Obama ‘no commitment’ on missile shield

Barack Obama has made no commitment that a missile defense shield in eastern Europe will go ahead, an advisor to the president-elect said Saturday, in apparent contradiction of statements by Poland.

Earlier, a statement from Polish President Lech Kaczynski after the two men spoke by telephone said Obama had said he would go ahead with plans to build a missile defense shield in eastern Europe despite threats from Russia.

But Obama had given no such clear cut undertaking on the controversial program, his senior foreign policy advisor Denis McDonough said in a statement.

(The) “president-elect had a good conversation with the Polish President and the Polish Prime Minister about the important US-Poland alliance,” McDonough said in a statement.

“President Kaczynski raised missile defense but President-elect Obama made no commitment on it.


“His position is as it was throughout the campaign, that he supports deploying a missile defense system when the technology is proved to be workable.”

The statement by President Kaczynski appeared to put a different spin on the conversation between the two men.

“Barack Obama has underlined the importance of the strategic partnership between Poland and the United States, he expressed his hope of continuing the political and military cooperation between our two countries,” the statement read.

“He also said the anti-missile shield project would go ahead,” said a statement said.

Warsaw and Washington signed a deal on August 14 to base part of a US missile shield in Poland, despite Moscow’s opposition and mounting East-West tensions over Georgia.


The United States wants to base 10 interceptor missiles in Poland plus a radar facility in the neighboring Czech Republic by 2011-2013 to complete a system already in place in the United States, Greenland and Britain.

Washington says the shield — endorsed by NATO in February — is aimed at fending off potential attacks by so-called “rogue states” such as Iran, and is in no way aimed at Russia.

The United States warns that Iran could develop long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads by 2015-2017.

The plan has enraged Moscow and the Kremlin has threatened to aim its own missiles at the planned US installations.

Just hours after Obama’s historic election victory on Tuesday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow would station short-range missile systems in its Kaliningrad enclave wedged between Poland and fellow EU member Lithuania.

US negotiator John Rood said Thursday that Washington had given Russia fresh proposals to try to ease its concerns and hoped the row could still be resolved.


He said the offer was sent “earlier this week,” before Medvedev announced his plans to deploy missiles in Kaliningrad.

Medvedev’s remarks on Wednesday amounted to a warning shot to Obama and Washington’s allies in central Europe.

The European Union and NATO also expressed strong concern over Russia’s decision to deploy missiles on the EU’s doorstep.

Polish lawmakers have yet to ratify the US missile defense deal while the Czech government has called for a delay in a final vote on its radar agreements until the inauguration of President George W. Bush’s successor in January.



5 Responses to “Obama ‘no commitment’ on missile shield”

  1. pj Says:

    This is the first example of Obama administration diplomacy; indecipherable policies predicated upon unknown principles. The ABM system has several successful test firings proving that it will work. The system works well enough to kill an orbiting satellite. Saying it doesn’t work is a pretense designed to set the stage for cancellation.

    The PE wants to cancel missile defense systems because ABM systems might offend potential adversaries. It is better that we are vulnerable to attack than to offend an adversary. If honoring a pledge to a friend annoys an adversary the US will always, under an Obama administration, void the pledge to a friend to avoid offending someone who is not. This is exactly the kind of foreign relations fiasco that convinced the world that it was better to be an enemy of the U.S. than a friend.

  2. Joe W Says:

    Why are we still pointing nuclear missiles at each other – twenty years after the fall of the Soviet Union?
    Humanity is very sick.
    The most brilliant minds in America graduated from the top colleges, went to Wall Street financial Sector, and through schemes, scams, and outright fraud, dazzled us with their greed, corruption, insidious lobbyist payoffs, and a second depression.
    What a horrific waste of wealth and resources.
    Concerning Nuclear Missiles and “Shields”:
    R.D. Laing wrote in 1967 that ‘normal men have killed perhaps 150,000,000 of their fellow men in the past fifty years’.
    Actually, it was One hundred and fifty million of mostly women, children, and old people like in Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and Dresden (the three worst single day totals), and that’s the “good side”.
    It is time to start being adults. Only idiots want nuclear arsenals on perpetual trigger alert (now over fifty years and counting).

  3. Political Republican Opinion Says:

    Actually, didn’t Barack Obama’s website say that his administration would fund the missile shield program if it proved workable?

    It would seem that this is the old “chicken or the egg” thing. I’m not sure how his administration plans on proving the workability of a system that it will not fund until it proves itself.

    The wording alone, seems to suggest that he has no intention of exploring a missile defense system.

  4. Monika Says:

    What is the link to the Polish President’s website where it states that Obama agreed to go ahead with the anti missile defense plan? I went to the Polish President’s web site but did not see any such statements. Maybe my url address is wrong????

  5. pj Says:

    Joe W: Would that it were so but the real world is full of bad actors and evil despots. For reasons known only to deities our species still produces individuals perfectly willing to incinerate the planet so they can reign over the cinder. So long as that potential exists good people must posses awful weapons to discourage evil people from using awful weapons on the good people. Evil may wish to rule the cinder but not ruling the cinder because they were fried in the process is not an option they relish. Bad guys don’t want to die, they want us to die.

    I note that you did not include the death totals of any tyrants in your post. Stalin probably killed thirty million Russian civilians while Hitler only killed about ten million Russians. Hitler killed another twenty million or so and Japan probably caused another twenty million or so to die for the Empire. Did you forget about them? Are they meaningless because they were killed by self described socialists and imperialists?

    Mankind has proven impossible to perfect. Until such time as there are no more tyrants in waiting we must be prepared to protect our nation by being able to incinerate any potential adversary. That means nuclear weapons on hair trigger alert. Unless of course we can destroy every potential incoming warhead before it reaches us.

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