GOP Lawmakers Call for Reviving Bush-Era Antimissile Plan

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) gestures during remarks to the press while visiting Budapest in January. McCain and other conservative lawmakers have urged that the United States respond to Russia's occupation of the Crimean Peninsula by reviving a canceled Bush-era missile defense plan for Europe.
Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) gestures during remarks to the press while visiting Budapest in January. McCain and other conservative lawmakers have urged that the United States respond to Russia's occupation of the Crimean Peninsula by reviving a canceled Bush-era missile defense plan for Europe. (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images)

Some prominent GOP lawmakers are urging reconsideration of a canceled Bush-era antimissile plan in response to Russia's recent incursion in Ukraine.

U.S. Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) in a Monday interview with Fox News said the United States should respond to Moscow's continuing military occupation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula by restarting "the missile defense system that Obama canceled in order to placate [Russian President Vladimir] Putin in the Czech Republic and Poland," Newsmax reported.

The George W. Bush administration plan would have deployed 10 long-range Ground Based Interceptors in Poland and a large radar installation in the Czech Republic, aimed at better sheltering the United States from possible ballistic-missile attacks. The Obama administration canceled that blueprint in 2009 in favor of its own European Phased Adaptive Approach. The Obama program focuses on gradually fielding through 2020 increasingly capable Standard Missile 3 interceptors on warships based in the Mediterranean and at bases in Poland and Romania.

U.S. Representative Michael Turner (R-Ohio), who sits on the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters on Tuesday the White House "needs to reengage again on forward basing missile defense assets in Europe ... that the president has abandoned in trying to appease and get a greater relationship with Russia."

Russia vehemently opposed the Bush-era plan. When the Obama administration axed the plan early in its first term, some conservatives initially viewed the move as a sop to Moscow, which was concerned the GBI missiles could undermine strategic nuclear stability on the continent. However, the Kremlin soon had its own objections to the replacement Obama plan, and has not eased up on its demands for a legally binding promise that the Standard Missile 3 interceptors would never target Russian nuclear arms.

Czech President Miloš Zeman on Tuesday said there was no point in reviving the Bush-era antimissile plan, the Czech News Agency reported.

"The president opposed the project [from the beginning], he considered it ineffective, and nothing has changed about his position," Zeman spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said to the news agency.

Meanwhile, NATO on Wednesday announced it had begun surveillance flights over Romania and Poland that are aimed at monitoring the security situation in Ukraine, the Associated Press reported.

March 12, 2014
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Some prominent GOP lawmakers are urging reconsideration of a canceled Bush-era antimissile plan in response to Russia's recent incursion in Ukraine.