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US, Poland status of forces pact deepens military cooperation

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The minister was visibly referring to the Declaration on Strategic Cooperation that the Bush administration and the Polish government signed on Aug. 20, 2008. Under the pact, 10 Ground Based Interceptor (GBI) missiles would be put in a planned U.S Air Force base in northern Poland. The interceptors would be supplemented by a tracking radar in the Czech Republic.

This past September, when President Obama announced that the antimissile defense would be scrapped in favor of a ship-based system, plans for placing a Central Europe-based missile-defense shield were thought to be decisively cancelled. Eventually, the scheme re-emerged on Oct. 7, when Ms. Tauscher stated that Poland could host the SM-3 interceptors as part of a new defense system. A final understanding was reached in late November.

Russia’s hostility toward the antimissile shield was considered a major factor in Obama decision to water down the project. Declarations by Polish and Czech politicians that anti-missile defense and the stationing of US troops on their soil was security against Russian aggression did not help Washington convince Moscow that the shield’s prime objective was to secure US territory and troops abroad from attacks.

Various commentators at home and abroad also accused the president of yielding to Russian pressure in exchange for support on Iran and Afghanistan.
”The Obama administration seems to be nurturing a false impression that Russia has a major influence over Iran, which isn’t even halfway true,” says Dmitry Babich, a political commentator with Russia Profile magazine. “In fact, in its relations with Moscow, Tehran behaves as if the two were equal partners. For Iran, cooperating with Russia is nothing more than a temporary necessity.”

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