Before ending his presidency, “Dubya” Bush moved to place a so called missile defence shield around eastern Europe. This was, his administration explained, about “security”, but in reality was coupled to the idea that Iran was building a capability to develop Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs). For a régime that believed in the Iraqi WMDs, this was perhaps not too great a leap of faith: for the rest of the world, it smacked of paranoia.
Fortunately, the new administration in Washington has sufficient grip on reality to take a pragmatic view of the world. Barack Obama has announced that the missile shield will now not proceed, and by doing so, has saved the USA a load of needless expense, and a load of needless aggravation from the Russians: Dmitry Medvedev has made welcoming noises, as he might. Thus the USA has Russia likely to be onside when tackling Iran.
However, not all reaction has been positive: “Wiggy” Bolton has suggested that the US should have extracted some kind of concession from Russia, but what? The missile shield was a unilateral gesture in the first place. Bolton’s idea of diplomacy is dead.
And thank goodness for that.