March 3, 2009


Obama Offered Deal to Russia in Secret Letter (PETER BAKER, 3/03/09, NY 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 idea has distressed Poland and the Czech Republic, where leaders invested political capital in signing missile defense cooperation treaties with the United States despite domestic opposition. If the United States were to slow or halt deployment of the systems, Warsaw and Prague might insist on other incentives.

For example, the deal with Poland included a side agreement that an American Patriot air defense battery would be moved from Germany to Poland, where it would be operated by a crew of about 100 American service members. The administration might have to proceed with that to reassure Warsaw.

Missile defense has flavored Mr. Obama’s relationship with Russia from the day after his election, when Mr. Medvedev threatened to point missiles at Europe if the system proceeded. Mr. Medvedev later backed off that threat and it seems that Moscow is taking seriously the idea floated in Mr. Obama’s letter. Kommersant, the Moscow newspaper, on Monday called it a “sensational proposal.”

Since March 23, 1983 the Russians have been trying to kill the Star Wars program that they knew better than anyone they couldn't possibly compete with. Indeed, the Cold War was effectively won -- As Mikhail Gorbachev conceded to the prime minister of Iceland -- at Reykjavik, when Reagan refused to trade the program for an overall arms agreement. Leave it to someone as naive as the Unicorn Rider to give it away in exchange for help he won't get to do something we don't need.

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Posted by Orrin Judd at March 3, 2009 7:12 AM
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