ballistic missile or nuclear attack makes no sense. In an age where America’s enemies have ballistic missile capabilities, the United States must have missile defense technologies.
As a workable, cost effective, defensive solution to current and emerging threats, missile defense makes sense for America and for Europe. Abandoning America’s most enduring allies now, in the face of unsupportable Russian objections, is a tactical miscalculation with long-term strategic implications. President Obama must not surrender to spurious Russian accusations on one of America’s greatest defense assets.