Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak this week questioned why presumptive Republican U.S. presidential nominee Mitt Romney was criticizing the White House for backing out of Bush-era agreements to field antimissile systems in Europe, the Wall Street Journal reported (see GSN, July 25).
During Tuesday remarks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Romney accused President Obama of not tending to important U.S. partnerships with friendly nations. Romney was referring to the 2009 decision by the Obama administration to cancel its predecessor's plans to field 10 long-range missile interceptors in Poland and a large radar base in the Czech Republic.
"It began with the sudden abandonment of friends in Poland and the Czech Republic," the former Massachusetts governor said. "They had courageously agreed to provide sites for our antimissile systems, only to be told, at the last hour, that the agreement was off" (see GSN, Oct. 21, 2009).
"People have moved on," Lajcak told the Journal. "We are in a different situation now. We are discussing a different project. I see no reason to revisit discussions from three years back."
The White House instituted its own "phased adaptive approach" for European missile defense. The modified Obama plan is to through 2020 field increasingly sophisticated land- and sea-based missile interceptors around the continent. Beginning in 2018, Poland is to host a contingent of future-generation interceptors. The U.S. effort is to form the core of a broader NATO project to link up and augment individual member nations' antimissile capabilities.
The Obama administration says the initiative is aimed at protecting NATO allies from an evolving Iranian ballistic missile threat. Russia had strongly opposed the Bush plan, seeing it as a threat to its strategic nuclear forces. Moscow has raised similar concerns over the Obama plan.
Lajcak advocated for the continued multilateral nature of the evolving ballistic missile shield in Europe. He said NATO member states must continue to attempt to convince Moscow that the missile defense system is not a threat.
"No individual country can protect themselves from global threats. Global threats require global protection," the foreign minister stated. "The missile defense system is the answer" (Julian Barnes, Wall Street Journal, July 26).
Slovak Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajcak this week questioned why presumptive Republican U.S. presidential nominee Mitt Romney was criticizing the White House for backing out of Bush-era agreements to field antimissile systems in Europe, the Wall Street Journal reported.