Yalta II?

The US has apparently offered Russia what amounts to a Quid Pro Quo on a missile shield for Eastern Europe in exchange for Russian help in getting Iran to stop building nukes:

President Obama sent a secret letter to Russia’s president last month suggesting that he would back off deploying a new missile defense system in Eastern Europe if Moscow would help stop Iran

The letter to President Dmitri A. Medvedev was hand-delivered in Moscow by top administration officials three weeks ago. It said the United States would not need to proceed with the interceptor system, which has been vehemently opposed by Russia since it was proposed by the Bush administration, if Iran halted any efforts to build nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles.

The officials who described the contents of the message requested anonymity because it has not been made public. While they said it did not offer a direct quid pro quo, the letter was intended to give Moscow an incentive to join the United States in a common front against Iran. Russia’s military, diplomatic and commercial ties to Tehran give it some influence there, but it has often resisted Washington’s hard line against Iran.

“It’s almost saying to them, put up or shut up,” said a senior administration official. “It’s not that the Russians get to say, ‘We’ll try and therefore you have to suspend.’ It says the threat has to go away.”

from developing long-range weapons, American officials said Monday.

Obviously, we know few details. Were the Poles and the Czech Republic informed of this? They would be the two major beneficiaries of the shield so one would hope that Obama would take them into his confidence over what he wanted to do.

But the question of whether or not it is a good idea is another matter. The small system that we had in mind to deploy would not protect either country from Russia but rather a launch from a rogue state like Iran or North Korea. Obviously, if the Iranian threat is gone, the need for the missile shield is lessened.

But the shield was more symbolic than functional. It was a clear statement that we view Eastern Europe states as independent from Moscow and that any attempt to dominate them by Russia would be met with strong diplomatic resistance.

Perhaps not Yalta II - but disappointing nonetheless.