By now the GOP national security establishment is sufficiently apoplectic over President Obama’s off-the-cuff statement at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul to outgoing Russian President Dimitry Medvedev that he’d have more “flexibility” on missile defense after November’s election. There have been the usual accusations of Obama’s appeasement of Moscow and his selling out of American national security. Fortunately Jacob Heilbrunn at the National Interest responds to the wailing with a cold dose of reality:
The good news would be if Obama really was prevaricating—if he was secretly prepared to jettison an expensive and worthless missile-defense program that is . . .
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If we are lucky (and by ‘we’ I mean political scientists), we will soon find out if John J. Mearsheimer was right—maybe not on offensive realism, but at least on the purpose of U.S. troop presence in Europe. The new strategic framework put out by the Obama administration represents what some have called a pivot towards the Asia-Pacific. Implicit in this shift is less attention and resources put towards Europe. In practical terms this will likely mean drawing down the troop presence in Europe, which today numbers 80,718 active duty service members (as of September 30, 2011).
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A June 13 subcommittee hearing of the Senate Appropriations Committee has generated some controversy about President Obama’s missile defense plans. At the hearing, Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) confronted outgoing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen about potential problems with the advanced version of the SM-3 (Standard Missile 3) —the Block IIB—interceptor that will be deployed at the end of the decade to complete the planned Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense in Europe. While most of the commentary following the hearing has focused on potential problems with the SM-3 as . . .
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Gary Schmitt of the American Enterprise Institute has finally found a weapon system he would cut from the defense budget. The Defending Defense advocate, writing on the Weekly Standard’s blog in late December, proposes cutting a redundant and unnecessary air and missile defense program deployed in Europe:
Continue reading Continuing the MEADS Misery