Cheney: Ramp up missile defense

Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Sunday urged taking an array of military steps, short of putting troops on the ground in the Crimean Peninsula, to respond to Russia’s recent aggression toward Ukraine.


Cheney, one of the architects of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, urged President Obama to ramp up missile defense programs in Poland and the Czech Republic.

“There are military options that don’t involve putting troops on the ground in Crimea. We can go back and reinstate the ballistic missile defense program that was taken out, originally going to go in Poland, Czech Republic,” Cheney said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

“Obama took it out to appease Putin,” Cheney said of the curtailed missile defense plans in the Eastern European countries.

Obama decided in 2009 to shelve the missile-defense pact the Bush administration negotiated with Poland and the Czech Republic in order to improve relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Czech Republic announced in 2011 it would not participate in the United States’ missile defense program, after its role in the defense shield was downsized.

The United States plans to deploy missile interceptors in Poland by 2018, but it has reduced the scope of the program planned for Poland.

Cheney suggested other military options.

“We could do training exercises in Poland, joint exercises. We can offer military assistance in terms of equipment, training, so forth, to the Ukrainians themselves,” he said.

He said Obama needs to change the image he has created around the world of "weakness and indecisiveness."

Cheney warned that former Soviet bloc countries are worried about Putin’s disregard of diplomatic commitments, such as the 1994 Budapest memorandum, which guaranteed the borders of Ukraine in return for Ukraine giving up its nuclear weapons.

Cheney said there is “no question” Putin believes Obama is weak because the United States backed off the missile defense program in Europe.

He said Obama’s foreign policy record has undermined his credibility among European allies and would make it more difficult to get France and Germany to agree to sanctions against Russia.