December 21, 2010
By Zbigniew Mazurak
Documents from the State Department published by WikiLeaks show that the Obama administration surrendered the missile shield previously planned by the Bush administration to Europe because of Russian demands, not because of any supposed intel reports.
The original missile defense scheme was devised by the Bush administration, which persuaded Poland and the Czech Republic to authorize missile defense systems (ten unarmed interceptors and a radar) to be deployed on their soil. In April 2008, Bush outmaneuvered Vladimir Putin by obtaining an endorsement of this scheme from all NATO allies before the Russian leader reached Bucharest for the NATO-Russia summit.
Russia has always opposed this scheme, putatively because the scheme would undermine Russia's nuclear deterrent (which it wouldn't -- ten unarmed interceptors can't undermine an arsenal of hundreds of ICBMs and SLBMs as well as 113 strategic bombers). Really, Russia is in the middle of selling a nuclear reactor and tons of nuclear fuel to Iran, and the Kremlin doesn't want the West to be able to defend itself against the incipient Iranian nuclear threat. Russia is also eager to claw Central Europe back into its sphere of influence.
Bush wisely chose not to succumb to Moscow, but he was replaced in 2009 by Barack Obama.