Did Obama Break Promise on Missiles?
I’ve been critical of the optics of President Obama’s decision to abandon missile defense in Poland and the Czech Republic on the 70th anniversary of the Russian invasion of Poland. But I disagree with Jim Geraghty‘s assertion that it also represents breaking a promise made in April. Here’s what he said in Prague:
So let me be clear: Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile activity poses a real threat, not just to the United States, but to Iran’s neighbors and our allies. The Czech Republic and Poland have been courageous in agreeing to host a defense against these missiles. As long as the threat from Iran persists, we will go forward with a missile defense system that is cost-effective and proven. [emphasis mine]
He can quite reasonably argue that he’s done precisely that in dropping an expensive and unproven land-based system for a cheaper and proven (albeit less comprehensive) ship-based system. While the Poles and Czechs — or, at least, their governments — are far from thrilled (more on that later) Obama may will have been intentionally signaling yesterday’s move in April.
Nathan Hodge has a good backgrounder on the technology.