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The president is feeling the aftershocks of comments he made on an open microphone regarding missile defense.During a meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Seoul, the president urged Russia to give him additional time regarding missile defense in Europe saying, “This is my last election, and after my election, I’ll have more flexibility.”Republicans were already scraping away at the administration’s plans for nuclear modernization and previous statements regarding New Start. But Obama’s whispered comments and other comments made during the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit are taking the strategic debate to a whole new level.Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio), the chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, wrote the president a letter on the heels of news accounts about Obama’s microphone gaffe.Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) took a day to gather signatures from 43 Senate Republicans to take Obama’s strategic posture to task. The letter demands “immediate clarification” that if he is re-elected he will honor commitments to missile defense programs. The letter questions whether the U.S. will continue to fully develop all four phases of the Phased Adaptive Approach to European missile defense.And it contains a warning: “We would also remind you that the fiscal year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act places limitations on your ability to share classified missile defense information with Russia,” the letter states. “We caution that any attempt to treat this provision as non-binding, as you claimed in your signing statement, could have serious repercussions.”And it points out an apparent difference between the president and the military on the size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, pulling a quote from Obama’s recent speech in Seoul that the U.S. already has “more nuclear weapons than we need.”The letter points out that the previous commander of U.S. Strategic Command told the Senate “the arsenal that we have is exactly what is needed today to provide the deterrent.”And, the letter notes, “we will oppose any efforts by your administration to arbitrarily limit our missile defense capabilities or pursue ill-advised nuclear arms reductions.”
ar99, missile-defense, Russia, Obama, Politics
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