So I’m a little late to the game on this, but last week Mitt Romney foreign policy adviser Ambassador Pierre Prosper dug up a familiar GOP attack on President Obama’s missile defense policy:
You know Russia is another example where we give and Russia gets and we get nothing in return. The United States abandoned its missile defense sites in Poland and Czechoslovakia, yet Russia does nothing but obstruct us, or efforts in Iran and Syria.
Prosper’s Czechoslovakia gaffe received most of the attention (apparently another Romney adviser referred to Russia as the Soviet Union during the same press call), but it wasn’t even the biggest gaffe in the sentence. Regular readers now that we go crazy every time someone tries to rewrite the history of the transition from the Bush administration’s proposed 3rd national missile defense site in Europe to the Phased Adaptive Approach. As then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates noted last year:
And let’s be blunt: The third site in Europe was not going to happen, because the Czech government wouldn’t approve the radar….And so if it was going to happen at all, it would’ve taken years longer [than the Phased Adaptive Approach] and we still hadn’t negotiated the required agreements with the Poles in terms of the interceptors.
And at last week’s Senate Strategic Forces Subcommittee hearing on missile defense, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear and Missile Defense Policy Brad Roberts tried to pull Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) back from the edge of the cliff when the good Senator started in the direction of the Romney campaign line:
Sir, when I assumed my responsibilities, my first briefing on European third site was that initial operational capability had slipped to 2018. At the same time, we’d also lost the support of the Czech government for the radar.
I’d like to think this would set the record straight, but the “Obama abandoned the Bush 3rd site to appease Russia” meme is immune to any evidence to the contrary.