Via Weasel Zippers,
SEOUL – President Barack Obama offered a private request Monday to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for some “space” on missile defense ahead of November’s elections.
“On all these issues, particularly on missile defense, this, this can be solved but it’s important for him to give me space,” Obama said, referring to incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a TV pool reporter who heard audio recorded by a Russian reporter who was in the room moments before the two leaders spoke to reporters after their 90-minute meeting.
“Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you,” Medvedev responded.
A U.S. pool video camera in the room caught part of the audio, but not the piece about missile defense.
“This is my last election,” Obama said in audio that could be heard on the TV pool’s recording and that POLITICO listened to. “After my election I have more flexibility.”
Medvedev told Obama he understood and “will transmit this information to Vladimir.”
Just last week, Dick Morris was alerting people to the Obama administration’s scheme to strip America of vital defense capabilities through a web of international treaties and agreements.
Already, Clinton is negotiating a code of conduct in outer space that would effectively ban our capacity to destroy satellites and put interceptor missiles in space.
Last week, the president announced that he was going to provide the Russians with detailed technical information about the anti-missile systems he plans to base in Eastern Europe, in the hopes of lessening Russian opposition to their deployment. He is exacting no reciprocal sharing of intelligence, nor can he be sure that Vladimir Putin will not just turn around and forward the gift package to North Korea or Iran.
Reuters noted that “the Obama administration is leaving open the possibility of giving Moscow certain secret data on U.S. interceptor missiles due to help protect Europe from any Iranian missile strike. A deal is being sought by Washington that could include classified data exchange because it is in the U.S. interest to enlist Russia and its radar stations in the missile-defense effort, a Pentagon spokeswoman said Tuesday.”
Defense advocates are especially fearful that these negotiations could lead to a side agreement to limit the velocity of our missile interceptors or place other limits on our anti-missile capability. In the 1990s, the Clinton administration agreed to limit velocity to 3 kilometers per second.
Hank Cooper, who was President Reagan’s ambassador in charge of defending the Strategic Defense Initiative in the Geneva Defense and Space Talks with the Soviet Union and later served as director of the SDI program, said he is worried that “these negotiations might turn into some ‘executive’ agreement that limits the velocity of future improvements to the SM-3 — or other missile defense interceptors.”
He said this would be a “very bad idea — as was demonstrated by the Clinton administration’s side agreement on the margins of the U.N. that limited the velocity of our theater missile defense interceptors. … We got rid of this [agreement] as a byproduct of withdrawing from the ABM Treaty in 2002 — it would be a very bad idea to bring it back in any form.”
Cooper and others argue that Russia already knows our missile velocity from having observed our tests, and that Moscow is seeking these negotiations to tie our hands by prohibiting improvements in our anti-missile technology.
WHD’s Keith Koffler reports that Russia is claiming to be “exasperated” over the plan for an anti-missile shield in Europe, which is meant to to defend against Iran.
But Eastern Europe views the plan as a way to help ensure its defense against Russia. Obama presumably would not want to anger sizable Eastern European voting blocs in key presidential battleground states in the Midwest by making drastic changes to the program before the election. Nor would he want to open himself to the charge from his Republican adversary that he’s weak on defense.
A White House official sought to explain the remarks by saying “there is a lot of rhetoric around this issue.”
It would appear that there are a lot of cynical political calculations surrounding the issue, too, which we can add to the short list of Obama policies influenced by Obama’s election calendar, as tabulated by Charles Krauthammer, last Fall:
• the Canadian oil pipeline that would have produced thousands of truly shovel-ready jobs. Sure, delay could forfeit to China a supremely important strategic asset — a nearby, highly reliable source of energy. But approval was calculated to be a political loss for the president. Easy choice.
• Obama’s decision to wind down the Afghan surge in September 2012 is militarily inexplicable. It comes during the fighting season. It was recommended by none of his own military commanders. It is explicable only as a talking point for the final days of his reelection campaign.
• At the height of the debt-ceiling debate last July, Obama pledged to veto any agreement that was not long term. Definition of long term? By another amazing coincidence, any deal large enough to get him past Election Day (and thus avoid another such crisis next year).
• It was revealed that last year the administration pressured Solyndra, as it was failing, to delay its planned October 28 announcement of layoffs until November 3 — the day after the midterm election.
Has there ever been a more cynical or corrupt administration in American history?
Ace: Obama Caught On Open Mike: Hey, Comrade, If You Just Give Me More “Space” Right Now, I’ll Have More “Flexibility” After The Election To Cut ABM Defense
Sister Toldjah: And just what does President Obama need “space” for?
Let this serve as a reminder that, no matter how unsatisfying the Republican candidates may be, the overriding goal is to defeat Obama in November.
And God bless open mics.
RELATED READING: If you want to understand the “strategic vision” of the liberal internationalists now running our foreign affairs, start with Krauthammer’s “Decline is a Choice.”
UPDATE: The head of the House Armed Services Committee wants answers.
HotAir: Congressman to Obama: You’d better not be trading away our missile defense, champ;Update: A hint on Obama’s “flexibility” from Putin? Update: McCain calls Obama “a real Etch-a-Sketch leader”:
That’s not fooling Rep. Michael Turner, who chairs the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, which has direct oversight on missile-defense issues. Turner sent a letter to the White House this morning, demanding answers from Obama on whether he’s planning on defying Congress and trading away missile defense.
Sarah Palin on her Facebook page: The Audacity of Obama’s Intentions Revealed:
Let’s consider what this “flexibility” might mean. We know that he has repeatedly conceded to foreign demands and backed down on missile defense. I pointed this out as Governor of Alaska when he proposed reducing Alaska’s missile defense system capabilities. I explained then that the President’s proposed military cuts would diminish Alaska’s opportunity to defend the union with our strategic location’s defense infrastructure. We also know that in 2009, as part of his “reset” with Russia, President Obama turned his back on our Eastern European allies by abandoning past promises for a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic.
We can’t know for certain what this newly revealed “flexibility” means, but considering President Obama’s past actions, be sure it won’t involve a position of strength for America and our allies. Russia has been thwarting us on one issue after another, including the rushed-through New START Treaty that many of us questioned after Obama insisted America ratify it first, then allow Russia to sit on it – unratified on their end – until it suited that foreign power’s needs.
Meanwhile, North Korea is planning another long-range missile launch, and the United States and our allies are still vulnerable to the threat of ballistic missiles. Our president has done nothing to alleviate this vulnerability; in fact, he’s done just the opposite. He has consistently taken a position of weakness and naïve trust in Putin’s Russia. Consider that one-sided New START Treaty as an example of this. Or consider those cuts to Alaska’s missile defense system, which leaves us much more vulnerable in the face of a nuclear North Korea. Now consider the state of our national defense under a President who whispers to a foreign power that he needs even “more flexibility” to weaken us further.