Cliff May

Senator Kirk also drafted a memo providing “context” for what he fears is the Administration’s eagerness to reveal to the Kremlin “some of our country’s most sensitive technology, collection assets and real-time intelligence.”

“Admitting the Russians into the most important and time-sensitive parts of our nation’s defense,” the memo argues, “is extremely risky and could present a fatal vulnerability… Providing Russia any access to US sensitive data would undermine the national security of the United States.”

Kirk lists a dozen recent cases of Russian espionage targeting the U.S. and about the same number of instances of Russian collaboration with Iran’s efforts to develop ballistic missiles. In addition, as “part of its assistance to Iran in building the Bushehr nuclear reactor, Russia has trained some 1,500 Iranian nuclear engineers, according to the Congressional Research Service.”

So to be clear: Russia is helping Iran develop nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them to its enemies – America, the “Great Satan” tops that list – while simultaneously “insisting” the US give Russian officials – for example, former KGB officer Vladimir Putin -- the power to decide whether Americans can defend themselves and their allies from Iranian attacks.

If President Obama sees such ideas as ludicrous, if this is not at all where he’s heading, he should say so. A brief letter would do. At least 39 Senators will be anxiously checking their mailboxes.

One addendum: In 1995, Lowell Wood, a respected astrophysicist involved with the Strategic Defense Initiation and affiliated with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, proposed a rather different model of international cooperation: “a world-wide missile defense based on space-based interceptors in which each of the sponsoring nations could independently elect to cause the system to block a missile launch coming from anywhere and headed to anywhere, but no nation could defeat or delay operation of the system if another nation had authorized it.”

In other words, all the participating nations would have the right to defend themselves – none would have a finger on a “red button” that would leave a target defenseless. This good idea – a global, space-based anti-missile umbrella -- won no awards at the time. Memo to the President: Why not revive it?


Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.