President Obama’s decision to scrap plans for a missile defense shield is a political bombshell, writes Robin Oakley for CNN. America’s allies in Poland and the Czech Republic are left holding the bag after expending significant political capital on the unpopular system. Abandoning it might make their lives easier, but it won’t make them likelier to embrace future US causes. Moscow, meanwhile, must choose whether to tout its victory or embrace the move as a sign of easing relations.
The move certainly indicates a less adventurous foreign policy under Obama, and a reluctance to spend money on a system of questionable viability—critics say that the idea of essentially hitting a bullet with another bullet at speeds of four miles a second is wildly unfeasible. Obama said today he remains “committed” to missile defense but intends to take a “new approach,” using technology “that is both proven and cost-effective.”