President Obama is sacrificing missile defense for a “reset” with the Russian Federation, writes Rebeccah Heinrichs in her most recent piece.
The Obama Administration has scrapped the third site in Poland and the Czech Republic, the Bush’s Administration’s ballistic missile defense plan for the protection of the U.S. and European territory. The Russians, falsely claiming that the system in Europe would upset the strategic balance, welcomed the step and worked further to restrain the U.S. missile defense options in the context of the New Strategic Arms Control Treaty.
Negotiations on the treaty were clouded in secrecy; the Administration has not provided the Senate with negotiating records despite repeated requests by Senators, nor has it made the instruments of ratification publicly available.
Instead of the third site, the Obama Administration created its own ballistic missile defense plan, the European Phased Adaptive Approach. Part of the Administration’s approach to missile defense has been to lower the number of the ground-based midcourse defense interceptors, which protect the U.S. homeland from the potential long-range missile threat posed by Iran and North Korea on the pretext that the long-range ballistic missile threats are advancing slower than was previously believed and that it is more important to advance short- and intermediate-range capabilities.
Obama’s missile defense plan also does not advance the long-range capability of the Aegis cruiser-based ballistic missile defense system until 2020. There is no reason to wait until 2020, especially when Iran is projected to have long-range ballistic missile capability by 2015. With the appropriate adjustments in its command-and-control and sensor infrastructure, the Aegis system could have already had this capability by now.
Since President Obama took office, the Administration has touted the “reset” as one of its great diplomatic achievements. So far, the “reset” policy contributed little to advance the U.S. national interest and increasingly resembles a list of concessions to a regime in Moscow that is seeking Soviet-like prestige and status through forced nuclear equality with Washington. Russia is also seeking to dominate Eastern Europe and Central Asia through a “Eurasian Union,” Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s brainchild.
Securing America—not a make-believe reset that sacrifices missile defense—should be the Administration’s top priority.