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Why the Missile Defense Change Isn’t the Larger Issue

• Stephen D. Estes

On September 17, 2009 President Obama under Direction from US Defense Secretary Robert Gates opted to shift gears with regard to an Eastern European missile defense system that was put into motion under the Bush administration. The decision to replace Bush’s plan has been met with stern opposition and criticism from some in Congress, the media and others claiming that the move will embolden Russia and shun our allies in that region.

In this instance I am going to have to agree with Obama and Gates, but don’t boo and hiss just yet. I am going to explain to you why it is of little consequence to us or our allies what kind of defense system is put in place. You see my friends, this missile defense issue is merely the tip of a very, very large ice-burg. There is a lot at stake in Europe and a lot of information that isn’t being reported on in traditional channels or that has not been put together in order to paint the whole picture. What’s being reported are only individual pixels.

I would like to begin this report by explaining why the shift in missile defense strategy is prudent. The most important issues to keep in mind are the timing and the time frame. The original missile defense system would not have been in full operation until 2017. The new plan shaves some six years off the completion date. In addition, most of the infrastructure is already in place to get the system fully operational. As for the timing of the announcement - the President and his advisors are more than aware that recent posturing by the Russians, movements around Eastern Europe and the Black Sea as well as a revelation with regards to Iranian nuclear progress have lent to expedite completion of an operable missile defense system. This is a timely reorganization move and it’s implementation is crucial to rapidly approaching events.

What we are hearing about the most in the news is the Iranian nuclear threat. One day the reports claim that there is no credible eminent threat to the safety of the United States or it’s allies. The next report will tell us that the Iranians are indeed a threat and close to having nuclear capabilities.

 

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