President Barack Obama on Thursday scrapped a Bush-era missile defense plan for Europe that Russia had bitterly opposed and offered what he said would be faster, more flexible defense systems to protect against Iran.
In a move that could spur fears of resurgent Kremlin influence, Obama said he had approved recommendations from U.S. military leaders to shift focus to defending against Iran's short- and medium-range missiles.
"This new approach will provide capabilities sooner, build on proven systems and offer greater defenses against the threat of missile attack," Obama said, dropping plans of his White House predecessor George W. Bush for ground-based interceptors in Poland and a related radar site in the Czech Republic.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hailed the decision, which removed an issue clouding U.S. efforts to enlist Russian support on Afghanistan, Iran and nuclear arms control.
"We value the U.S. president's responsible approach toward implementing our agreements," Medvedev said in an address shown on national television. "I am ready to continue the dialogue."
Critics accused the White House of dangerous weakness.
Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate who lost to Obama in 2008, blasted the move as "seriously misguided" and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, a leading Bush-era hawk, was scathing.
"It's just unambiguously a bad decision," Bolton said. "Russia and Iran are the big winners. I just think it's a bad day for American national security."
If I remember correctly, Obama and his party's constant mantra against George W. Bush was that Bush was "alienating our allies."
But what is Obama doing? He lets Iranians who clamor for freedom die on the street as they're being murdered and assaulted by the regime's thugs. He calls for the reinstatement of Honduras' deposed leader who has the Chavez/Castro Red Seal of Approval. Now, the Eastern Europeans who owe their freedom to the policies of Ronald Reagan are now being told they have to twist in the wind because Obama doesn't want to offend the Russians.
It's clear that, as I said once before, this Administration is the most hostile in American history to the cause of human freedom. They've proven it again today.