November 8th, 2008
04:07 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama adviser: No Obama commitment on defense shield

President-elect Obama spoke recently with the president of Poland.
President-elect Obama spoke recently with the president of Poland.

(CNN) - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has made "no commitment" to plans for a missile defense program in eastern Europe, despite a report on Polish president's Web site, an Obama adviser said Saturday.

Obama spoke to President Lech Kaczynki over the phone about continuing military and political cooperation between the two countries and possibly meeting in person soon, both sides said.

"President-elect had a good conversation with the Polish president and the Polish prime minister about the important U.S.-Poland alliance," said Denis McDonough, Obama's senior foreign policy adviser.

However, Kaczynski's office on its Web site says that during the same conversation, Obama told Kaczynski that he intends to continue plans for a missile shield in eastern Europe.

Obama's adviser denied the report.

"President Kaczynski raised missile defense, but President-elect Obama made no commitment on it. His position is as it was throughout the campaign: That he supports deploying a missile defense system when the technology is proved to be workable," McDonough said.

Russia is infuriated by U.S. plans for the missile-defense installation, which includes basing missile interceptors in Poland. The interceptor rockets would be linked to an air-defense radar system in the Czech Republic.

The United States has tried to mollify Moscow by stressing that the missile shield is directed at rogue states, such as Iran, and the number of interceptors in the shield would be "easily overwhelmed" by Russian forces.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, in his first state-of-the-nation speech since taking office earlier this year, warned this week that Russian missiles will be deployed against the planned system.

"The Iskander missile system will be deployed in Kaliningrad region to neutralize, when necessary, the missile shield," Medvedev said. "We are also planning to use the resources of the Russian naval fleet for these purposes."

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Medvedev's announcement that Russia would deploy missiles in response to the shield is "disappointing."

Updated 4:07 p.m. with McDonough statement

soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Ayse London

    Russia's attacks against Georgia shows that it has a desire to resume the old style Cold War politics of yesteryear. But if I were Medvedev or Putin I would certainly not under-estimate President elect Obama, or see him as all talk no action – because unlike Dub-ya, this is a President that WILL gain international support.

    November 8, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. Jason

    His inability for real change won't get him past the first 100 days

    November 8, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  3. hometowndemocrat

    The Russians are upset with us again............something new?

    November 8, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. We've Got Your Back Mr. President

    Anyone that continues to spew negative bloggs against President-elect Obama is either an immature child …. or a TERRORIST wanting America to continue it’s slide away from greatness. I say continue because Barack has been handed a ROYAL mess.

    Sensible posters (Republican, Independent or Democrat) … get behind your President … get behind your country … get behind your flag & your Constitution … if you don’t you are UNPATRIOTIC .. UNAMERICAN …you know, all those labels the GOP tried to smear the dems with during the campaign. Folks, hold those that try to undermine the Obama Administration responsible for their treason. Castigate them.

    For if their hatred, if their mean spirited words succeed in ANY WAY in hampering the effectiveness of our NEW PRESIDENT … and let’s say another terrorist attack occurs … in some small way, they have contributed … they have conspired … with the enemys of the state.

    Democrats are often labeled as soft of crime. Well this is a new day and Obama has my backing to lock up anyone that can even be remotely tied to showing moral or financial support to those that would set our country back.

    Bloggers … you will either be a helpful part of the solution or a harmful part of the problem … take your pick. We can’t afford to tolerate children or terrorists any longer.

    November 8, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. Rahm is NO freaggin Change!

    AIPAC is grabbing every key posts in Obama administration.

    yeah, that's gonna bring a whole lot of change to washington, LOL!

    November 8, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  6. We've Got Your Back Mr. President

    Anyone that continues to spew negative bloggs against President-elect Obama is either an immature child …. or a TERRORIST wanting America to continue it’s slide away from greatness. I say CONTINUE because Barack has been handed a ROYAL mess.

    Sensible posters (Republican, Independent or Democrat) … get behind your President … get behind your country … get behind your flag & your Constitution … if you don’t you are UNPATRIOTIC .. UNAMERICAN …you know, all those labels the GOP tried to smear the dems with during the campaign. Folks, hold those that try to undermine the Obama Administration responsible for their treason. Castigate them.

    For if their hatred, if their mean spirited words, succeed in ANY WAY in hampering the effectiveness of our NEW PRESIDENT … and let’s say another terrorist attack occurs … in some small way, they have contributed … they have conspired … with the enemys of the state.

    Democrats are often labeled as soft. Well this is a new day and Obama has my backing to lock up anyone that can even be remotely tied to showing moral or financial support to those that would set our country back.

    Bloggers … you will either be a helpful part of the solution or a harmful part of the problem … take your pick. We can’t afford to tolerate children or terrorists any longer.

    November 8, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. Dawn

    We may be the United States of America, but the World look to us for help from hostile Countries. This is to show that President-elect is NOT going to be a push over, but yet not going to start a war with Russia. Remember he needs to talk to the leaders and talk with deplomacy. Remember there is Camp David Summits with Foreign Leaders. I think that he can do that, Remember VP Elect Biden?

    I think that he could make it happen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Bless this Country with a whole lot peace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 8, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. FreeNLovIt

    I dont understand this thing, can someone explain it to me? Why do we have to aggravate Russia?

    November 8, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. Tim

    President Bush, er I mean Obama, is a neo-con

    Ha ha ha ha ha

    November 8, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  10. Rahm is NO freaggin Change!

    AIPAC played both sides in the election cycle,

    with a ready list of their agents for either side.

    and now quickly planting them in the key positions of the obama administration.

    that's gonna bring a whole lotta change to washington, right?

    NOT!

    November 8, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Scott

    The more I hear if his policies, the more I like the man, Something tells me that Pres-elect OBama is going to do great things for this country. World leaders are going to find that this man is no pushover.

    His backing of the missle defense system, no nukes for IRan, and his williness to listen to his commanders on the ground in Iraq, as far as a troop withdrawal all show signs of a good leader.

    November 8, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. alexia - france

    There it goes again !

    November 8, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  13. Obama/Biden

    Good judgment call to keep that misile plan because there evils out there who thinks that they going to have a free ride under your administration.

    November 8, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  14. M. WINNERS

    The missle shield is just one more of the many, many half-baked ideas of a failed Bush foreign policy.
    The shield system is still under development and has not yet proved it's reliability/accuracy.
    Without question the US should re-think deployment of an unproven system to foreign soil.
    Technical questions not with standing, in all fairness to both the US and Poland, the Poles should have a national referendum vote as to whether or not they want our system on it's soil in the first place.

    November 8, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. Meka

    PRESIDENT OBAMA . . . MAN WITH INTELLIGENCE, DIPLOMACY, TACT AND GRACE.

    AMERICA WINS!

    November 8, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Chris

    Meet the new boss...same as the old boss.... :(

    November 8, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. baker

    Is this the "change" everyone was voting for? Maybe Obama won't be so bad after all.

    November 8, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  18. Al Mellen

    The united states putting missiles in Poland is a mistake. Remember what happened when the Russians wanted to put missiles in Cuba,,,,,,,,90 miles from Florida. America wanted no part of that action. We were worried as to what the consequences might be. If i were a Russian i would not want American missiles next door to my country. This was another one of George Bush's not too brainy ideas. America does not need another cold war with Russia. The Bush administration was forever preaching fear in our country. Hopefully those days are gone.

    November 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. Rich Lady

    Where's the promise of Peace?

    November 8, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  20. David Newport, OR

    I support Obama, but we have a president until January.

    November 8, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  21. Kerry

    He's still President-elect. Hasn't even been a week yet. Don't these countries understand that we have one government and one President at a time.

    November 8, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  22. mitch

    why should we spend billions on a defense shield that does nothing but piss russia off. after our 'escapade' in iraq, and lobbyist ties between the mccain campaign and the georgian government,its no wonder russia's pissed at us. the illegal war in iraq gave russia all the precedent they needed to respond the way they did. president barack can use bush's 'shield as a bartering tool to restore relations and thaw the chill between us. man, i like this new president!

    November 8, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. jamie

    A Democrat not supporting defence, that a new one...LoL

    November 8, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  24. Robert

    This is one really immature and naiive guy. Look at his comments regarding Nancy Regan. There will be plenty of material for all the late night comedians....and just think – what a dismal reflection of what a Harvard Law Degree gets someone. Bush will end up looking good after 4 years of this bozo!

    November 8, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  25. SD

    What is the deal with the Russians??

    This is NOT an Obama issue, by the way.

    With so many problems plaguing the world today......global warming, diseases, natural disasters.....you'd think the Russians would give up on their tired ways of bullying others and being civilized.

    We have nothing to fear even if we had no missle defense sheild, because you can bet on your life that if the Russians ever tried to launch missles our way, they'd be repaid the favour twenty times over.

    I think Obama will have to come up with some creative Kennedy-esque like bargaining to get the Russians to cool their jets. Otherwise, missles to fight missles is nothing more than a death sentence for both sides.

    November 8, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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