November 10, 2015

UPDATE: Russian Missile Defense Sales To Iran Highlight Clinton’s Failed Reset

UPDATE: Today, Russia announced that it would deploy new weapons “capable of piercing” the U.S.’ missile defense shield: 

Putin told defense officials that by developing defenses against ballistic missiles Washington aims to “neutralize” Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent and gain a “decisive military superiority.” He said that Moscow will respond by developing “strike systems capable of penetrating any missile defenses.”

Yesterday, Russia announced that it would sell an S-300 missile defense system, “one of the most sophisticated anti-aircraft weapons in the world,” to Iran. Both the U.S. and Israel fear that the missile defense system could be used to protect Iran from airstrikes on its nuclear sites.

This, however, is not the first time the Russians have planned to sell the advanced weapons system to Iran:

After initially pledging to sell the systems to Tehran, Russia reneged on the deal in 2009  following U.S. pressure and a pledge by the Obama administration to relocate a missile defense system from Eastern Europe that had been an irritant to Moscow.

In exchange for Russia foregoing its planned arms sales to Iran, the U.S. agreed to cancel plans to build missile defense interceptor sites in Poland and install radar in the Czech Republic:

The system originally proposed for placement in Eastern Europe would have deployed a trio of connected sensors and interceptors in permanent positions: an advanced radar constellation located near Prague in the Czech Republic; a missile field of ten interceptors in Poland; and a forward-deployed early-warning radar site at an undisclosed location somewhere near Iran.

U.S. allies in Eastern Europe criticized the decision with the Lithuanian Foreign Minister calling the U.S.’ cancellation of its missile defense plans a sign of “weakness.”

Four and a half years after Clinton infamously pressed the “reset” button on U.S. relations with Russia, Russia’s decision to sell the missile defense system to Iran and its commitment to “penetrating” U.S. missile defenses serve as more signs of Clinton’s failed foreign policy initiative.