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Morning Bell: An Audaciously Bad Missile Deal

Posted By Conn Carroll On March 3, 2009 @ 8:47 am In Ongoing Priorities | Comments Disabled

Describing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s message in a private meeting with the foreign minister of the United Arab Emirates Monday, a U.S. official told the Washington Post [1]: “She said we are under no illusions about Iran and our eyes are wide open.” Well someone in the Obama Administration is under a huge illusion, because the Moscow newspaper Kommersant also reported yesterday that President Barack Obama sent a secret letter to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev weeks ago suggesting that he would halt development of the United States’ missile defense program in Eastern Europe if Russia helped resolve the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program [2].

Iran has strongly resisted international efforts to pressure it to abide by its legal commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and halt its suspect nuclear activities. Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, defiantly proclaimed last year that “Iran has obtained the technology to produce nuclear fuel, and Iran’s move is like a train…which has no brake and no reverse gear. [3]” But we must be careful not to personalize the problem. Iran’s nuclear program began under President Rafsanjani and flourished under President Khatami. [4] Both were considered “moderates,” extolled by some observers as leaders with whom the West could do business, but both also practiced diplomacy by taqiyyah, which is a religiously sanctioned form of dissimulation or duplicity.

Meanwhile, Russia has long been an enabler of Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Not only have they provided Iran with uranium, supposedly for peaceful purposes, but they have even supplied Iran with anti-aircraft missiles, presumably to be used to stop Israeli forces from attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities [5].

With these facts in mind, the Obama Administration quid pro quo raises some troubling issues:

  • First, what the U.S. wants for not deploying systems to protect us is Russian diplomacy that ensures the Iranian ballistic missile and nuclear programs are terminated. That could take years and then it could only be verified with inspectors on the ground in Iran–an unthinkable concession. In the interim, Iran could easily build and test and we would have no defense. Indeed, not building defenses now may encourage the Iranians to speed-up their program. That’s a bad deal.
  • Second, Russia’s complaints about missile defense are rooted in their belief that they should be able to control and threaten the countries on their borders [6]. Agreeing to negotiate on missile defense concedes that point–that is a bad idea.
  • Finally, if hitting the “reset [7]” button on US-Russian relations mean the United States has to make itself intentionally vulnerable to a potential Iranian threat–that’s a really bad deal.

Quick Hits:


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URL to article: http://blog.heritage.org/2009/03/03/morning-bell-an-audaciously-bad-missile-deal/

URLs in this post:

[1] Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/02/AR2009030200597.html

[2] he would halt development of the United States’ missile defense program in Eastern Europe if Russia helped resolve the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/washington/03prexy.html

[3] which has no brake and no reverse gear.: http://uk.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUKBLA53622220070225

[4] Iran’s nuclear program began under President Rafsanjani and flourished under President Khatami.: http://www.heritage.org/Research/Iran/sr0028.cfm

[5] Not only have they provided Iran with uranium, supposedly for peaceful purposes, but they have even supplied Iran with anti-aircraft missiles, presumably to be used to stop Israeli forces from attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities: http://www.heritage.org/33-minutes/modern-nuclear-warfare.htm

[6] rooted in their belief that they should be able to control and threaten the countries on their borders: http://www.foundry.org/2009/02/13/were-they-born-yesterday/

[7] reset: http://www.foundry.org/2009/02/09/weakness-and-confusion-from-biden-in-munich/

[8] the fifth case of an Obama Cabinet appointee having failed to pay taxes: http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-03-02-kirk_N.htm

[9] yet another blatant broken promise to the American people: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/us/politics/03czar.html?ref=todayspaper

[10] a government hiring spree on a scale unseen since President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society agenda in the 1960s.: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/02/AR2009030202935.html

[11] Democratic staffers are commanding salaries of $350,000 to $450,000: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/19532.html

[12] an overall decline of 25% since January 2009.: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123604419092515347.html

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