U.S. Drops Missile Defense Plan

The Obama administration’s decision to shelve a missile defense shield based in Eastern Europe is seen as a victory by some and a betrayal by others in that region. Ordinary citizens in the Czech Republic, where a radar system was to be installed, exclaimed relief. But in Poland, which was to host 10 interceptor rockets, officials were disappointed. Aleksander Szczyglo, head of Poland's National Security Office, called the decision a "defeat primarily of American long-distance thinking about the situation in this part of Europe." The proposal, first promoted by the Bush administration, had been under a seven-month review. Russia has always opposed it, worrying about the prospect of having U.S. rockets based so close to its region. Analysts say that the choice to pull out of the plan could increase the likelihood that Russia will now participate with the U.S. in the dispute about Iran’s nuclear program.