On Thursday President Obama dumped a Bush-era missile defense plan for Europe that Russia had bitterly opposed and offered defense systems to protect against Iran he said would be faster and more flexible.
In a move that could spur regional fears of resurgent Kremlin influence, Obama said he had approved recommendations from U.S. military leaders to shift focus to defending against Iran's short- and medium-term missiles.
"This new approach will provide capabilities sooner, build on proven systems and offer greater defenses against the threat of missile attack," Obama said, scrapping plans put in place by the Bush administration for ground-based interceptors in Poland and a related radar site in the Czech Republic.
Moscow said it would welcome the decision to drop former President George W. Bush's project, which had complicated U.S. efforts to enlist Russian support on Afghanistan, Iran and nuclear arms control.
But critics accused the White House of dangerous weakness. Bush's plans had raised hopes of huge contracts among U.S. defense giants.
Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate who lost to Obama in 2008, blasted the move as "seriously misguided" and former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, a leading Bush-era hawk, was scathing.
"It's just unambiguously bad decision," he said. "Russia and Iran are the big winners. I just think it's a bad day for American national security."
What’s the trade?
I’d look at Russia, says Tim Seymour. If Obama's move improves our relations with Russia it should benefit Mobile TeleSystemsMechel , and Vimpel-Comm .
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