Four years after CNN foreign policy analyst Fareed Zakaria praised President Barack Obama for scrapping the missile defense system in Eastern Europe, Zakaria swiftly backtracked on Sunday after top Ukrainian officials declared that Russia was invading the country.
Zakaria, the host of CNN’s weekly Fareed Zakaria GPS program, said on his show that NATO should consider building a missile defense system in Eastern Europe that the Obama administration scrapped:
Militarily there is less that can be done. After all, Russia’s military budget is about 18 times that of Ukraine. But NATO should restart talks on providing assurances to countries like Poland – including perhaps building the missile defense system that was abandoned.
During Obama’s first year in office, though, Zakaria had a different tone. He said that Obama did not cave on scrapping the missile defense system in Eastern Europe because Obama “traded the fantasy of the system with the reality of what it is.”
“The president’s reasons for shifting gears on the antiballistic missile systems for Poland and the Czech Republic are sound,” Zakaria said in 2009. “Look at the facts. Since the 1980s, the United States has spent well over $150 billion on missile defense. That’s more than the total cost of the Manhattan Project or the Apollo mission to the moon. Despite this, in 25 years, the program has not produced any workable weapon system, something unprecedented even in the annals of the Pentagon’s bloated budgets.”
He said that Obama’s proposal to scrap the missile defense system in Eastern Europe was “attuned to the actual threat and proposing a workable response. This is reality-based defense policy.”