CNS News reports on a shocking conversation between Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
President Barack Obama told Russia’s leader Monday that he would have more flexibility after the November election to deal with the contentious issue of missile defense, a candid assessment of political reality that was picked up by a microphone without either leader apparently knowing.
Outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he would pass on Obama’s message to his successor, Vladimir Putin, according to an audio recording of comments the two leaders made during a meeting in Seoul, South Korea. Obama and Medvedev did not intend for their comments to be made public.
He can be “more flexible” on missile defense after the election is over, when he doesn’t have to face voters.
What kind of promises might Obama be making?
Well, consider his past actions with America’s nuclear aresenal:
Thirty-four lawmakers sent a letter to the White House on Thursday in response to news reports that President Obama had ordered his staff to study the option of reducing America’s nuclear deterrent by 80 percent—down to as few as 300 deployed strategic nuclear warheads. The United States currently has a cap of 1,550 deployed strategic warheads under the so-called New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START), the controversial arms control pact with Russia that passed the Senate in December 2010.
The concerned lawmakers—who are led by Republican Congressmen Buck McKeon of California, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC), and Mike Turner of Virginia, head of the HASC’s Subcommittee on Strategic Forces—question whether the president is taking into account the full range of threats that face the United States in its allies. In the letter, they caution against further nuclear cuts given “the growth in quantity and quality of nuclear weapons capabilities in Russia, the People’s Republic of China, India, Pakistan, North Korea and, perhaps soon the Islamic Republic of Iran” and “the divestment of U.S. conventional military capabilities under [Obama’s] recently announced defense strategy.”
And what about his actions on our missile defense shield:
The Obama administration disclosed on Tuesday that it is considering sharing some classified U.S. data as part of an effort to allay Russian concerns about a controversial antimissile shield.
The administration is continuing negotiations begun under former President George W. Bush on a defense technical cooperation agreement with Moscow that could include limited classified data, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Brad Roberts told a House of Representatives’ Armed Services subcommittee.
He gave no details on the sort of data that might be shared under such an agreement.
And what about his actions with the Iranian drone:
U.S. officials have confirmed to Fox News that images aired by Iranian state television do in fact show the secret U.S. drone that went down last week in eastern Iran.
“Yep, that’s it,” one senior official told Fox News. “And it’s intact.”
U.S. officials had been expecting the video to appear. The footage, which shows the aircraft intact, confirms the Iranians have custody of the drone but appears to refute Iranian claims that it shot down the RQ-170 drone.
With early knowledge that the aircraft had likely remained intact, the senior U.S. official also told Fox News that President Obama was presented with three separate options for retrieving or destroying the drone. The president ultimately decided not to proceed with any of the plans because it could have been seen as an act of war, the official told Fox News.
Among the options the U.S. considered were sending in a special-ops team to retrieve the drone; sending in a team to blow up the aircraft; and launching an airstrike to destroy it.
And what about his actions with the F-22 Raptor fighter:
The most senior retired military officer to back President Obama’s run for the White House says the president is making a “real mistake” in terminating F-22 production.
Retired Gen. Merrill McPeak, who was the Air Force chief of staff during the 1991 Operation Desert Storm and who credited air power with winning the war, was the first four-star officer to endorse the one-term senator in his presidential campaign. McPeak traveled with Obama to bolster the candidate’s commander-in-chief credentials, much to the chagrin of the general’s fighter pilot colleagues.
But now McPeak is breaking with Obama on the president’s most contentious defense budget decision: ending production of the Air Force’s top-line fighter at 187 aircraft.
“I think it’s a real mistake,” McPeak told FOXNews.com. “The airplane is a game-changer and people seem to forget that we haven’t had any of our soldiers or Marines killed by enemy air since 1951 or something like that. It’s been half a century or more since any enemy aircraft has killed one of guys. So we’ve gotten use to this idea that we never have to breathe hostile air.”
McPeak’s comments come as Obama is in the throes of a major battle with Democrats and Republicans who have voted in committee to fund seven more F-22s.
Obama sent a letter to Congress Monday with a blunt warning.
“I will veto any bill that supports acquisition of F-22s beyond the 187 already funded by Congress,” Obama wrote. “To continue to procure additional F-22s would be to waste valuable resources that should be more usefully employed to provide our troops with the weapons that they actually do need.”
I’m not optimistic about what he meant by that comment, based on his past performance on other defense issues.