For those who remember the “Star Wars” hysteria of the 1980s, when it was an article of faith among liberals that missile defense was 1) impossible and 2) a mortal threat to world peace, it is remarkable to see President Obama, formerly the candidate of the anti-war left, announcing the first real foreign policy success of his administration–a missile defense system on which NATO and Russia will collaborate:
The anti-missile coverage would be anchored by a U.S. land- and sea-based deployment, reconfigured by Obama from earlier plans devised under the Bush administration. In its current shape, the planned network of U.S. anti-missile radars and interceptor missiles in eastern Europe and Turkey has not been interpreted by Russia as a threat to its nuclear deterrence. …
The new idea, a senior NATO official said, would be to link individual national missile defenses into the U.S. network and place them all under a NATO command and control center with authority to respond to an attack. The goal, he added, would be to provide coverage to all Europe’s NATO members in crisis situations, with perhaps Russia also drawn under the coverage blanket if the cooperation works as hoped.
Maybe the Obama plan is different from President Reagan’s in that it will protect Europe but not the United States; or maybe because NATO will control the system; or maybe because Russia is now involved in the plan. But it is disorienting to those of us who remember the Cold War, and the Democrats’ frequently discreditable role in its later stages, to see a Democratic President taking credit for missile defense as a signal foreign policy achievement.