If you want to understand what is going on, read this -- by far the best thing I've read on the Obama administration's decision to change course on missile defenses facing Russia and Iran.
Kaplan's bottom line:
What will the Russians do now? They've cited the missile-defense plan as the main source of suspicion, the main obstacle to improved relations. Now that Obama has wiped it off the board, will Putin and Medvedev come around -- or will they bring up some other reason, some other excuse, for remaining distant and occasionally hostile? It's in the Kremlin's court.
The only thing I'd add is the lineup that made the decision. President Obama remains a novice in foreign affairs, but he is backed by people who know this subject intimately from a variety of angles -- James Jones (national security advisor, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe), Gen. Cartwright (vice chairman of Joint Chiefs, former head of U.S. Strategic Command) and Robert Gates (defense secretary, and lifetime Russia expert).
I have no idea where Hilary Clinton is on all this. Am I wrong or is she floundering in her job?
Tambako the Jaguar/flickr
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.