“This is just pre-emptive capitulation, although like everything else, the rhetoric is that we’re doing the opposite.” It doesn’t make sense that we should only be concerned with the short-and-medium-range threat and not also with “the long-range threat 2 or 3 years from now.” And our intelligence on Iran is manifestly “inadequate.” I wouldn’t “bet a lot of money on it being right,” and in any case, “there’s this concept called ‘break-out,'” where they achieve a quantum leap in their capability. It’s a “bet against the future” that leaves “us and the Europeans in a more risky situation.” All the talk of the intelligence changing and an enhanced short-and-medium-range capability is “blue smoke and mirrors” because they never believed in missile defense. “It’s a convenient smoke-screen to do what they wanted to do anyway, which is to give up on missile defense in the hope the Russians will be nice to us.” Secretary Gatesâ€™s comments were the “most disingenuous.” Yes, we want a defense against the short-and-medium-range threat, but the whole idea of missile defense is based on a “layered defense.” “Gates was a problem in the Bush administration on missile defense. He was always weak on this.”
* The administration believes that by giving such a gesture of goodwill to the Russians, they will be more willing to give in to our request that they join in sanctions against Iran. Here, the presidentâ€™s lack of negotiation experience may have come in to play. Yes, sometimes in a negotiation you give up something that is important to you, but you do that only when the other party has agreed to give you something you want even more. You donâ€™t give before you get. But here itâ€™s even worse than that: The president has taught Putin that when he blusters and threatens, America caves.
* The administration is also teaching our friends some very unfortunate lessons; the Eastern Europeans who have stood so valiantly with America and who took political heat for backing the missile-defense system have simply been brushed aside. They have to wonder why America is treating its foes better than it is treating its friends. Itâ€™s a question that also is surely being asked in Israel and Honduras.
* The administrationâ€™s discounting of Iranâ€™s nuclear progress tells Israel that if it is to stop what its own intelligence may believe is an imminent threat, it may have to act alone â€” and precipitously.
If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at email@example.com.