November 8th, 2008
04:07 PM ET
10 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. Kristen

    Dear CNN, there is a difference in trying to MAKE news and trying to REPORT it. You are dangerously close to the first.

    November 8, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. AIPAC and mossad floating trial baloons

    before they can decide

    whether they can perpetuate their grip on US foreign policies

    overtly or covertly

    under the guise of the Obama administration.

    kick back and watch how they try to wiggle their way back into washington.

    they've already planted their moles in key positions.

    November 8, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  3. Tomkat in Seattle

    Don't antagonize Russia. This could potentially turn into Cold War 2.0 or WWIII. Russia and most of the world is rightly very distrustful of the United States thanks to the Bush Admin. With the Bush Admin. putting weapons Poland, it makes people in Europe also nervous. What if Canada put missiles at the borders north of New York, saying that they were just defending themselves from possible incoming missiles from communist Cuba. Sound foolish? That's probably how the Russian government feels too. Stand down please President Elect Obama! Diplomacy first, diplomacy second, instead of military force as the only option. M2C


    November 8, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. Democrat voting for McCain

    Waffle, waffle. Hedge, hedge. Whatever you do, don't make any decisions. At least he's consistent.

    November 8, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. Aleksandar

    Obama is taking it easy with Russia as he should. He is clever to distant himself from the shield for now in order to by some time and get some maneuvering space.
    He needs to sit down with Medvedev in order to bring Russian and American interests and positions as close as possible.
    USA, Russia and China should be the axis of world stability. And this can only be achieved by discussion.

    November 8, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  6. Frank

    Here is the first sign that Obama is going to weaken our superior fighting power, as if he is not aware of the rogue nations out there developing all sorts of nuclear and biological weapons!!!! Carter was a moron from the Democrats that destroyed the middle east and the peace in the world by his stupid foreign policies, including toppling the regime of the ex-Shah of Iran! Now Obama is going to continue in his footsteps and open the doors for those rogue nations to exercise their violence on our country! They had always said that radical Islam will destroy our country from within and not from abroad, and here is how they will do it!!!! Who do you all think paid millions and millions of $ towards his campaign? Our good hearted nation is composed of naive fools!!!!!

    November 8, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  7. anglopole

    all i can say is if obama play to russian game then he lost my confidence in him as an african /european who knows how russians see africans and even those who live amoge them.

    so obama fullfill the plan that america signed with poland and its other allies

    November 8, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  8. The Blessed One

    President-Elect Obama has done more in 3 days than the entire current administration done in 7 years.

    I even saw the UK Parliament Questions to the Prime Minister all ready to work with President-Elect Obama.

    Those that didn't vote for Obama, the DOORS are CLOSED! President-Elect Obama will lead the way and the world will watch this great man not only make history in the US but around the world.

    The Conservatives Rush to NOW prise President-Elect Obama, TOO LATE, no blessings for you!

    November 8, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. robespierre

    Fun is just beginning as the barbarians at the gates perceive Obama as a patsy. Frankly, I don't think he is, but we'll see. On the humerous side of this issue, look at the end of the new play about Obama et al, THE AUDACITY OF AMBITION. For those with post-election boredom, this riotous play is the cure!

    November 8, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  10. Maggie Muggins From Selwyn

    Putting Missile defence systems next to Russia will create problems just as it would if Russia built similar installations in Cuba.

    Then add to this the systems are likely not working like they are supposed to work and would just be an added expense and political aggravation. Hopefully some careful thought will go into these types of tactics.

    November 8, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  11. ran

    Now the BS starts from those who wants to keep our country from going forward. I only hope this time both the people and the media rejects this kind of garbage this time.

    November 8, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  12. Lynnieann

    When did Obama become all black ? Correctly, he is a Mulatto and should be referred to as that !! And why do all the press shots of excitement only show black people? Has Obama's white half suddenly been lost ?

    November 8, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. Christian

    Good morning ladies and gentleman. I am writing this comment because I would like some more consideration toward my comment. My daughter came up to me yesterday and said daddy can I ask you a question and like any father I asked whats up? She said how come the media keeps refering to obama as the first black president? I answered I dont know why the media and others refer to him as a black president because he is a biracial president neither white nor black but biracial. She then said well daddy does that make me black because I am like him (biracial). I said no sweetheart you are a biracial child neither white nor black but your own seperate ethnic group. The conversation went on. My concern is that of the 300+ million americans the almost 2% of biracial will become lumped into a category that they do not belong. President Obama is neither black nor white I feel that the media is putting out a message to the people of the US that is false and causing other americans to view
    biracial (black/white) to be grouped as black. I really wish the media would correct this problem and address it. I am a concerned parent of a biracial child (black/white) I just dont agree with the approach when it comes to Pres. Obama as being a black president when in fact he is biracial.

    November 8, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  14. Mike

    "Deploy when proven to be workable?" His advisors should get informed. Or stop pretending they are not informed.

    The US missile defense system is already is deployed. And is quite workable within the limited scope of threats it is designed to protect against. If he upcoming administration keeps using the word "workable", then their only intention is to reduce missile defense back to a research project, nullifying many years of positive progress in deployment and testing, via a huge budget cut.

    The 9/11 event did not involve a WMD, just airplanes. Just one nuclear-tipped missile impacting a US city will dwarf that by several magnitudes.

    November 8, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  15. David Stein

    ...and it starts to get complicated.

    November 8, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. Here's a missle: no room for gays in the Obama tent.

    Blacks are good enough to get married, but not gays, according to Obama. He did not support gay marriage in California and blacks by 70-30 did not support it either. Is this one minority suppressing another minority?

    November 8, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. Al

    Obama is a real leader. If some people have ideology ticks or want to earn obscene money on military contracts it does not mean that president should spend our tax money on such crap.

    November 8, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  18. Shannon

    what happened to the earlier story where he was sticking to the plan. Does Obama control the media now, print an unflattering story about him and it's pulled and his version is put up. Come on CNN, what is the story!

    November 8, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  19. william

    Russian policy takes instruction from the game of chess. This declaration is equivalent to a 'knight fork' - if we do not deploy, we look weak and Russia scores a point elevating their standing and diminishing ours. If we stay, they can agitate internally to divert the Russian people away from the economic and political discontent that is brewing there. In other words, 'win-win' for them and 'lose-lose' for us.

    The defense against a knight-fork is to create a different problem, like putting the king in check or threatening their queen - they can't fulfill their aims of getting us to choose between two unpleasant alternatives.

    Time to think of a new point of leverage - shouldn't be all that hard.

    November 8, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. oh boy

    Here we go. Just like he did in the campaign. Say one thing, then deny he said it, and then say something else. The media and the citizens of the US allowed him to get away with it. But when your on a world stage it is a little harder to get a way with. God help us.

    November 8, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. Gary

    why does it always seem that when a comment from anyone in the Obama team is even slightly viewed as negative to the administration, its instantly rejected by said administration?

    November 8, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  22. Cody

    Medvedev is acting foolishly. Obama's support for the missile shield is not strong anway, but by rattling his saber before Obama even takes office, Medvedev is making it politically much harder to work out a peacable solution. He should have waited to see how Obama would move forward on this.
    That said, perhaps the missile shield is just not worth the trouble it would bring with it.

    November 8, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. g ontario canada

    i dont think the us would be allowing russia to put amisiles respones shield on there border

    November 8, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  24. Ron

    Best thing to do is look at all of Bush's decision and revise them. You know all decision republicans made were dumb.

    November 8, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  25. Eddie Blake

    I cna't beleive what you LIBS have done. Sharia law will be here by the end of 2009.

    November 8, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
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