US scrapped missile defense “not just to please Russia”
“The US concluded that the real threat in the next few years is short range and medium range [missiles]. That’s the reason they went to this new sea-based system,” Kupchan said.
A fringe benefit of that decision, he said, “was that the missile defense issue – the deployment in Poland and the Czech Republic – that so irked Russia has been taken off the table”.
And now, one step after another – first meetings, then discussions of missile defense and Strategic Arms Reduction treaty – we may see improvements in relations between Russia and the US.
“I think that the Obama administration finds itself in a somewhat difficult position because there are a lot of people who were saying “You’ve sold out Poland and the Czech Republic, you’ve caved in to Russia,” Kupchan said.
”I don’t think that’s what happened,” he added. “But nonetheless I think, as you look over the horizon where this plan may go, there probably will be some ground based missiles. It may well be that some of them are in Poland or the Czech Republic or somewhere else.”
Kupchan believes if relations between the US and Russia improve, “one can have a conversation that perhaps brings Russia in – Russia becomes a part of the missile defense system, maybe houses a radar”.
And then, he said, the Russians won’t see it as a threat, but as “a collective effort to deal with a threat from Iran to Europe as a whole”.