The United States has effectively canceled the final phase of a Europe-based missile defense system that was fiercely opposed by Russia and cited repeatedly by the Kremlin as a major obstacle to cooperation on nuclear arms reductions and other issues.Now why in the world should we need missile defense against North Korea? They're broke and starving, almost as bad as the sequestration. Certainly they don't have the money to make a workable missile system with a nuclear weapon.
Russian officials here have so far declined to comment on the announcement, which was made in Washington on Friday by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel as part of a plan to deploy additional ballistic missile interceptors to counter North Korea. The cancellation of some European-based defenses will allow resources to be shifted to protect against North Korea.
It's hard to threaten Europe if there's a missile shield. Thank goodness Obama is making it possible for Russia to keep the Europeans in fear.
Aides to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said there would be no reaction until early next week, when they expect to be briefed by American officials.
But Russian news accounts quickly raised the possibility that the decision could portend a breakthrough in what for years has been a largely intractable dispute between Russia and the United States. A headline by the Itar-Tass news agency declared, “U.S. abandons fourth phase of European missile defense system that causes the greatest objections from Russia.”
Russian leaders on several occasions used meetings with President Obama to press their complaints about the missile defense program. At one such meeting, in South Korea last March, Mr. Obama was heard on a live microphone telling the outgoing Russian president Dmitri A. Medvedev in a private aside that he would have “more flexibility” to negotiate on missile defense after the November presidential election in November.