• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Morning Bell: Mixed Signals on Missile Defense

    President-elect Barack Obama is sending mixed signals on America’s planned missile defense sites in Europe following Russia’s heated rhetoric last week. An Obama adviser said this weekend America’s next commander in chief hadn’t decided if he would continue work on the U.S. missile shield. Although Obama is still months away from taking office, now is not the time to reverse course.

    This is nothing new from Obama. Throughout the presidential campaign, he shifted his views on missile defense. For instance, a video he recorded for the Priorities Action Fund flatly stated, “I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems.” When asked about that statement by a TV reporter in August, Obama said he simply wanted to make sure missile defense actually worked:

    I think it makes perfect sense to deploy a system that works. But we have to make sure that the technology works. And without having reviewed the technological capabilities of the system that’s being deployed in Poland, I’ve said that Congress should review it. But there is no doubt that after the Russian invasion of Georgia that NATO allies like Poland need to know that they are going to be protected if there is encroachment on their territory.

    When he was pressed to say whether the investment is a good idea for the United States, Obama answered: “I think there’s no doubt we should make the investment. I think the capacity of Iran or North Korea to send a rogue missile is one that we have to take very, very seriously.”

    The Bush administration this year signed agreements to put 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic. Now, in the wake of Russia’s threat to deploy short-range surface-to-surface missiles within reach of NATO allies, Obama is keeping quiet on his intentions for the missile shield in Europe. Following a call with Lech Kaczynski, the Polish president came away with the impression the U.S. would move forward with the plan. But later in the day, Obama foreign policy adviser Denis McDonough said, “His position is as it was throughout the campaign, that he supports deploying a missile defense system when the technology is proved to be workable.”

    Obama’s insistence on a “system that works” is understandable. But he should know the system being tested by the Missile Defense Agency does work. It’s hard to dispute the near-perfect results since 2005. Secondly, punting missile defense to Congress shows a lack of leadership and sets up the program for failure. Ardent liberal opponents would no doubt attempt to strip the agency of funding.

    The threat to missile defense is one of the reasons The Heritage Foundation will release a documentary early next year that tells the story of the danger hostile nations and rogue dictators now pose to the world. A trailer of the film, “33 Minutes: Protecting America in the New Missile Age,” is being released today. (Click here to watch.)

    After inking the deal with Poland in August, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice summed up its importance: “Missile defense, of course, is aimed at no one. It is in our defense that we do this.” Obama would be wise to follow that logic and build on the success as president.

    Quick Hits:

    Posted in Scribe [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to Morning Bell: Mixed Signals on Missile Defense

    1. Norma Rowley, Pittsb says:

      Our country is perched on a precipice from which we could easily slip into the bottomless pit of Socialism and Communism. Conservatives need to be even more engaged and involved than we were during the election to prevent this from happening — the very life of this Republic depends on it. Much damage can be done in four years, particularly with the Democratic majority in Congress. The Republican Party must be seized from the grip of the pseudo-Conservatives who have become indistinguishable from their liberal counterparts. We must protect our Constitution from those who believe it's outdated and disfunctional, and protect our freedoms from those who would take them away in the name of the "common good". A new Republican Party must emerge from the ashes of this election, and the silent majority must no longer be silent.

    2. Dan Foster, Augusta says:

      Obama seems to be coming to the center. I think?? He needed to say what he had to in order to satisify his liberal base.

      I think when he meets with President Bush today and the more he learns about rogue nations and the real threats to our country he'll have to be more hawkish on defense.

      I would think that he would realize that since we have not been hit since 9/11 he would want to maintain that perfect record after all this is his primary responsibility. Our country seems to have forgotten about 9/11 and its kind of sad. I'll never forget.

    3. Eileen, Alabama says:

      As our soap opera continues…. As the Stomach Turns, like during the election he appears to be back peddling on his rhetoric by changing his mind once again. All of course after the security briefing from the National Security Agency and the Pentagon explain how wrong his ideals are for the survival of our Country and those Countries in Europe whom the Russia’s and others want to destroy.

      This is what Democrats do make claims during the election process, and anger their base, without having the full knowledge they believe you need to make a logical decision. They believe automatically the President is wrong on his decisions, without obtaining the facts, or understanding the real damage that could possibly destroy ours as well as other Countries within the World from those who don’t believe in democracy or freedom of choice. Open mouth, insert foot.

    4. kent/virginia says:

      Not even in office and 'The Chosen One' is already passing off to congress on missile defense for Poland. The leftist media and a $700 million dollar campaign gave this empty suit the leadership of America and he still wants to vote 'present' on the tough choices. A taste of what may be in store for a country now in peril of becoming the Socialist States of America.

      Conservatives in the 'fly-over' states and those in states where the PC professors and liberal fascists grind dissent under their heel need to begin to unite and organize. America's slow slide into the socialism constipating much of Europe will turn straight down the fall line over the next four years.

    5. Evan from Anchorag says:

      We should not install the missile defense system in Europe unless the European countries pay for it. No more free military protection for the world unless they are willing to pay for it. Our military should not be paying rent to have our bases on their soil either. The US could enjoy the economic benefits of having these bases here.

      In case you haven't noticed, the US is basically broke.

    6. Peter, London, Engla says:

      Raising taxes on higher earners, penalising those who work hard, forcing employees to accept trade unions without secret ballots … That was all commonplace in the UK up till the late nineteen seventies when Margaret Thatcher refused to follow the mantra of "tax and spend" and challenged the undemocratic practices of the trade unions. Many of us in Europe who support liberal free markets will fear the direction your new President is taking which could so easily further fuel and strengthen socialist tendencies here in Europe.

    7. Gilbert, Largo says:

      Very interesting article however a bit incomplete. How come you don't mention that most of Polish people is against such installation which has still to be ratified by Polish parliament?

    8. Pingback: insurancesitesfind » Blog Archive » Morning Bell: Mixed Signals on Missile Defense

    9. Spiritof76, New Hamp says:

      It doesn't matter what Obama will do with regards to the installation of missile defense system in Poland or at any other place. Russia will more than likely to install their system in Venezuela. Our problem is internal. Our country is bankrupt and is being taken over by the socialists. We are facing an economic depression with debt and unfunded liabilities nearly $50Trillion. What we and our children face is oppression and we will be made to like it! What a shame that we have squandered irresponsibly what our founding fathers and their generation sacrificed with their lives and fortunes to secure the freedom that endured some two hundred years.

    10. Bryon Harrelson,Whit says:

      They shouldn't bail anybody out,the reason the automakers are in trouble in Michigan is because there are high taxes there.

      They had better get a governor and state legislators that will give them lower taxes to pay and the federal government needs to cut the corporate tax rate and bring it down to 10%,that will create numerous construction jobs.

    11. James Wolbert, Garf says:

      It strikes me as completely incredible that Obama's chief of staff would say that raising taxes now in the midst of the ecnomic downturn is the right thing to do. Employers are laying off workers now Mr Obama. What makes you think they will hire them if you tax them? Now a middle income tax cut – especially 1000 dollars is very little – helpful – but little to the consumer. The first stimulus package showed brief staying power. What is needed is a zero based corp tax and a capital gains cut, again zero, for at least two years.

    12. DannyNew Smyrna Beac says:

      Dear Morning Bell: Many Want to lead in public office, but few have the foresight to protect American's who have put them in office. It has been said "actions are louder than words", And it is also true, that when good men do nothing for those who put them in office will, reap the fruits of a failed vision.

    13. Proud Conservative, says:

      I do not believe at all that Mr. Obama and the liberal democrats fail to realize the danger existing in the world. They chose to ignore it only to gain the power they so crave. I also feel someone is behind the scenes (Mr. Soros?) controlling all in order to degrade and destroy the US system. As for the auto industry. The labor unions deserve the major credit in the destruction of this once vital industry. They have made the industry uncompetitive in the global econ. and are major funders to the dems. to keep control of their power. It is all about money & power.

    14. Pingback: Kremlin Is Prepared to Test Obama » The Foundry

    15. jjay - Louisville, K says:

      Unfortunately for your readers, you are the one sending mixed messages – or at the very least mixing messages as usual to make what the president-elect has said appear conflicting, when it is a cautious approach to very dangerous research and application of our tax dollars. You, above all should be applauding NOT wasting our investments in our government's use of our hard earned tax dollars.

      Get real and stop creating rumor.

    16. Barbara Horvath, Por says:

      I have heard comments re this company and that they should be allowed to go into bankruptcy. I also agree with the comments of some of the above, that we will all feel the results of Many misguided votes. Some people only listen to what they want to hear. How sad for the rest of us.

    17. Dell in South Caroli says:

      I know I'm getting into this discussion a little late but I have a life, too, and recently it's been somewhat hectic. My comment also isn't particularly following most of those already published but I just re-read this article which I'd earlier flagged for further consideration. Now I remember what caught my attention.

      If I hadn't had several million reasons before for not voting for "the one", I have a new one now. This waffling over the missile defense program in Europe is one of the most dangerous things this new administration can do. All we need is for Russia, Venesuala and Cuba to gang up (as they appear to be doing already) and we'll have another Bay of Pigs on our hands but with a crazier bunch than ever running the show.

      If we back down in the face of Russia's threats, we may as well throw in the towel and cry, "Uncle"! Some might call this "saber-rattling" but I call it looking into his (Putin's) eyes and seeing a mad man who wants his old Soviet Union back! This is a power-hungry, angry man who feels cheated out of his "Empire" and he'll go after many more countries than Georgia to get back what he thinks is his.

      I gathered that there may have been some foreplay going on before Russia invaded Georgia but I can't believe it was of such a magnitude as to require their completely destroying Georgia's military among many other crimes. And now the big "O" is going to give the mixed message that we're going to be cowed by Russia in this defense installation? Why am I not surprised that Obaama has two sides to his mouth–he certainly talks out of both of them on any given subject or day.

      For my part, the wedding should never have happened and for those out there who think the honeymoon is going to begin on January 20th–all I can say is, "Good Luck!" You're going to need it in the next four years!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×