Daniel Gouré’s recent op-ed for the Lexington Institute offers a compelling alternative to the Obama Administration’s weak-kneed response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
Gouré advocates for the renewal of the Administration’s Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System in Romania, which Obama halted in the wake of Russia’s strong disapproval.
This suspension of a missile defense program in Europe is not the first time Obama has yielded to Russia. In what Heritage has called a “shameful surrender” to Russia’s demands, the Administration canceled deployment of Ground-Based Midcourse Defense interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic.
Originally, Obama sought to “reset” the U.S. relationship with Russia following the Bush Administration’s strained relations with this regime. However, the reset devolved into a reassertion of Russian aggression, the creation of a harmful arms treaty—New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START)—and continued violations of past arms treaties such as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
U.S. missile defense sites in Europe pose no threat to Russia—they are defensive. Rather, they provide Europe and the U.S. with greater security in the face of a missile attack from Iran or North Korea. In New START negotiations, Russia demanded—and received—the inclusion of language that would allow them to withdraw from the treaty in the event of U.S. implementation of missile defense sites in Europe. Since New START is inherently harmful to the U.S., the Administration should have no qualms with renewing plans for missile defense sites in Europe and subsequently dismantling New START.
In the face of these violations and Russia’s refusal to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty, the Administration has only made feeble attempts to address Russian aggression. Vladimir Putin views the Obama Administration as weak and inconsequential. The U.S. should no longer yield to Putin’s wishes; instead, the Obama Administration should respond to Russia with strength and resolve. Moving forward with a missile defense system in Europe would increase American security and begin to repair U.S. credibility. For America’s safety and credibility, the Administration should develop missile defense sites in Europe, something it should have done long ago.
Rebecca Robison is currently a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. For more information on interning at Heritage, please click here.