Tuesday :: Mar 3, 2009

Obama Offers To Halt Central European "Missile Defense" If Russia Will Convince Iran To Halt Its Nuke Program

by Turkana

In a striking reversal of both philosophy and policy, the Obama Administration has attempted simultaneously to resolve the slow brewing question of Iranian nuclear capabilities, the tensions with Russia created by Bush's attempt to place "missile defense" systems in Central Europe, and the astonishing waste of resources that Rolling Stone described thusly:

Under Bush, it is now the most expensive weapons system in the history of man. It has never been successfully tested. It will never be finished. And it is completely unnecessary

But according to Peter Baker, in today's New York Times:

President Obama sent a secret letter to Russia’s president last month suggesting that he would back off deploying a new missile defense system in Eastern Europe if Moscow would help stop Iran from developing long-range weapons, American officials said Monday.

The letter to President Dmitri A. Medvedev was hand-delivered in Moscow by top administration officials three weeks ago. It said the United States would not need to proceed with the interceptor system, which has been vehemently opposed by Russia since it was proposed by the Bush administration, if Iran halted any efforts to build nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.

Look what happens when adults are back in charge of foreign policy! Treating Russia like a potential ally, rather than as an adversary!

The officials who described the contents of the message requested anonymity because it has not been made public. While they said it did not offer a direct quid pro quo, the letter was intended to give Moscow an incentive to join the United States in a common front against Iran. Russia’s military, diplomatic and commercial ties to Tehran give it some influence there, but it has often resisted Washington’s hard line against Iran.

And the bottom line remains the bottom line:

“It’s almost saying to them, put up or shut up,” said a senior administration official. “It’s not that the Russians get to say, ‘We’ll try and therefore you have to suspend.’ It says the threat has to go away.”

The article makes clear that Obama is skeptical of the entire concept of "missile defense," and it also indicates that Russia is seriously considering the offer. Building a relationship with an important nation. Defusing a potential threat. Preventing the waste of a ton of money. All rolled into one wise policy.

Turkana :: 3:34 AM :: Comments (21) :: Digg It!