President Bush said yesterday that a missile defense system is urgently needed in Europe to guard against a possible attack on U.S. allies by Iran, while Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates suggested that the United States could delay activating such a system until there is “definitive proof” of such a threat.
The seemingly contrasting messages came as the Bush administration grappled with continuing Russian protests over Washington’s plan to deploy elements of a missile defense system in Eastern Europe. The Kremlin considers the program a potential threat to its own nuclear deterrent and has sought to play down any threat from Iran. [complete article]
Editor’s Comment — It’s always struck me as odd and transparently contradictory for the Bush administration to push the line that missile defense is essential for protection against Iran and at the same time to assert that Iran will never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. But it now sounds like Gates is trying to inject an element of rationality into the equation — no doubt Bush and Cheney will regard his suggestion — that their policies should be commanded by reason — as an act of subordination.