Dances with Bears

The Obama Administration’s pursuit of missile defense cooperation with Russia endangers US security and invites a diplomatic rupture in the future, said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) Thursday. “The danger of pursuing cooperation . . . is that it’s going to increase the likelihood that we will weaken or compromise the [US ballistic missile defense] system, delay the system’s deployment, and drive up cost—and more cost is bad,” stressed Sessions during a National Defense University Foundation-sponsored address on Capitol Hill. Russia has repeatedly pressed to limit US missile defense plans, regarding US missile defenses near its borders as a direct threat. Furthermore, cooperation may actually have a “pernicious effect” on US-Russia relations, he asserted. Russia appears to believe that, following the New START agreement, “the United States had agreed to entertain the Russian approach to cooperation,” said Sessions, “which means to them limitations on US missile defense.” When they come to the “realization that this is not the case, . . . relations between Russia and the West could become strained,” he warned.