I'm going to admit that I got suckered into believing that Pres. Obama was going to stage some sort of enlightened retreat from Bush's transparently political decision to persuade former Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe to allow the U.S. to deploy 'missile shields' in their countries to counter a non-existent threat from Iranian missiles.
What is it then which compelled the Bush State Dept. and the Pentagon to ramp up the peddling of these missile systems to these European countries, unsettling decades of peaceful cooperation with their communist neighbors? There was a familiar theme which accompanied the fearmongering militarism of the Bush regime. Secretary Rice spelled it out after claiming Russia had nothing to fear from the new, planned expansion of U.S. military influence in their backyard.
“I think everybody understands that with a growing Iranian missile threat," Rice had said, "-- which is quite pronounced -- that there needs to be ways to deal with that problem, and, that we’re talking about long lead times to be able to have a defensive counter to offensive missile threats.”
However, Iran has no intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking the U.S. continent. Iran's longest range missile is the Shahab-3, which has a target radius of 620 miles. The Pentagon has been claiming for almost a decade that Iran is developing up to three new generations of the Shahab to increase its range.
It's wasn't enough for the U.S. to illegally invade and occupy a sovereign nation in the face of Russian and Chinese objections -- the Bush regime was intent on pressing their aggression and military posturing against Russia and China's economic ally, Iran, to the point of destabilizing the balance of weaponry in Europe which had allowed the decades-old deescalation of tensions and relative peace to prevail. And, they wanted us to believe that the target of their own destabilizing aggression was the most pernicious threat.
It suited the Bush regime's short term agenda to isolate Russia and China in hopes of forestalling the coming shift in energy resources away from the U.S. as Russia and China bargain for a bigger share of the world's oil, and have made multi-billion dollar deals with oil-rich Iran, to the consternation of the U.S. and their Saudi benefactors who are desperate to stifle the influence of the Iranian oil on the world market.
The Bush regime saw the prospect of Russia’s shifting alliances as threats to the U.S. 'national security'. The administration would have liked nothing more than for Russia and China to be regarded as pariahs in the world community. Bush and Cheney (and Rice) would have been more than satisfied to isolate Russia, and China with a manufactured pall of suspicion and fear, making oil-producing nations reluctant to do business with them out of fear of U.S. retaliation and making existing deals with Iran appear sinister and threatening.
Now it appears that the Obama WH is content to allow the prospect of the realization of Bush's destabilizing, cynical deployment of these dubious 'missile interceptors' overshadowing their promised diplomacy with Iran. Vice-President Biden's statements indicating future support from the administration for some form of missile shield as a deterrent to a potential threat from Iran is a departure from the posture Pres. Obama assumed last July while campaigning.
Candidate Obama had responded to Iran's reported missile tests last summer with a call for direct diplomacy and economic sanctions, if necessary. In contrast, his republican opponent, John McCain, had called for an acceleration of Bush's efforts to persuade Eastern European countries to sign on to the administration's paranoid missile defense ploy. Obama said at the time that he would listen to his national security team to decide whether Iran's reported tests "indicated any new capabilities on Iran's part."
Likewise, early in the transition, Pres. elect Obama's courtesy call to Polish President Lech Kaczynski resulted in reports from Kaczynski's office that Obama had assured him that "the missile defense project would continue."
The last part about waiting for a 'workable' missile defense system was the hook I had relied on to convince myself that Obama had no intention of committing the U.S. to such a destabilizing boondoggle. I now believe the rhetoric about missile defense from Mr. Obama throughout the campaign - always couched in the 'workability' argument - was designed to give voters the impression that the new administration would walk away from Bush's obviously mischievous provocation. I bought it, anyway.
Now, with Biden's meaningless hedge about accepting a missile defense system that "works and is cost-effective," all that stands in the way of moving forward with Bush's destabilizing ploy is some assurance given by the holdover cronies in the Pentagon that the bugs have been worked out and the system is good to go.