Cliff May

Last week, the major media focused on issues of global consequence – like whether Mitt Romney and his “prep school posse” engaged in forcible hair-cutting almost a half century ago. Most journalists had little time or patience for the issue preoccupying the majority on the House Armed Services Committee: whether Americans should have the right and capability to defend themselves from missile attacks.

Of course, the Associated Press covers just about everything, no matter how trivial, so it did produce a brief dispatch, emphasizing – in typically objective fashion – what it saw as the real news: “Republicans injected presidential politics into the debate, questioning President Obama’s commitment to missile defense.”

The unmitigated gall! Just because Senator Obama, in January of 2001, said on television, “I, for example, don’t agree with a missile defense system,” is that any reason to question his commitment to missile defense? Besides, views … evolve. In 2008, presidential candidate Obama pledged to cut $10 billion from missile defense -- about $1 billion more than the U.S. was spending at that time on missile defense. Some Republicans tried to spin that, too, as suggesting a less-than-robust commitment to missile defense.

More recently, President Obama, not realizing he was speaking into a “hot mic,” told then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to tell now-Russian President Vladimir Putin that he’ll have more “flexibility” on missile defense after November’s elections. Let’s be honest: There are Americans who oppose the U.S. remaining permanently vulnerable to a Russian missile attack. Medvedev and Putin find this attitude insensitive – so much so that the chief of the Russian general staff has said that if Americans persist in seeking the capability to defend themselves from Russia, “a decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken …”


Cliff May

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