Endangering America And Our Allies: Obama's Missile Defense Plans Don't Add Up
Purely a Political Decision
- Appeasing Russia, Ignoring Our Allies: President Obama's
decision to abandon plans for basing elements of the U.S. global
missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic (the "third
site") is entirely political, designed to appease Russia, but
it will leave the U.S. more vulnerable to the threat of ballistic
- A Victory for Putin over NATO: This decision is a
strategic victory for the Kremlin, which is determined to have a
sphere of privileged interest in its region. The U.S. essentially
gave Russia a veto over NATO's support for the third-site defenses
in Europe and turned Poland and the Czech Republic into
second-class NATO citizens as members whose security is subject to
- Nothing in Return: There is scant evidence that Russia
will deliver anything credible in return for Obama's abandonment of
the third site, especially with regards to the growing Iranian
threat. Russia has already failed to offer any concessions in
return for this policy change and is unlikely to support greater
U.N. sanctions against Iran later this year.
Emasculating America's Credibility: The Obama plan
represents the shameful abandonment of two of America's closest
allies in Central and Eastern Europe, who in the future will have
cause to question the integrity and credibility of American
promises. A Polish spokesperson called the decision "catastrophic
- The Technology Does Work: The Ground-Based Midcourse
Defense (GMD) interceptors in Poland and radar in the Czech
Republic were in fact cost-effective and proven technologies
that offer protection from long-range missile attack to both Europe
and the U.S. The alternative that Obama will now pursue--sea-based
Standard missiles and later ground-based variants--will not satisfy
- No Long-Range Missile Defense for Europe Now: America
has worked with NATO and European allies to develop Europe's
capabilities against short-range missile attacks, which is hugely
important. However, Europe has no capacity to defend itself against
long-range missile attacks, while America has limited defenses
against long-range missile attacks. This decision undermines the
concept of indivisible transatlantic security and enervates NATO's
Article V security guarantees.
- Growing Iranian Threat: Vice President Joe Biden
recently said he is now "less concerned, much less concerned" about
the Iranian threat. Where does this assessment come from? The
Iranians successfully tested a space launcher in February and could
have a long-range missile by 2015, and the United Nations confirms
that Iran has enough uranium to build a nuclear bomb today.
Weak and Misleading
- Either/Or? The Obama plan will deal with the more
"urgent" threat of short-range missiles, but why must we choose one
or the other? The Administration say they do not have new
"intelligence," but rather have made a new assessment of
existing intelligence. They say they are deploying "proven"
systems, but they ignore technological advances when convenient.
They say their plan "enhances" European protection, but that is
true only if you ignore long-range threats.
- More Cost-Effective? The Obama team says its plan is
more cost-effective, but what that really means is that it's
cheaper: It will cost $2.5 billion instead of $5 billion. It is
foolish to shortchange national security to pay for giveaways like
the Cash for Clunkers program.
- A Loss Leader: This is a strategic loss, a security
loss, a diplomatic loss, and a major loss for America's prestige on
the world stage.
A Better Solution
- Fully Fund Missile Defense: Congress should
demand that the Administration fully fund both short- and
long-range missile defenses, thereby preparing America and its
allies for all potential threats.
For more information, please visit: http://www.heritage.org/33-minutes/