Flexibility achieved: Obama pulls missile defense system from eastern Europe

posted at 10:01 am on March 20, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

On Friday, new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel used the traditionally ignored Friday afternoon time period to announce an expansion of American missile defense on the Pacific coast, as an answer to threats from North Korea.  What didn’t get much attention was a subsequent announcement of a missile-defense change on the other side of the world.  It seems that Barack Obama has achieved maximum flexibility … and the Washington Post editorial board gently rebukes him for his “impudent” concession:

The Pentagon is canceling the planned fourth phase of an anti-missile system that had been scheduled for deployment in Poland in 2022. The SM3 IIb missile was significant for two reasons: It was the only interceptor planned for the Europe-based system that could have defended the United States against an attack from Iran; and it was the component of the system most decried by Russia, which claimed that it could be used against its intercontinental missiles.

As it did when it canceled a previous European missile plan in 2009, the administration insisted that its decision had nothing to do with Russia or its objections. The phase-four missile was dropped, officials said, because Congress had cut some of its funding, meaning it could not have been completed in the next decade, even while the timeline of possible ICBM threats is shortening. Officials say the money can be better spent on deploying more interceptors in the United States and improving their components. As proof that Moscow has not been appeased, the White House pointed to statements by Russian officials saying they are still unsatisfied with U.S. missile defense plans and continue to demand binding legal assurances that the system can’t be aimed at Russia.

Still, the fact remains that the United States has removed from its plans the missile that Russian officials previously cited as their foremost concern, just a few months after President Obama promised the Kremlin “greater flexibility” on missile defense after his reelection. In doing so, the administraton has eliminated the possibility of a defensive system that would give the United States two shots at an Iranian ICBM — what in Pentagon jargon is called a shoot-look-shoot capacity. It also has decoupled the European missile system from the defense of the continental United States. These compromises could have made sense as part of a broader agreement with Russia on missile defenses. To undertake them unilaterally, for what are portrayed as purely budgetary reasons, is imprudent.

Ah, “imprudent” — as in inconceivable. If the US was to cough up this critical component of missile defense, why would we not use that decision to gain concessions in the other direction?  Obama already retreated on missile defense in his first term, using the 70th anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Poland to leave Warsaw twisting in the wind on ground-based interceptors, after having spent considerable political capital in agreeing to their installation in the first place.

This is yet another example of “smart power.”  And it’s another example of how this administration has turned the Friday afternoon document dump into an art form.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Our new 57 state flag will be white.

docflash on March 20, 2013 at 10:08 AM

This man is going to be responsible for hundreds of thousands even millions od deaths before he is finished. He is walking death. I said this in 2008. My first impression of him was of a vampire, a ghoul, stalking the lightless realms of morbid ideology which in all of history has led only to death.

Whether it’s Israel, Eastern Europe, Western United States — somewhere, his malice, malfeasance and vicious unyielding idiocy is going to end up in massive loss of life.

rrpjr on March 20, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Message to Putin:- Europe is yours for the taking./Obama.

OldEnglish on March 20, 2013 at 10:12 AM

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…the man is a traitor!!! Now let’s just talk about ALL enemies both foreign and DOMESTIC!!

Vntnrse on March 20, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Bend Over Power.

So this is the “Spine of Steel” that retard Biden told us about, yeah ok. Anyone feel safer?

Bishop on March 20, 2013 at 10:13 AM

No worries….doesn’t dear leader look great in Israel right now?
-lsm

cmsinaz on March 20, 2013 at 10:13 AM

Obama….steadily shredding 70+ years of American geopolitical policies.

Forward!

workingclass artist on March 20, 2013 at 10:15 AM

+1 old English

Nice that wapo is 2 years late to the party

cmsinaz on March 20, 2013 at 10:15 AM

The Manchurian President strikes again!

I’d pay good money (if I had any, due to Obamanomics) to see Netanyahu take him to school in public, again.

kingsjester on March 20, 2013 at 10:15 AM

doesn’t dear leader look great in Israel right now?
-lsm

cmsinaz on March 20, 2013 at 10:13 AM

The further from this nation the better the rat-eared devil looks. I’m advocating an “unprecedented” first President on a Mars expedition.

Happy Nomad on March 20, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Has Vladimir been informed?

novaculus on March 20, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Is there nothing that the sequester cannot do? This has rapidly become the new mantra, replacing the ‘blame Bush’ meme.

cyclown on March 20, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Even though his motives are likely ulterior, I can’t say I will hold this decision against Ogabe. There’s no reason why we should provide European security for free any longer. If they want to learn to protect themselves, that’s as good a time to start as any.

Archivarix on March 20, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Excellent HN
:)

cmsinaz on March 20, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Why should the US taxpayers be forced to pay to defend eastern Europe?

MoreLiberty on March 20, 2013 at 10:25 AM

Our new 57 state flag will be white.

docflash on March 20, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Well, sequestration requires simplifying the flag. Besides:

Red, signifies valor and bravery

Blue, signifies vigilance, perseverance, and justice

We’re better off without them anyway.

Fallon on March 20, 2013 at 10:25 AM

It isn’t enough that Russia controls the energy spigot of Eastern Europe ?
No lets make them more vulnerable .
Shame on you Obama !

Lucano on March 20, 2013 at 10:26 AM

This man is going to be responsible for hundreds of thousands even millions od deaths before he is finished. He is walking death. I said this in 2008. My first impression of him was of a vampire, a ghoul, stalking the lightless realms of morbid ideology which in all of history has led only to death.

Whether it’s Israel, Eastern Europe, Western United States — somewhere, his malice, malfeasance and vicious unyielding idiocy is going to end up in massive loss of life.

rrpjr on March 20, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Damn near poetic…and sadly so true. Obama is an odd mix of Marxist plutocrat and weak kneed wannabe. Whereas Putin looks and acts every inch the man and commands his Country for his Countries interests, Obama is weak and flailing at some “dream state” he thinks is just around the corner. Around that corner are the images of starvation and mass graves, but he thinks its Unicorns and sunlight.

Bulletchaser on March 20, 2013 at 10:27 AM

The missiles were to defend our allies in Europe, not the United States. We still have the ability to detect Russian missile launches toward any point on the compass. This is actually a smart move, given what the North Koreans have recently stated. From a “defend the United States against the Russians” standpoint, this is even better.

The alternative is to treat the North Korean announcements as a declaration of war, rather than serious saber rattling, and to react accordingly.

unclesmrgol on March 20, 2013 at 10:30 AM

1st paragraph typo? “Imprudent”, not “impudent”; unless that was intentional, in which case, I don’t understand.

SomeCallMeJohn on March 20, 2013 at 10:30 AM

So Russia/china pull North Korean strings to give Obama excuse to move missile defense to pacific while quietly surrendering our eastern defense.
Disgusting, sneaky, dangerous, what will stop an EMP or blackmail attack from Iran?
Aegis? What if all the aegis are supposedly needed in the pacific?
We hired Congress, where the hell are the house conservatives, I want to see this s%#* blasted all over the news.

losarkos on March 20, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Anyone out there see one ounce of honor in Obama ?

Lucano on March 20, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Second look at Dear Liar = Satan?

rbj on March 20, 2013 at 10:32 AM

…unphuckenbelieveable!…this is a big F’n deal!

KOOLAID2 on March 20, 2013 at 10:34 AM

Even though his motives are likely ulterior, I can’t say I will hold this decision against Ogabe. There’s no reason why we should provide European security for free any longer. If they want to learn to protect themselves, that’s as good a time to start as any.

Archivarix on March 20, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Well here’s the wiki link on European forces stats for comparison
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_of_the_European_Union

Russian navy:
As of February 2008, The Russian Navy had 44 nuclear submarines with 24 operational; 19 diesel-electric submarines – 16 operational; and 56 first and second rank surface combatants – 37 operational.

In 2012 President Vladimir Putin announced a plan to build 51 modern ships and 24 submarines by 2020.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Navy

workingclass artist on March 20, 2013 at 10:36 AM

The 14 missiles slated for Alaska won’t be operational for years. Obama nixed their initial installation years ago. If he hadn’t, they would be ready to launch now if needed.

I guess it makes surrender seem more palatable when the Dems can say we didn’t have the defenses in place when the balloon went up. That way, they don’t have to fear an irate populace if we’re forced to ‘negotiate’ away territories, bases, and maybe Hawaii. But they might want to think twice on that last.

Liam on March 20, 2013 at 10:36 AM

Only three and a half more years of this to go….

Not like we need missile defense in Eastern Europe anyway…I mean everyone knows that the mullahs in Iran are our friends and ever soooooooooooooooooo stable…sarc/

abnormal_1 on March 20, 2013 at 10:37 AM

Drudge OT:

Prezzie Limo breaks down after being filled with Deisel instead of Gas.

Is this not the most perfect symbolism for this stupid, inept failure of this Administration managed by the Community Org. in Chief, fraud WH occupier ?

Poetry.

FlaMurph on March 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM

I think it is hilarious that his gm fancy bio proofed , kryptonite proof, intelligent proofed limo breaks down.
God almighty I miss Bush and his advisors.
Please come home Dick Cheney!

Me. Still an American but not so proud anymore. Sigh.

P.s. quote from movie hunt for red October, “we will be lucky if we all get out of this alive”.

(How many citizens would even have knowledge of above article or even be able to point
Poland out on the map, 20 percent if we are optimistic ? )

losarkos on March 20, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Yeah, the Russians have been so supportive of sanctions against Iran, haven’t they.

Does “Smart Power” come with K-Y jelly?

GarandFan on March 20, 2013 at 10:43 AM

Lol…excellent bobmbx

cmsinaz on March 20, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Ah, “imprudent” — as in inconceivable. If the US was to cough up this critical component of missile defense, why would we not use that decision to gain concessions in the other direction?

When one is a “Moderate” words like treason, traitor, or even seditious apparently either get stuck in ones throat, or simply aren’t in ones dictionary….. right Ed?

SWalker on March 20, 2013 at 10:53 AM

This man is going to be responsible for hundreds of thousands even millions od deaths before he is finished. He is walking death. I said this in 2008. My first impression of him was of a vampire, a ghoul, stalking the lightless realms of morbid ideology which in all of history has led only to death.

Whether it’s Israel, Eastern Europe, Western United States — somewhere, his malice, malfeasance and vicious unyielding idiocy is going to end up in massive loss of life.

rrpjr on March 20, 2013 at 10:10 AM

But hey, he really rocked that hoodie on the History Channel this weekend though, didn’t he?

Lily on March 20, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Most duplicitous and deceptive administration ever.

BuckeyeSam on March 20, 2013 at 10:56 AM

“…it was the component of the system most decried by Russia, which claimed that it could be used against its intercontinental missiles.”

And the problem with that feature is…what?!

NavyMustang on March 20, 2013 at 10:59 AM

But hey, he really rocked that hoodie on the History Channel this weekend though, didn’t he?

Lily on March 20, 2013 at 10:54 AM

OT: BOR had some entertainment reporter on his show last night who complained twice that there were no people of color in the entire series. I’ve watched very little of it, but I did notice a big, flabby Samson with a deep, dark tan and dreadlocks. She needed to check her facts.

BuckeyeSam on March 20, 2013 at 11:01 AM

“Hello, is this AAA?….uh….this is President Obama…and..uh…my car has broken down…we’re in Israel…thats right. Can you send a tow truck?

BobMbx on March 20, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Heh, I think he’s than more likely an Allstate mayhem guy.

antipc on March 20, 2013 at 11:01 AM

BREAKING!

“Hello, is this AAA?….uh….this is President Obama…and..uh…my car has broken down…we’re in Israel…thats right. Can you send a tow truck?

BobMbx on March 20, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Imagine if that were E15 !

Lucano on March 20, 2013 at 11:02 AM

Obama to US: “BOHICA!”.

tngmv on March 20, 2013 at 11:04 AM

OT: BOR had some entertainment reporter on his show last night who complained twice that there were no people of color in the entire series. I’ve watched very little of it, but I did notice a big, flabby Samson with a deep, dark tan and dreadlocks. She needed to check her facts.

BuckeyeSam on March 20, 2013 at 11:01 AM

To hell with historical accuracy, we must show people of color where they historically were not or we are being raaaaacist…. NEWS FLASH: The Jewish People were…. GASP Jewish….. The Bible is the Story of the Jewish People, as told by… GASP Jewish People.

If someone were to tell the historical story of my ancestors I would be greatly offended if someone of color demanded that my ancestors, Macbeth, Ivanhoe, William Wallace or Rob Roy were depicted by an African-American or any other person of Color.

SWalker on March 20, 2013 at 11:16 AM

No worse Ally, no better Enemy. :-(

The_Livewire on March 20, 2013 at 11:22 AM

I used to vehimently retort these comments as racist. Then I was corrected.

Anyway, I read that there were fair people around in ancient times, despite some revisionist history.

The BOR guest clearly said that there were no Anglo-white people around based on what you see today.

Plato had hazel eyes.

The builders and early rulers of the Roman Empire looked like fair Brits or Germans.

Caesar looked like Terry Bradshaw.

Alexander the Great was tall and blond.

Luckily, they intermarried and put darker folks in charge and the area became the garden spot of fabulous culture and military empires we see there today.

IlikedAUH2O on March 20, 2013 at 11:27 AM

BuckeyeSam on March 20, 2013 at 11:01 AM

My post above is to you, Buckeye. If it survives.

IlikedAUH2O on March 20, 2013 at 11:28 AM

This president has made a business of throwing western civilization under the bus.

He’s missed no opportunity to betray and deconstruct the standard of modern society.

Speakup on March 20, 2013 at 11:34 AM

After Obama, it’ll be a miracle if we have any allies left.

MTF on March 20, 2013 at 11:36 AM

But…but…but…the Liberals on HotAir said that Obama would NEVER pull the missile defense, that the whole Polish thing was just…a big misunderstanding.

Are there any Polish people here? No? Well, Ha ha ha …of course their request for missile defense was not Polish as it were…the United States Government would never…if our President had not…and as far as I know that is the way it always will be. Is that clear to everyone?


Like this

Bulletchaser on March 20, 2013 at 11:37 AM

This and along with everything else will not effect Barry’s popularity in any way shape or form. He has just under 4 years left to do whatever he wants and not be held responsible. Even worse, he will blame republicans for everything bad and take credit for everything good. There is nothing standing in his way. Nothing.

LeftCoastRight on March 20, 2013 at 11:43 AM

Weak and Stupid….

Baxter Greene on March 20, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Weak and Stupid….

The powers behind the puppet aren’t, however.

After Obama, it’ll be a miracle if we have any allies left.

All according to plan. His allies aren’t our nation’s allies.

hawkeye54 on March 20, 2013 at 11:49 AM

As it did when it canceled a previous European missile plan in 2009, the administration insisted that its decision had nothing to do with Russia or its objections.

LOL … Who believes THAT?
I wonder how much Emperör Øligula stands to gain financially once he is forced out of office in 2016? AND … At what price to America?
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on March 20, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Why is anyone surprised about this? Don’t you remember how Dear Leader said he “would have more flexibility after the election”?

worldtvlr on March 20, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Another case of Obama throwing an alley under the bus. What a truly horrible president and human being he is.

sadsushi on March 20, 2013 at 1:02 PM

At least dear leader gave Poland a 9 years heads up on breaking the promise of a missile defense. Wonder if he’ll give us a heads up before confiscating our savings.

Kissmygrits on March 20, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Why should the US taxpayers be forced to pay to defend eastern Europe?

MoreLiberty on March 20, 2013 at 10:25 AM

We shouldn’t. The Europeans seem to feel superior to and smarter than us U.S. rednecks, so let them figure out how to defend themselves and how to pay for it. They may not have all the neat Euro this and that subsidized indirectly by us any longer, but, oh well.

On the other hand…just can’t help this feeling that if Obama and his crew made his decision, it’s of no help whatsoever to the U.S. and in fact could be detrimental.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 20, 2013 at 4:28 PM

The missles would have killed Iranian missles headed for US, re-read article.

losarkos on March 22, 2013 at 3:52 AM