President Obama got to close to a live microphone on Monday, and let the press overhear a conversation that was supposed to be confidential. In what he thought was a private conversation, Obama asked Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to stop complaining about America’s planned European missile shield until he, President Obama, has been safely re-elected. The obvious implication was that the US would cancel the program, as Russia has been demanding, once the US President can afford to ignore what the American people think.
Medvedev promised to relay the Obama’s request to Russian strong man Vladimir Putin (who basically controls the Russian government no matter what official title he might hold at any given time).
The fundamental argument here, which President Obama seems to be willing to lose, is just a slight variation of the same basic missile defense debate that goes all the way back to 1983. Putin wants to be able to detonate nuclear weapons over Berlin or Paris, just in case he might ever want to, and the missile defense system would take that option away from him.
In this issue, as with so many others, you can figure out what liberals in the US want by simply asking yourself what America’s enemies want. Mainstream history books portray Reagan’s SDI as immoral and foolish, and that’s just how Soviet propaganda portrayed it at the time.
Then as now, the Russian leadership portrayed missile defense as an offensive weapon that threatened their safety. Then as now, liberals in the US media and the US government looked at it the same way.