Today’s news that the Obama administration is scrapping the Missile Defense system that the Bush administration had planned to build in Eastern Europe doesn’t have the political charge of health care reform for a mass political audience. But it’s a very big deal to neoconservative intellectuals and agitprop-meisters as well as a big deal on the far right.
To summarize the US planned to build a missile defense system notionally tied to the threat of Iranian missile strikes again Europe, particularly Eastern Europe but, to basically anyone who was paying attention (including the Russians) focused on Russia and deterring any Russian plans to overawe and intimidate its former client states in Eastern Europe.
I noticed on Drudge today that the headline was Obama ‘abandoning Europe.’ But of course this would be abandoning in the essence of taking away the missile defense the Europeans have mainly been asking us for years not to build. So it’s ‘abandon’ in a very specialized sense.
In any case, look for a lot of appearances from John Bolton on Fox and other such outlets explaining that we’re letting down our guard against the Russians just as the Russian threat is declining to virtual non-existence. And watch for this to become a big ‘soft on defense’ cudgel for the right, particularly for folks with 2012 ambitions.
Josh Marshall is editor and publisher of TalkingPointsMemo.com.