While Michael McFaul’s confirmation to be U.S. ambassador to Russia has now passed the Senate, the reason for the holdup remains: The Obama administration appears intent to provide Russia with missile defense secrets. As the Washington Times’ Bill Gertz notes:
In the president’s signing statement issued Saturday in passing into law the fiscal 2012 defense authorization bill, Mr. Obama said restrictions aimed at protecting top-secret technical data on U.S. Standard Missile-3 velocity burnout parameters might impinge on his constitutional foreign policy authority. As first disclosed in this space several weeks ago, U.S. officials are planning to provide Moscow with the SM-3 data, despite reservations from security officials who say that doing so could compromise the effectiveness of the system by allowing Russian weapons technicians to counter the missile. The weapons are considered some of the most effective high-speed interceptors in the U.S. missile defense arsenal.
The impetus for the SM-3 information deal appears to be from Ellen Tauscher, a former left-of-center congresswoman who, as Obama’s undersecretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, has proven adept at self-promotion, but when it has come to the substance of her job, she distinguished herself as a poor negotiator, repeatedly getting bowled over by American adversaries.
President Obama may believe defense cuts are necessary. Cutting defense capabilities is dangerous. The president’s plan reverses a bipartisan consensus about the reach of the U.S. military which dates back to the Roosevelt administration. Providing U.S. adversaries with defense secrets they can exploit—and export to other enemies—is simply foolhardy. It is a formula not for parity but for defeat.