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Flap’s Links and Comments for March 15th on 11:04

These are my links for March 15th from 11:04 to 11:07:

  • Joseph R. Biden Jr.: The Case for Ratifying New Start – In September 2009, when President Obama decided to alter his predecessor's plans for missile defense in Europe, some critics claimed that we had sacrificed our allies in the interest of the "reset" with Russia. Others thought that we would derail the reset by proceeding with the new plan. The skeptics were wrong on both counts.

    At NATO's summit in Lisbon last weekend, President Obama united Europe behind our missile-defense plans and received strong support for the New Start Treaty that is currently before the Senate. In doing so, he proved that missile defense and arms control can proceed hand-in-hand.

    It's hard to remember how much relations between the United States and our European allies had frayed before this administration took office. U.S. leadership was viewed negatively by many foreign publics, and U.S. policies often met with opposition from our traditional partners. The positive atmosphere in Lisbon—and the substantial progress on priorities like missile defense, arms control and the Russia reset—simply would not have been possible without nearly two years of intensive diplomacy.

    NATO's adoption of territorial missile defense as a new mission shows that President Obama has rebuilt the alliance's underlying consensus about the threats we face and how to meet them. Once considered an insurmountable political, technical and financial challenge, NATO's decision to embrace territorial missile defense demonstrates the alliance's determination to meet 21st-century threats.

    The ballistic missile threat to our allies, partners and deployed forces is real and growing, particularly from Iran. Unlike previous approaches, this NATO missile-defense system will protect all NATO allies in Europe, not just some. And it will protect more European territory sooner than the system it replaced. The capability will improve over time, addressing existing and near-term threats first, then expanding to provide greater coverage and protection as the threat and technology evolve.

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    Read it all.

    What a difference 10 years makes

  • Senator Joseph Biden on "Missile Defense Delusion" from 2001 – Op-ed column from The Washington Post on 12/19/01) (880)
    19 December 2001

    (This column by Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., chairman of the Senate
    Foreign Relations Committee, first appeared in the Washington Post
    December 19, 2001 and is in the public domain. No republication
    restrictions.)

    Missile Defense Delusion
    By Joseph R. Biden Jr.

    Washington being what it is, the idea that politics and ideology
    should be set aside for a higher purpose may seem a quaint, naive
    sentiment. But few would argue with the statement that the ultimate
    test in deciding to scrap a treaty that has helped keep the peace for
    30 years is whether it makes the United States more or less secure. In
    that light, President Bush's decision to unilaterally walk away from
    the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is a serious mistake.

    No one doubts we live in a dangerous world and that our enemies are
    ruthless. But a "Star Wars" defense, assuming it could be made to
    work, would address only what the Joint Chiefs of Staff argue is the
    least likely threat to our national security.

    One of the lessons we should have learned from the devastating attack
    of Sept. 11 is that terrorists determined to do this nation harm can
    employ a wide variety of means, and that weapons of mass destruction
    — chemical, biological or even nuclear — need not arrive on the tip
    of an intercontinental ballistic missile with a return address. That's
    why the Joint Chiefs of Staff argue that an ICBM launch ranks last on
    the "Threat Spectrum," while terrorist attacks constitute the greatest
    potential threat to our national security.

    The administration's obsession with missile defense — with a price
    tag in excess of a quarter-trillion dollars for the layered program on
    the president's wish list — is doubly troubling because of the
    attention and resources being diverted from critical efforts to
    address genuine threats. While the president says nonproliferation is
    a high priority, his actions speak louder. Notwithstanding promises of
    new efforts, the fiscal year 2002 budget that he requested would have
    cut more than $100 million out of programs designed to corral Russia's
    "loose nukes," provide help that Russia has requested to destroy its
    chemical weapons stockpile and prevent unemployed Russian scientists
    from selling their services to terrorist organizations.

    Only when it comes to missile defense is the administration pushing
    hard. But nothing could be more damaging to global nonproliferation
    efforts than to go forward with Star Wars. Russia has enough offensive
    weapons to overwhelm any system we could devise, so the real issue is
    what happens in China and throughout Asia.

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    VP Joe Biden as a Senator had never been a fan of national missile defense, but now?

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