Obama Retracts "Win-Win" Offer to Russia
On Sunday, President Barack Obama reaffirmed his commitment to missile defense in Poland and the Czech Republic, apparently retracting the secret offer he made earlier to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. Obama had pledged to abandon U.S. missile defense plans in Poland and the Czech Republic if Russia would cooperate more in halting Iran's nuclear program.
Such a trade would have come at little cost to the United States, according to Charles Peña, Senior Fellow at the Independent Institute's Center on Peace & Liberty. The U.S. has publicized missile defense in eastern Europe as a way to counter a potential threat from Iran, but the Islamic Republic's long-range ballistic missile, the Shahab 3, was never well-suited for targets beyond the Middle East. Moreover, U.S. missile defense in eastern Europe has famously strained U.S.-Russian relations. Thus, tying Russian cooperation on Iran with scrapping missile defense in eastern Europe would have resulted in a net gain for the United States and for Russia.
"Given the potential payoff, employing missile defense as a bargaining chip may be the most cost-effective use of the more than $120 billion that has been unwisely expended [for U.S. missile defense]," concludes Peña.
"Missile Defense as Bargaining Chip," by Charles Peña (3/23/09)
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